Elton John fans in Dubai will be able to interact in a unique English and Arabic SMS (Short Message Service) competition, when the superstar performs in the Emirates on 31st October. Sugarcube, an Invest NI supported company in Carrickfergus, will remotely manage the promotion from Northern Ireland on the night of the concert.

Concert goers will be able to win back stage passes and Nokia picture messaging phones whilst watching the show.

Sugarcube, which is represented on the Invest NI stand at the GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition) in Dubai from 14-17 October, will provide both the SMS technology and concert video screen graphics on behalf of Nokia, the Finnish manufacturer of telecommunications equipment.

At the concert interval fans will be able to use their mobile phone handsets to respond to a question which will be flashed on the huge stage video screens. Duel language capability will be available for the first time in the Middle East, with Sugarcube responding to both English and Arabic messages within five seconds.

The Carrickfergus company, set up by Errol Maxwell in 1999, currently employs seven people full time. The Middle East market was recently opened up as the result of winning a sizeable contract to provide duel language text messaging technology for Nokia to run the ‘Nokia Race’ in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and Oman.

“The ‘Nokia Race’, which is going to be launched in the Gulf States on 1 November, is a very exciting project and could be extended to the wider global marketplace,” said Mr Maxwell.

“It’s a major promotion to boost sales of the next generation of mobile phones by enabling users to text answers to a competition featuring top-of-the-range prizes such as round the world flight tickets. In addition to the text messaging systems, we are developing a website for the competition in both English and Arabic languages.

“The deal is a marvellous endorsement by Nokia of our SMS expertise and it establishes us as a pace-setter in the use of SMS for interactive advertising and promotions. We used our knowledge of the technology to help NOKIA in developing what will be an extremely important marketing concept.

“We’ve also been greatly assisted by Michael Craig, the Director of Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centre in Dubai, who continues to line up a programme of meetings with the major Global brands based in the Emirates,” added Mr Maxwell.

Noel Brown, Client Executive at Invest NI’s Northern Eastern Local Office in Ballymena, said: “Sugarcube is an young, enterprising and technology-led company which is developing a significant niche for itself in a growth sector of the Global telecommunications market. By partnering a major international corporation such as Nokia, Sugarcube is able to apply its knowledge of how SMS technology can be applied to promotional campaigns.”