Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies

What is APRICOT?

Throughout Asia Pacific Region, Internet service providers, backbone and regional networks, web hosting facilities, firewalls, and Intranets are being created, deployed, and installed at a staggering pace. The technicians, managers, entrepeneurs and decision-makers responsible are under tremendous pressure to master the skills necessary to build and operate these increasingly complex systems.

The mission of the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT) is to provide a forum for those key Internet builders in the region to learn from their peers and other leaders in the Internet community from around the world.

Held annually, the nine day long summit consists of seminars, workshops, tutorials, conference sessions, birds-of-a-feather (BOFs), and other forums all with the goal of spreading and sharing the knowledge required to operate the Internet within the Asia Pacific region.

In an attempt to ease the travel burden on attendees, APRICOT is held in conjunction with one of the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre's (APNIC) two annual meetings, and meetings of other Asia Pacific Internet organisations.

APRICOT today

APRICOT is the Asia Pacific region's premier Internet Operations and Technology summit. The summit is coorganised by APRICOT's community volunteers and by APNIC, all coordinated by Molly Cheam, APRICOT's Event Manager.

APRICOT is financially responsible for each and every event, and works with partners in the region who assist with the local logistics for each summit.

APRICOT works on a two year planning horizon, with future events being announced 18 to 24 months in advance of them taking place, to all for the community to plan their participation.

The successful model includes a week of workshops prior to the conference, and a conference week which includes APNIC's own dedicated track, the APRICOT Peering Forum, tutorials and other operational and technology conference sessions. Apart from this core programme, APRICOT also sees meetings of various AP based organisations, as well as several social events, all designed to enhance the participants' networking opportunities.

APRICOT's History

1996 to 2001

In 1995, David Conrad, at the time the Director General of APNIC, saw the early operator groups taking place with great success in the US. NANOG was newly launched (the commercial version of Joint Techs) and was aimed at the North American ISP market; the rest of the world had no equivalent.

David suggested that the Asia & Pacific region should have its own Internet technical operations conference. Barry Greene, then working for SingTel, convinced SingTel to support the event, and Harish Pillay persuaded the Singapore Computer Society to sponsor the first meeting at the RELC Centre in Singapore.

With venue, Internet connectivity, and sponsorship assured, a team of volunteers constructed the terminal room, and Digital paid for the catering, the first ever APRICOT took place in January 1996. The first APRICOT social event was a visit to the Singapore Night Safari.

Building on the success of the first event, subsequent APRICOTs in 1997, 1998 and 1999 were operated on the similar volunteer model.

APRICOT 2000 and 2001 expanded the scope of the event, with other AP organisations recognising its status as an Internet summit. APRICOT had matured, and was more than just a network operators meeting of its early years.

The early 2000s: APRICOT and APIA

In September 2002, the APRICOT Executive Committee and the APIA Board agreed that APIA and APRICOT needed to work more closely together. And as from March 2003, APIA became the legal entity supporting the APRICOT conference effort. APRICOT became APIA's main activity, with new Board members from the international operations community and the APRICOT volunteer pool working to ensure the future development and growth of APRICOT.

The revised organisation saw the APIA Board responsible for the legal entity which supports APRICOT. A new APRICOT Management Committee replaced the Executive Committee and took on the day to day role of event organisation in partnership with the local host. A new APRICOT Programme Committee introduced a more scalable structure of programme development than the earlier per session volunteer model.

2005 to 2016

APRICOT continued its development, with a stronger partnership with APNIC, one of its early co-founders, and with a dedicated Secretariat provided by PIKOM in Malaysia. APRICOT hosts bid for the privilege of hosting the event, and this saw the event move to never visited before locations in the region, as well as cementing its natural home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

By 2010 APRICOT had become the foremost Internet Summit in the Asia Pacific region, holding a conference seeing participation from around the world, and participation by many of the Asia Pacific region's Internet organisations. It also had developed a strong fellowship programme ensuring that participants from the least developed nations could participate in the summit.

By 2013, APIA Ltd was no longer able to operate in the Seychelles while maintaining banking facilties in the region, so Asia Pacific Internet Association Pty Ltd was established in Australia. APIA was reformed as a Special Committee in the by-laws of the new Australian company, allowing it to continue in its current form with Directors and Members, while the company provided the legal and financial umbrella.

In 2014 APIA and APNIC agreed to coordinate the location of their respective conferences so that each of the Asia Pacific's four sub-regions gets an equal opportunity to host their respective events.

2016 to today

Following the conclusion of APRICOT 2016, APRICOT embarked on a new model of taking on the financial responsibility for operating the event, removing the last big barrier that potential hosts of the event had to surmount. APRICOT 2017 was the first event wholly undertaken by APRICOT, in partnership with its host. Hosts no longer bid for the event, meaning the APRICOT Board has greater flexibility to partner with organisations who may not have the financial wherewithal to support the event on their own.

In 2017, the APIA Board agreed to rebrand the APIA Special Committee as APRICOT in recognition of the primary activity of APIA. The Australian proprietary limited company (Asia Pacific Internet Association pty Ltd) remains the legal and financial entity supporting APRICOT. The APIA Board became the APRICOT Board, and APIA Members became APRICOT Members. The APRICOT Board hopes this will strengthen the APRICOT brand further, and reduce the confusion between the respective roles of APIA and APRICOT in the region.