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Thousands of men and women involved in the information technology sector help Armenia move towards a knowledge-based economy, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Thursday as he handed his annual Global IT award to Tony Fadell, a Lebanese-American inventor, designer and entrepreneur who is also known as “one of the fathers of the iPod”.

Addressing the guests of the ceremony held in the Presidential Palace Sarkisian went on to describe the IT sector as a major potential locomotive of growth for Armenia.

“Some 600 companies are involved in this sector [in Armenia] and among them are offices of many world-renowned organizations. They provide jobs to nearly 20,000 people. For several years we see on average a 20-25 percent growth in this sector,” the Armenian president said. “But while providing such rates of development, we should not limit ourselves to such indices. We should dream, think and create new projects and implement them. The number of companies working in the IT sector should reach thousands and the number of their employees should be in the hundreds of thousands.”

In this view, Sarkisian put an emphasis on the establishment of a “dynamic system” of professional education. “I think that our specialists should be interested in the solutions of Mr. Fadell in terms of iPod or other innovations,” he added.

In 2010, former Apple engineer Fadell co-founded a start-up company, Nest Labs, that is a home automation producer of programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, security cameras, and other security systems.

Alphabet Inc. (Google) acquired Nest Labs for US$3.2 billion in January 2014, when it had 280 employees, continuing the Nest brand identity. In November 2015, Nest Labs had grown into more than 1,100 employees, with a new engineering center in Seattle.

Fadell is the eighth international IT personality honored in Armenia since 2010 with the Presidential Award which is given to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to humanity through advancing the world of IT.

Among the previous laureates were retired CEO/Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation Craig Barrett, co-founder of Apple Computers, Inc. Steve Wozniak, CEO of Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky and others.

One of the objectives of the award is to bring to Armenia leading IT sector individuals, thus raising the profile of the country and its recognition in the world IT industry.

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