Televisa Offers 885 Millions of Pesos for Optical Fiber

The investor group will present its proposal on June 7th, which represents the minimum established by SCT plus the 3% from Notimex.The investment group formed by Televisa, Telefónica and Megacable will tender 885 millions of pesos in the second round of economical proposals for the tender of CFE dark fiber.In a press conference, Enrique Yamuni Megacable’s director, said the consort will invest in an additional way two thousand, four hundred, millions of pesos to “light” the infrastructure, plus other one thousand, three hundred millions of pesos that each operator will have to give individually.He explained that the groups tender is the minimum fixed by SCT, plus the 3% of 3%, which will be set the next June 7th when the second round of economical proposals is released.He said there is not a motive for the tender process to stop in reference to the juridical resource which Iusatell could appeal because it was not given a participation constancy, “the group fulfilled all the technical and economical requirements established by SCT”.Reference: El Universal, México.

IT Outsourcing is Good News for Recovering Mexican Economy

February 2nd, 2010

Companies and Markets project that Mexican IT spending will grow again in 2010 to around US$12.6bn, despite current economic uncertainties, and a decline in private sector credit growth. In a challenging economic climate in H109, consumer sentiment reached an all-time low, and business IT spending fell further, with hardware updates particularly vulnerable to cuts.

While Mexico’s economy faces a rocky ride in the near term, some fundamental drivers including low PC penetration and growing PC affordability, and US corporate demand for IT outsourcing, should ensure continued opportunities. IT spending as a percentage of GDP at around 1.4% remains well below OECD levels, and we project that per capita IT spending will rise from US$116 to US$167 by 2014. In 2010 businesses and consumers are expected to maintain a cautious attitude to IT investments due to economic uncertainty, but there could be a boost, particularly in the second half of the year, from computer purchases delayed from 2009. Despite the difficult trading environment, there should still be opportunities in key IT verticals such as financial services, telecoms and government, with other growth sectors set to include healthcare, utilies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Industry Developments
Total government IT spending was budgeted to increase in 2009 by around one-third in local currency terms, although in Q309 the government launched an austerity drive. Vendors expect government to provide more opportunities in 2010 at both federal and state levels.

Areas of spending at the federal level include integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) and back office systems and e-services platforms and interfaces. However, it is unclear to what extent continuing tight credit conditions and fiscal pressure will ultimately impact on government IT spending should the economic recovery falter.

Fiscal pressures were behind a federal government proposal last year to end financial assistance for companies that end in technology. The proposal, heavily criticised by Mexican IT association Canieti, threatened to eliminate the provision of federal funds to cover 30% of companies’ investments in innovation and technology development.

Competitive Landscape
In 2009,Chinese PC giant Lenovo launched a new plant at Apodaca (Nuevo Leon) with 1,500 employees. The company plans to spend US$40mn to manufacture laptops in Mexico. The plant is reportedly the biggest investment made by Lenovo outside China and indicates the strategic significance of the Mexican market for PC vendors. Lenovo has also expanded its Mexican retail sector presence by recruiting new channel partners through its principal wholesalers in Mexico: Ingram Micro, CompuSolociones, Avnet and Exel. Software market leader Microsoft hopes that the launch of its Windows 7 operating system will boost its local sales this year. Following the launch, in October 2009, Windows 7 was available at retail outlets nationwide, preloaded on a selection of PCs from major vendors. Early signs were promising, with more than 1.2mn downloads of the beta version of Windows 7 in the Latin American region, over five times higher than the downloaded beta version of predecessor Windows Vista. In early 2009, many software vendors in the Mexican market responded to the global economic crisis by adjusting their strategies and client focus. SAP announced plans to target its existing installed base of large customers in Mexico with the May launch of its Business Suite 7. Meanwhile, local software vendor Softtek identified the economic crisis as an opportunity to enhance its position as nearshore services provider for US firms.

Computer Sales
Mexico’s computer hardware sales are projected at US$5.7bn in 2010 and are projected to reach around US$8.3bn in 2014. Sales dipped in 2009, as the effects of the crisis hit consumer and business confidence. In H109 there were reports of some companies deferring replacement purchases as tighter margins and flagging export margins increased a focus on the bottom line. Growing broadband penetration, including 3G mobile, will drive the PC market. Netbooks will remain a growth driver here, with their main attraction for price-sensitive consumers and small businesses being their low cost relative to fully featured notebooks, although this advantage is being reduced. The SME segment is expected to be a significant opportunity for netbook vendors. Most netbooks currently retail in Mexico in the US300-US$500 price range, however, adding to pressure on average PC prices.

The Mexican software market is projected to reach US$2.4bn in 2010, from US$2.2bn in 2009, with imported software accounting for at least 80% of the total. Last year the recession led some companies to cut IT budgets or look to defer systems updates, with most spending coming from existing clients, and an emphasis on maintaining existing applications. Overall, however, business software was one of the IT market segments less affected by the slowdown.

Software compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2010-2014 is put at around 11%, outpacing general IT market growth, as the government turns its attention to overcoming Mexico’s long-standing underinvestment in this area. In 2009 the most popular applications remained basic ERP, and supply chain management (SCM) solutions, while business intelligence and security software should provide growth opportunities, including more spending on networked security solutions.

IT Services
The IT services market is projected at around US$4.5bn in 2010. In 2009 there were reports of IT managers in various sectors reviewing IT spending plans. Despite near-term economic exigencies, the market should ultimately grow at a CAGR of 11% through 2014. In 2010, however, much will depend on the speed and sustainability of global economic recovery. The increasing number of multinational companies operating in the market is an important driver for spending. Opportunities also reside within the SME sector, where companies are trying to use computing resources more effectively. Meanwhile, Mexico is becoming an increasingly important hub for provision of business process outsourcing (BPO) and other outsourcing services.

The World Economic Forum’s latest annual survey found Mexico continuing to make steady progress on network indicators. The survey had Mexico climbing six positions in the rankings from 55th. The report attributed the improvement to the adoption of more efficient electronic strategies for digital networks and infrastructure connection nationally and regionally. The potential for new broadband technologies to take hold in Mexico is high, with the energy utility owning fibre-optic infrastructure and WiMAX licences expected to be auctioned in 2009. With Cofetel taking a more combative stance to Telmex, we believe that there is a good chance that new operators will enter the market and be responsible for strong growth.

The 2008 UN e-government survey found that Mexico had the most advanced e-services development in Latin America, due to a strong national government portal’, which encouraged online consultations between government and citizens.

Recent state and municipal statistics have highlighted gradual progress in the implementation of egovernment in Mexico at a federal and state level. In 2001 the government launched an e-government initiative that prioritised providing health, education and other government services online, as well as the development of e-commerce. Since then, however, funding has rarely been sufficient for much progress to be made given the substantial task involved, and state and municipal governments are increasingly seeking to launch their own initiatives. Many states are seeking funding from the private sector to make good gaps in public funding.


New technology curbs corruption

Wire services 
El Universal 

Lunes 15 de enero de 2007 

Making money as a corrupt parking cop in Mexico City always has been a delightfully simple proposition.

First you look for double-parked cars – and those are as ubiquitous in this overcrowded capital as sand in the desert. You take your tow truck, back up to the offending vehicle, and you wait 

Making money as a corrupt parking cop in Mexico City always has been a delightfully simple proposition.

First you look for double-parked cars – and those are as ubiquitous in this overcrowded capital as sand in the desert. You take your tow truck, back up to the offending vehicle, and you wait.

Within minutes, the owner of the car shows up and forks out some cash. Everyone knows the routine. Your act of "generosity" earns you US$25 or so (about half the fine the driver would have paid to the city).

At least that´s how it used to be.

In one of many programs across Mexico aimed at using digital technology to cut down on corruption, Mexico City´s police command installed cameras and global positioning system receivers on 170 tow trucks a few months ago. Twenty-five officers caught taking bribes were soon out of work.

Across Mexico, activists and a small number of reform-minded officials are working to use relatively simple record-keeping and monitoring methods to improve government efficiency and make the country´s notoriously Byzantine bureaucracy more accountable.

New technologies are changing the way property taxes are collected in Acapulco, immigration officers check passports and visas and presidential campaigns are run.

In Mexico City, the technology in question is a camera about the size of a fist.

Soon after the cameras were installed this summer, the city impound lot began to fill with cars, officials said. Tow-truck drivers set new daily records, and cash started filling the city coffers. The number of cars towed away by city-operated trucks installed with the system increased by 350 percent.

"I asked myself what did we have to do to eliminate the bad behavior we knew was out there?" said Antonio Pineda, who initiated the program for Mexico City´s Secretariat for Public Security. "We had to become like agent 007. Which we did."

Corruption in Mexico remains endemic. This is a country, after all, where one in 20 students has paid a bribe to get a diploma, one in 10 drivers has received a license through a payoff, and one in four residents has bribed city workers to pick up the garbage, according to a survey by the watchdog group Mexican Transparency.

"Technology by itself won´t do away with corruption," said Irma Sandoval, director of the Transparency and Corruption Laboratory at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. "Corruption is something that is very deeply rooted. It´s like a sponge: It soaks up everything around it."

The Mexican Transparency study found that the most corrupt government practice in Mexico was parking enforcement: More than 60 percent of drivers who encountered an officer with a tow truck paid a bribe to keep their car out of the impound lot.

Pineda gave a wicked smile as he described how he declared war on this practice. The cameras transmit live to police headquarters and also record to a DVD installed in the truck. He takes delight in showing "home movies" on his laptop that capture corrupt officers red-handed.

"They thought the cameras didn´t work," Pineda said of the officers on the videos.

In one especially pathetic sequence, a woman who double-parked returns to her car after shopping and ends up giving her bags of groceries (along with a few pesos) to the police officer as a bribe.

"Corruption is like getting pregnant," Pineda said. "It takes two people to do it: the person accepting the bribe and the person paying it."

Throughout Mexico, those who hope to avoid fines, taxes and other government payments have long been aided by antiquated record-keeping systems.

To cut down on corruption in government contracts, a new online bidding system called CompraNet has been introduced. The system grants the public access, via the Internet, to details of all successful bids. In this year´s presidential race, the campaign of leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador used CompraNet to reveal the lucrative contracts granted to the brother-in-law of winning candidate Felipe Calderón.

But much of Mexico´s bureaucracy has been late in adopting modern systems, analysts say, because the old ones served corrupt officials well. And new administrators are often scared off by the big initial investment that digital record-keeping requires.

When Carlos Zeferino Torreblanca won election as Acapulco´s leftist mayor in 1999, ousting the party that had controlled the city for decades, his first order of business was to increase tax revenue. He hired Alejandro Catalán, an architect who had never worked in government, to modernize the property tax office.

When Catalán showed up for work, the outgoing officials handed him a computer copy of their taxpayer list – on two 3.5-inch floppy disks, relics from the pioneer days of personal computers.

"And one of the disks didn´t even work," Catalán said.

The paperwork at the property tax office was in disarray. Tax records were easily lost – sometimes they were "misplaced" for a small "fee," he said.


"The easiest tax in the world to calculate is a property tax," Catalán said. "You can find ways to hide your income, but you can´t hide a building. But it´s still one of the worst-collected taxes in Latin America."

Catalán and his team hired a plane to conduct an aerial survey of the city. He used his knowledge of architectural drawing software to develop a three-dimensional portrait of the city´s property base, and linked the graphic representation to newly digitized copies of the property deeds with the aid of the Long Beach, California, document-management company Laserfiche.

Within four years, he said, Acapulco´s annual property tax revenue increased 175 percent.

The new administration sent out tax collectors who, armed with the aerial photographs, discovered hidden discos and other properties. They found a major hotel built on prime beachfront property was paying just US$2,000 a year in taxes.

"It was relatively easy to bribe an official before to make a tax record disappear, because the record was just a paper file," Catalán said. "Now it would be significantly harder."

The issuing of birth certificates, marriage records and other civil documents has long been a font of corruption: According to Mexican Transparency, 7 percent of people requesting such records paid a bribe to get the document or to speed the process.

But the number has declined slightly, as more Mexican cities and states adopt digital document technology.

"People show up to request a birth certificate and they expect to have to come a week later to pick it up," said Gonzalo Bonifaz of Laserfiche, which has sold its software to several Mexican states and cities. "They ask, ´When should I come back?´ and they´re surprised when the answer is, ´We´re going to give it to you right now.´ "


At Mexico´s National Immigration Institute, officials recently worked with Laserfiche to complete a massive project to digitize seven decades of immigration records. Alfonso Torres left his job with the Mexican branch of a U.S. company to join the immigration office five years ago and launch the program.

When he arrived, he found an information system in its infancy. Agents operated computers, but their PCs weren´t linked to the central office in Mexico.

"Little by little, you cut down on the opportunities for corruption," Torres said.

At most airports, new technology allows supervisors in Mexico City to monitor online suspicious patterns among immigration agents. The agents, in turn, operate passport scanners that can detect false documents.

But if an immigration official receives a shady-looking passport with a rather large bill slipped inside, he can still find a way to beat the system, Torres said.

"The agent can put the passport sideways on the scanner and say, ´Oh, the scanner couldn´t read it. So I had to enter the information manually,´ " he said.

The problem was especially acute when flights arrived from Guatemala and other countries that feed Mexico´s own illegal immigration problem.

"We got many complaints from our Central American brothers about abuses from the agents," Torres said.

Torres, who was promoted recently to operations manager of the immigration agency, came up with an old-fashioned solution to the problem: new agents to supervise the other agents during peak hours at the Mexico City airport.

"You just can´t change the technology," he said. "It´s the people too."


Mexico City’s ‘Water Monster’ Nears Extinction

Monday , November 03, 2008


Beneath the tourist gondolas in the remains of a great Aztec lake lives a creature that resembles a monster — and a Muppet — with its slimy tail, plumage-like gills and mouth that curls into an odd smile.


The axolotl, also known as the "water monster" and the "Mexican walking fish," was a key part of Aztec legend and diet. Against all odds, it survived until now amid Mexico City’s urban sprawl in the polluted canals of Lake Xochimilco, now a Venice-style destination for revelers poled along by Mexican gondoliers, or trajineros, in brightly painted party boats.

But scientists are racing to save the foot-long salamander from extinction, a victim of the draining of its lake habitat and deteriorating water quality. In what may be the final blow, nonnative fish introduced into the canals are eating its lunch — and its babies.

The long-standing International Union for Conservation of Nature includes the axolotl on its annual Red List of threatened species, while researchers say it could disappear in just five years. Some are pushing for a series of axolotl sanctuaries in canals cleared of invasive species, while others are considering repopulating Xochimilco with axolotls bred in captivity.

"If the axolotl disappears, it would not only be a great loss to biodiversity but to Mexican culture, and would reflect the degeneration of a once-great lake system," says Luis Zambrano, a biologist at the Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM.

The number of axolotls (pronounced ACK-suh-LAH-tuhl) in the wild is not known. But the population has dropped from roughly 1,500 per square mile in 1998 to a mere 25 per square mile this year, according to a survey by Zambrano’s scientists using casting nets.

It has been a steep fall from grace for the salamander with a feathery mane of gills and a visage reminiscent of a 1970s Smiley Face that inspired American poet Ogden Nash to pen the witticism: "I’ve never met an axolotl, But Harvard has one in a bottle."

Millions once lived in the giant lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco on which Mexico City was built. Using four stubby legs to drag themselves along lake bottoms or their thick tails to swim like mini-alligators, they hunted plentiful aquatic insects, small fish and crustaceans.

Legend has it that Xolotl — the dog-headed Aztec god of death, lightning and monstrosities — feared he was about to be banished or killed by other gods and changed into an axolotl to flee into Lake Xochimilco.

The axolotl’s decline began when Spanish conquerors started draining the lakes, which were further emptied over time to slake the thirst of one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing cities. In the 1970s, Lake Chalco was completely drained to prevent flooding. In the 1980s, Mexico City began pumping its wastewater into the few canals and lagoons that remained of Xochimilco.

About 20 years ago, African tilapia were introduced into Xochimilco in a misguided effort to create fisheries. They joined with Asian carp to dominate the ecosystem and eat the axolotl’s eggs and compete with it for food. The axolotl is also threatened by agrochemical runoff from nearby farms and treated wastewater from a Mexico City sewage plant, researchers say.

Local fisherman Roberto Altamira, 32, recalls when he was a boy, and the axolotl was still part of the local diet.

"I used to love axolotl tamales," he says, rubbing his stomach and laughing.

But he says people no longer eat axolotls, mainly because fishermen almost never find them.

"The last one I caught was about six months ago," says Altamira, a wiry gondolier with rope-like muscles from years of poling through Xochimilco’s narrow waterways.

Meanwhile, the axolotl population is burgeoning in laboratories, where scientists study its amazing traits, including the ability to completely re-grow lost limbs. Axolotls have played key roles in research on regeneration, embryology, fertilization and evolution.

The salamander has the rare trait of retaining its larval features throughout its adult life, a phenomenon called neoteny. It lives all its life in the water but can breathe both under water with gills or by taking gulps of air from the surface.

On a 9-foot-wide canal covered by a green carpet of "lentejilla" — an aquatic plant that resembles green lentils — Zambrano’s researchers test water quality and search for axolotls. The air smells of sulfur and sewage.

A team member suddenly points to the trademark water ripple of an axolotl, and the crew hurls its net. But they only come up with two tilapia in a sopping-wet mass of lentejilla.

So far, scientists disagree on how to save the creature. But a pilot sanctuary is expected to open in the next three to six months in the waters around Island of the Dolls, so-called because the owner hangs dolls he finds in the canals to ward off evil spirits.

Zambrano proposes up to 15 axolotl sanctuaries in Xochimilco’s canals, where scientists would insert some kind of barrier and clear the area of nonnative species.

Without carp, the water would clear, and plants the axolotl needs to breed could flourish again, said Bob Johnson, the curator of amphibians and reptiles at the Toronto Zoo.

"If you take the insults away, the lake has an amazing latent potential to heal itself," he said.

Veterinarian Erika Servin, who runs the Mexico City government’s axolotl program at Chapultepec Zoo, is studying the possibility of introducing axolotls from the lab into the canals. But more study is needed to make sure the process doesn’t lead to diseases and genetic problems from inbreeding.

Xochimilco residents could be another source of resistance.

Hundreds of people make a living pulling tilapia from canals or growing flowers, lettuce and vegetables on nearby land. Efforts to remove the fish or shut down polluting farms could face stiff opposition.

But while the debate goes on, time is running out.

Given its role in research alone, Johnson says, "We owe it to the axolotl to help it survive."


Campus Party México Ready to Receive Visitors



Campus Party, the event of technology, creativity, culture and digital leisure on the net with global acknowledgement, announces it will be taken from August 9th to 15th, 2010.

So now are available entries through the website of Campus Party México from Monday, May 24th. Who had been a camper in the first edition will have a 20% discount on purchases.

If the registration as a camper was befor November 19th, 2009, the entry can be purchased, besides by being a veteran applies a 20% discount, which is valid until May 30th.

In the other side, if it is the first assistance to Campus Party, you have right for a discount for being an “early adopter” If you acquire the entry from June 1st to 10th.

International Congress MundoContact México 2010


On May 24th and 25th academic and commercial journals were realized the same which were convened by MundoContact to the entire ICT communities in México and abroad.Market-leading organizations, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, presented the major global trends of technology and proposals for more advanced solutions for enterprises.

Latin American Institute of Digital Culture is Created



Looking to foster the correct usage of Internet and Information Technologies, diverse specialists in the subject launched the Latin American Institute of Digital Culture (ILCUDI), to give information to users with the objective to keep them less exposed to multiple risks which are implied in navigating the web, as extortion and identity theft.

 “México is lagging speaking about digital culture; the objective of the Institute is to give the necessary tools to Internet users and IT to encourage a safer and more efficient usage of these technologies”, commented Ernesto Valdez Díaz, ILCUDI director.

He explained that Latin American nations as Argentina, Chile and Colombia report a higher level of broadband penetration and with this, they have more tools to run these resources, so México has to stick to these practices to reduce the digital divide.

References: El Financiero, México.

México Celebrates the Internet User’s Day

Experts match in the existence of generational and social divides in the access to Internet.

The Internet community in México set up the Internet User’s Day, where the best practices of the new information technologies and communication were discussed.

During the event, organized by the Latin American Institute of Digital Culture (ILCUDI, for its acronym in Spanish), specialists emphasized in the social impact of the information technologies in the creation of the called “digital culture”.

In a conference, the director of the Institute, Ernesto Valdez Díaz, spoke about the opportunities and challenges of the users in México and supported the world right to Internet access.

“The entire world must have, with no discrimination, Internet access, access to an informative network, formative and updated, in benefit of the users”.

In the event the actual situation was boarded, compared with researches made about the tendencies related to the usage of information technologies, and the experts matched in a total change of the users’ habits, as well as the existence of generational and social divides in the Internet access.

“Technology modified the culture, persons’ habits, government, simplified trades and revolutionized commerce”, explained Octavio Islas, specialist in the impact of the Internet in the society.

Reference: El Universal, México

AMIPCI Asks to Increase Broadband in México



Some of the factors which have limited the growth of the mobile internet in México have been the cost of the devices and internet access.

Although in México there are more than 30 million users connected to Internet, this cipher is still being low, because the country has more than 110 million of inhabitants, recognized Mauricio Braverman, President of AMIPCI.

But besides increasing the number of connected users to Internet in México, Braverman said that they also need to increase the broadband available in the country, which is only of 2Mbps, when in other parts of the world there exists an offer of 50 or 100Mbps for business services or multimedia.

“In the country there are eight connections of broadband by each 100 of inhabitants, if this is an advance we believe the number would be more competitive to have other economies of the OCDE”, pointed out.

The president of AMIPCI, said that mobile telephony has reached a penetration of 77 percent of Mexicans, but only a 11 percent have devices which are able to connect to Internet and from them only a 29 percent navigates in the Internet.

The factors, mentioned Braveman, which have limited the growth of mobile Internet in México have been the culture, the cost of the devices and the Internet access.

He added that electronic commerce grew in the last year with a rate of 85 percent, and that were traveling and entertainment sectors the ones which have positioned the most.

Reference: El Universal, México.


México Needs More Public Accesses

In the country 250 persons for each thousand citizens have a way to connect to the Internet.

In order to have a higher level of penetration of internet users in México, more public accesses are needed, but most of all for women, was considered like this by Kishore Swaminathan, Global Director of Accenture.

During his visit to México the scientist pointed out that 25 percent of Mexican population has access to Internet; it is 250 persons for each thousand citizens have a way to connect to the Net, which can be good or bad.

“Bad if it is compared with other countries, because is a low penetration, but if this is compared with the literacy existing in the country, I am sure the statistics (of the people who connects to the Internet) is higher” affirmed.

The solution Swaminathan offers to any of the governments of the emerging countries is to make educational plans and to offer public accesses in libraries and schools, but most of all focused on women, because they will be the ones teaching children.

On the other side, the specialist admitted that from the 75 percent without access to Internet, at least one of those persons has it, and even uses it to consult medical information, for example.

Besides, only Rusia of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) enjoys better statistics of penetration to the Net in México.

Reference: El Reforma, México.