Trans-Atlantic video conference yields first results

A live video conference linked business executives and government leaders in Washington DC and Tel Aviv.

May 27, 2002
Source: Financial Times Limited, All Rights Reserved

Financial Times Limited via NewsEdge Corporation : Ran Dagoni, Washington 05/23/2002

Preliminary business contacts were established yesterday between US and Israel security companies at the Tel Aviv-Washington video conference yesterday.

The Trans-Atlantic video conference was the highlight of the Virtual Trade Mission held by Israeli representatives of US companies over the Internet since April 22.

Israeli commercial attache at the Israel Embassy in Washington Adv. Edny Raz, who initiated the project with TradeBuilders of the US, told ''Globes'' yesterday that the video conference, like the Virtual Trade Mission, was designed to overcome the reticence of US managers against visiting Israel. The travelers warning issued by the US Department of State has deterred business travel to Israel.

"We tried to bypass the logistical and personal problems of US company managers, and achieved a virtual visit to Israel that resulted in preliminary business relationships between Israeli and US companies," said Raz. "From this perspective, the project was a great success."

Eight Israeli companies participated in the Virtual Trade Mission, including Aliroo, Elbit Systems (Nasdaq: ESLT), Vigilis, Vsoft and Israel Aircraft Industries. The 20 participating US companies included Electronic Data Systems (NYSE:EDS), Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).

Some of the relationships begun yesterday included:

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) invited Vigilis, to discuss integrating its emergency management systems into FEMA's. Vigilis executive Zohar Rubinstein told the conference that for every physical victim of a disaster there were 20 psychological victims, and his company was able to treat them.

International real estate consultancy firm Staubach expressed interest in a partnership with Global Security International (GSI), a US company partly controlled and run by expatriate Israeli security experts. In an interview with ''Globes'', Global Security International president and CEO Israel Perlov said GSI's partly advantage lay in its being a US company that could offer its US customers Israeli thinking within American parameters.

Leading global IT company, EDS, which had $21.5 billion in revenue in 2001, invited Aliroo, which develops digital information security systems, for talks on possible cooperation.

EDS Global Security & Privacy Services director Daryl Eckard told ''Globes'' he was interested in three other Israeli companies. He said US companies participating Virtual Trade Mission and the video conference were not interested in the Israeli companies in themselves. "The Americans in the project did not consider themselves as the end-users of the Israeli companies' products. They were more interested in integrating the Israeli technologies in the range of products offered to customers," he said.

Eckard said that contrary to conventional wisdom, it was possible that Israeli companies in service and security-related fields might find it easier to penetrate the private sector than the government sector in the US.

Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on May 23, 2002
Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved.
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