Page 1


Concept and content by Akshay Bhatnagar A. Harikumar Susmita De Turki Al Balushi

Progress amidst competition

Senior Manager - Dossier Business Unit Shivkumar Gaitonde

Oman’s telecommunication and information technology sector witnessed overall progress in the year 2010amidst increasing competition. The healthy growth rate of 4.1 per cent recorded by the Sultanate’s economy aided growth of the sector.

Senior Media Executive Girija Shankar Mohanty Senior Art Director Sandesh S. Rangnekar Art Director Minaal G. Pednekar Design Shameer Moideen Khoula Rashid Al Wahaibi Translator Mustafa Kamal Production Manager Govindraj Ramesh Photography Rajesh Burman Sathyadas C. Narayanan Motasim Abdullah Othman Al Balushi CORPORATE Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman Senior Business Support Executive Radha Kumar Business Executive Zuwaina Said Al-Rashdi Published by United Press & Publishing LLC PO Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code - 112 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel (968) 24700896 Fax (968) 24707939 Email:

The positive developments during the period include technological upgradation and launch of innovative products and services by different players in the sector. In the telecom sector, Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) recorded a profit marginally less than it recorded in 2009. During the period the companydeveloped the 3.5G network services. Omani Qatari Telecommunications Company(Al awras),registered a significant rise in revenues and profit in 2010 compared to 2009. The companysuccessfully launched its IPO (initial public offering) in 2010, the first IPO in Oman in two years. It started operating its own international gateway in April 2010, launched integrated corporate services in May 2010 and home broadband and fixed services in June 2010. Year 2010 also witnessed series of innovative and attractive product / service offerings from both Omantel and Nawras. One of the major achievements of Oman in the information technology sector in 2010 was securing a rank of 41 in the ‘2010-2011 Global Information Technology ReportTransformations 2.0’ by INSEAD, the leading international business school, and World Economic Forum. Oman bettered its ranking by nine places compared to the previous report. Another major development on the IT front was the announcement of the first Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment. In 2010 ITA launched the Oman National Computer Emergency Response Team (OCERT towards creating a secure eEnvironment in the Sultanate. In its pursuit towards transforming itself to a knowledgebased society, Oman has made major achievements like establishing the Official eGovernment Services Portal, the ePayment Gateway (ePG), the National Data Centre (NDC), the Oman Government Network (OGN) and the Centre for Information Security (CIS). All these have helped the Sultanate gain a rank of 50 in the Index of General Network Readiness, in the Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 issued by the World Economic Forum. It is in this backdrop that COMEX 2011, one of the largest IT, telecom and consumer electronics events in the region is taking place at the Oman International Exhibition Centre from April 25 – 29. OER Dossier is the official B2B pulication of this event.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. OER accepts .no responsibility for all advertising contents

The current issue of Comex Special OER Dossier highlights the latest trends in ICT sector and has interviews with leading players in the sector in Oman. Features on social media and online safety are interesting and informative.


A.Harikumar Assistant Business Editor


Copyright © 2011 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed by Ruwi Modern Printing Press

Enjoy reading!

April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special



Expert Speak

Broadband network Dr.Mohammed Ali AlWahaibi, Under Secretary, Communications, MOTC



Social media – an integral part of business processes

16 Oman – Dramatic Transformation Annual Global Information Technology Report


DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Windows Phone Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft.


30 Enabling tomorrow’s digital world

ICT markets around the world are becoming more competitive, including international gateway services.





DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011


n the recent few months, we have seen how the digital democracy driven by social media networks has caused upheavals in many states in the Middle East & North Africa region. As a result, the fate of hundreds of millions of people has been changed. Unarguably, the social media doesn’t need any more testimonials to prove its mettle. The civil society has embraced the social media with open arms but the big question is how the enterprise sector (read companies) is utilizing the medium to its advantage. Most of the CEOs will respond that their companies have presence on facebook or twitter. And if you ask them about how they have integrated it in the business processes in their respective companies, they are most likely to draw a blank face. It is a 6

DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

scenario not just in Oman but rest of the world as well. The head honchos can’t be blamed for it as the social media is comparatively a new phenomenon and it will take time for the corporates to develop a deep understanding of it from the business perspective. At the moment, many businesses have integrated social media in their customer relationship management system. Within Oman, Khimji Ramdas (KR) Group’s Nikon Muscat Photo Workshops facebook account has been a good example. KR Group is exclusively authorized to distribute, retail and provide after sales service for Nikon in the Sultanate. To engage the photography enthusiasts in the country, KR Group initially started a blog for them. And later on, shifted to the facebook platform to establish and

maintain the connect with existing and potential customers for ease of use. Within Oman, Khimji Ramdas (KR) Group’s Nikon Muscat Photo Workshops facebook account has been a good example. KR Group is exclusively authorized to distribute, retail and provide after sales service for Nikon in the Sultanate. To engage the photography enthusiasts in the country, KR Group initially started a blog for them. And later on, shifted to the facebook platform to establish and maintain the connect with those interested in photography, who could be existing and potential customers, for ease of use. “We have created a community. The initiative is not directed towards selling our products to them. We connect them through workshops in the real world and then provide them with a platform to share their pictures, around which conversations evolve and interest

SOCIAL MEDIA Probably, many marketers will be able to find answers to many of their questions through the facebook community itself if they mine it properly! In fact, many brands in Oman have been harnessing facebook to promote themselves. The home grown brand Chips Oman has over 25,800 followers, the largest following for a brand in Oman on facebook. The global brand Burger King has over 9,300 followers on its Oman centric account on facebook. The brand had over 1,000 followers even before it launched its operations in Oman. The community was exchanging notes in anticipation of its impending launch. All this must be music to any marketer! Imagine this, they could get customer feedback within few minutes (if not seconds) of launching a new product variant or change in the features of their existing product. develops. It has over 220 followers and has been very successful in strengthening the brand equity,” says Rajive Ahuja, Head-Corporate Communications of Khimji Ramdas Group. Internationally, on the marketing and branding front, companies such as Coca Cola, Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble are now employing social media in their strategic initiatives. Take this very interesting example first published in BusinessWeek magazine sometime back. Jonathan Spier, CEO of social media analytics company NetBase had the chance to win a multimillion dollar contract if he could answer one question: Why do men sport stubble? ‘The query posted by a consumerproducts company to more than 100 research firms, had to be answered by mining millions of postings by men on social media sites. NetBase’s software, which reads and analyzes 50,000 sentences a minute, found 77,000 mentions of stubble online in 8

DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

less than six seconds. Its researchers isolated all the positive comments, categorized them into themes, and built a chart in less than an hour ranking all the reasons. While the answer – most men wear stubble because they perceive it to be sexy – isn’t that eye-opening, the ability to quickly collect and analyze all that Web data is. The process provides something marketers have long wanted; a way to pick up intelligence and trends from among all that chatter floating across the Net.’ In Oman, it is not easy to find primary data in the market. Even if a marketer has to undertake the exercise in a professional manner, it may not be that cost-effective and of course, it is going to be time consuming. How about doing it by mining the social media sites? Pessimists may say Oman is too small a market to do such an exercise. May be they are right but the facts say otherwise. Take facebook for example. At the time of going to the press, Oman had over 230,000 facebook users according to

Generally we say Oman is a very polite society and most of the people don’t share their feedback publicly even if they are not happy with a product or service. It is a myth, at least in the online media. The social media is an ample proof that they (especially the youth segment) are at par with their peers internationally when it comes to airing their views. Though brands in Oman may have been performing well in engaging social media on the CRM and marketing side, what about the integration of social media on other aspects such as internal communication? Between the management and staff? Between different teams or within teams? ‘We have a robust system of regular meetings in person and exchange of information through emails. We also organize family get-togethers and we work as a cohesive unit,’ is the standard answer one can expect from the corporate sector. It is difficult to understand if the


system of internal communication was so good then how come so many companies are facing issues such as sudden demands, protests and strikes by their Omani employees? May be an effective use of social media as a medium in the internal communication to understand the feelings and aspirations of Omani employees could have eliminated or minimized the unrest seen in the public and private sector. An intranet portal with the facility of posting information or reactions in real time or a facebook kind of an application where all the employees of an organization could exchange view points, could be an interesting tool to look at. But is it really advisable to do it? Will it lead to explosion of information which is difficult to manage or process and ultimately a path towards chaos? “If you make it open to all in a company, many employees may use it for purposes which may not have direct connect with the official work. It will affect the productivity and efficiency of the company. Another flip side is that the social media is used mostly by youngsters and elder generation may be hesitant or reluctant in adopting it,” said

An intranet portal with the facility of posting information or reactions in real time or a facebook kind of an application where all the employees of an organization could exchange view points, could be an interesting tool to look at 10 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Ghassan Baz, Chief Information officer, Suhail Bahwan Group (Holding) LLC. Hayyan Al Lawati, Business Development Manager of Al Habib & Company said, “I would not like to engage the employees through social media. It may be difficult to control. It will be too much of a forum and can be disordered.” Point taken. But just because it can be messy, it should be avoided completely? Perhaps, it is a natural reaction to any kind of a change and we don’t want to step into an unchartered territory. Are we not communicating more and more through emails and less and less through faxes now? Probably, the change is inevitable; we need to customize the tool to control or minimize its negative offerings. Say a moderator who could filter the communication before it becomes live. The employees could be provided training in how to conduct themselves in such forums and apprised about the regular dos and don’ts. Let us not forget that for employees also it will be a new medium and they will take time to understand and learn how it can be used (or even abused). Moving on to another important element of the integration of social media in the business processes, the generation and sharing of market intelligence is another challenge for most of the corporate leaders. “We have different divisions in diversified businesses. What keeps us going is the collective market intelligence. But we don’t have an organized channel for gathering this information and sharing with relevant employees (say middle to senior level managers). This is currently being done through personal meetings and email exchanges but we know there is a genuine need to improve this system to maximize on business

opportunities,” informed Hayyan. That’s exactly where social media could plug in the gap by a simple re-engineering of processes to take advantage of the new patterns of communication. An article published in Knowledge@Wharton recently stated: ‘ in February (2010) launched a social business tool called that is an extension of the company’s cloud-based customer relationship management software. In many respects, mimics facebook and twitter in allowing employees to share profiles, comment on projects and follow colleagues as well as corporate business processes such as invoices and sales proposals. In December (2010), Salesforce. com CEO Marc Benioff, the most visible champion of social business, described Chatter as being like your business is Tweeting you. A tool like could be a browser based as well as a browser free tool (with desktop and mobile applications) for exchange of information within single or multiple sub-communities in a company. In a practical scenario, a Group CEO of a company could form a sub-community of CEOs, GMs or divisional heads under him to share important information critical to the business. The platform could be used by any member of the subcommunity. “Such kind of a social media application will have a lot of advantages. Without approaching the people, you can get their feedback by sharing the information in an open or restricted forum. It also reduces the pressure on the server (local) as the data is hosted in the clouds. It is free and can be accessed from multiple locations by different groups or people,” said Ghassan Baz. Tariq Barwani, a renowned IT expert, added, “There is no dearth of cloud

Lot of young Omanis are taking up higher positions in the public and private sectors. They will implement this new technology tool as they have experienced it and it is an integral part of their personal life part of their personal life. Though the elder generation will continue to be at the top, the growing influence of the younger generation in the top management of companies will make the difference.” based social media applications targeted at the enterprise segment. Big players like Microsoft and Google provides many such services. The only challenge is that these players have to provide customization of such applications.” But what about the security of the data? Are these social media applications ensure safety of the critical information related to an enterprise? Most of the top managers we spoke to denounce that security of the data is an issue in the adoption of social media in business processes. However, Ghassan Baz commented, “No doubt the level of trust is low. It will take time to gain the trust. People should test this medium in smaller groups and share information that is not too critical and see what happens and thereafter take a call based on their experience.” 12 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

There is another challenge before social media. Most of the industry captains belong to the older generation which is comparatively less social media savvy compared to the younger generation. Their understanding of the medium is lower as they are either not using it at all or moderately using it. If we again look at facebook usage in Oman as an indicative yardstick, only 8 per cent of its users in Oman belong to the age bracket of 45 years and above. Hence, they are more likely to rely on conventional mediums rather than harnessing the growing power of social media. On this issue, a senior private sector executive said, “Time will take care of it. Lot of young Omanis are taking up higher positions in the public and private sectors. They will implement this new technology tool as they have experienced it and it is an integral

Tariq added, “It is still early days but those who are going to adopt the medium today will be the winners tomorrow. By the time, the market will get mature and start seeing its larger benefits, the early adopters will have the first mover advantage. Investments are lower and returns are higher.” We are in the midst of an interesting transformation but only time will tell whether social media applications get intrinsically integrated into the business processes with a definite ROI to show or it turns out to be a hype orchestrated by application developers or providers to tap the multi-billion dollar enterprise software segment! .............................................................. Source: Alam al-Iktisaad Wal A’mal


14 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011




roadband networks are increasingly recognized as fundamental prerequisite for economic and social development. They serve as a communication and transaction platform for the entire economy and can improve productivity across all sectors. It is, therefore, a key driver of economic growth and national competitiveness, and it can contribute to social and cultural development. For many countries, building NextGeneration National Broadband Networks constitute the single largest infrastructure investment. Countries that don’t join the race risk the chance of being left behind in future economic and social prosperity. However, due to the size and scale of the investment of building nextgeneration broadband networks, telecom companies face a dilemma. Firstly, the level of uncertainty that relates to direct profitable return is not straightforward. Secondly, the new network remains a field of competition. Thirdly, the regulator is not clear. Fourthly, the demand is uncertain.

The next issue is the competition. Can the existing level of competition be achieved? Or would the new NBN reduce competition? Would the new competition be in in services and applications? If the new competition is in services, would the new regime disincentives operators from investing in infrastructure? Do operators need to review their layers of traditional service delivery?

there are many success stories from governments around the world, a country should find its own formula based on its market structure, social settings, economic indicators, and the intensity and the geographic spread of its population. I’m pleased that Oman has embarked on its own discovery exercise for the objective of finding the best formula of leapfrogging in the race of NextGeneration national Broadband Network.

There is another issue related to technology. Does the new NBN have to be based on fiber only? Can mobile play a role as well? What technology should be used at the access level to foster innovation? And finally, what is the social impact of the NBN? Would the new NBN bridge the digital divide between rural areas and the cities? What government policy is needed to stimulate delivery of intended benefits to the underserved? I have provided more questions than answers! I strongly believe that there is no perfect answer or a perfect recipe for rollout of NBN that a country can copy and apply successfully. The debate around NBN rollout is ongoing around the world, and while

(Excerpts from Dr.Al-Wahaibi’s speech at the recently held ‘SAMENA Broadband Summit’ at Muscat) April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special



O Oman ranks nine places higher on INSEAD and World Economic Forum’s Annual Global Information Technology Report


NSEAD, the leading international business school, has announced the findings of the 20102011 Global Information Technology Report, Transformations 2.0, a study which the school has jointly published with the World Economic Forum for the past decade. The Arab countries continue to feature prominently in the rankings, with three in the top 30. The UAE(24) ranked first, followed by Qatar (25), Bahrain (30), Saudi Arabia (33) and Oman (41).


DRAMATIC –TRANSFORMATION This reflects the information technology sector’s increasing prioritization in national agendas as a crucial instrument for economic diversification, enhanced efficiency, and modernization. (MENA rankings) Economy

World Rank 2010-2011

World Rank 2009-2010


1. UAE




2. Qatar




3. Bahrain




4. Saudi Arabia




5. Tunisia




6. Oman




7. Jordan




8. Turkey




9. Egypt




10. Kuwait




11. Morocco




12. Lebanon




13. Algeria




14. Syria




15. Libya




16 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011




Availability of latest technologies


Mobile Network coverage, % pop. covered


Government Readiness


Government Prioritization of ICT


Government procurement of advanced tech


Importance of ICT to Government vision


Mobile Phone subscription /100 pop


Government success in ICT promotion


ICT use & Government efficiency


Oman realizes an impressive nine-place jump to 41st, with remarkable improvements in all three components: up 14 positions for environment (43rd), up 12 positions for readiness (34th), and up 9 positions for usage (43rd). The 10th anniversary edition of the report focuses on information and communications technology’s (ICT) power to transform society through modernisation and innovation.

and economic growth. Similar to the 2009-2010 report, Sweden and Singapore led the rankings by placing first and second in the NRI, respectively. Finland (3) rose in the rankings, followed by Switzerland (4) and the United States (5). ‘ICT, and the Internet in particular, have changed the world dramatically, and all indications point to an even higher rate of transformation of our lives going forward,’ said Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, eLab, INSEAD. ‘As the Global Information Technology Report series enters its second decade, we hope it will continue to provide policy-makers

The report again features the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), which ranks 138 economies worldwide by examining the correlation between ICT readiness

and decision leaders from both the public and private sectors a unique reference and tool to address the challenges and opportunities brought about by the transformations 2.0.’ The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) examines economies worldwide on their preparedness to use ICT effectively on three dimensions: the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; the readiness of the three key societal actors • individuals, businesses and governments • to use and benefit from ICT; and their actual usage of available ICT. ‘Innovation and ICT have proven a crucial lever for long-term growth, with countless social and economic

Networked Readiness Index 2010-2011 (Top 10) Economy

Rank 2010-2011

Rank 2009-2010


















United States




Taiwan, China
















Korea, Rep.




18 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011







ptus Infotech and Cadmatic held a seminar in Muscat recently on their 3D software for plant and ship building industries. The event also witnessed the signing of a partnership agreement between Aptus Infotech and Cadmatic. Rrajesh Malaviya, CEO of Aptus Infotech welcomed the gathering. Jukka Rantala the President and CEO of Cadmatic accompanied by Matti Siltanen and Timo Nurminen was present on the occasion. Cadmatic is a leading developer and supplier of 3D software for the

plant- and ship building industries. Senior officials of Cadmatic gave presentation explaining how their software solutions help engineers design through 3D visualisations in user-friendly interfaces. The seminar witnessed a classic exchange of knowledge, ideas and visions that clearly showed the importance of 3D Plant Design Software within the Sultanate and the rest of the world.

consultants to move from 2D to 3D technology and enhance design, visualisation capabilities and error free drawings.

Presentations discussed the latest technology being used worldwide in the Oil & Gas, Paper, Pulp, Marine and other industries. The software is very useful for contractors and

Distinguished guests from Plant Consultants and Contractors such as Worley Parsons, Occidental Oman, ORPC, BEC, L&T Electromech and others attended the seminar.

“The industry is looking for solutions to increase cost efficiency and productivity. It is our goal to provide the best solution for these requirements,� said officials of Cadmatic.


Oman Key indicators

Population (millions), 2009.............................................................................................2.9 GDP (PPP) per capita (PPP $), 2009 ..........................................................................25,635 GDP (US$ billions), 2009 ..............................................................................................46.1 Global Competitiveness Index 2010–2011 rank (out of 139) 34

Networked Readiness Index Edition (No. of economies)



2010–2011 (138) .................................................................................4.2...........41 2009–2010 (133)................................................................................................3.9...........50 2008–2009 (134)................................................................................................4.1 ..........50 2007–2008 (127)................................................................................................4.0 ..........53 2006–2007 (122) ...............................................................................................n/a.........n/a

benefits and the capacity to significantly improve people’s life around the world,’ said Alan Marcus, Senior Director and Head of Information Technology and Telecommunications at the World Economic Forum and co-editor of the report. ‘Countries fully integrating new technologies and leveraging the new data revolution in their development and growth strategies are laying the foundations for competitive, resilient economies for the future.’ The Networked Readiness Index uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, as well as the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, an annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum with its network of partner institutes (leading research institutes and business organisations) in the countries included in the report. This survey of over 15,000 executives provides unique data on many qualitative dimensions important to assess national networked readiness. The presentation of the NRI rankings is followed by contribu-

20 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Environment component Market environment

4.2 43 4.7


1.01 Venture capital availability* ....................................................................3.8...........15 1.02 Financial market sophistication* .............................................................4.8...........47 1.03 Availability of latest technologies*...........................................................5.3...........57 1.04 State of cluster development*...................................................................4.1...........31 1.05 Burden of government regulation* ...........................................................4.3............7 1.06 Extent & effect of taxation*........................................................................5.6............4 1.07 Total tax rate, % profits...........................................................................21.6...........14 1.08 No. days to start a business .......................................................................12...........45 1.09 No. procedures to start a business...............................................................5...........22 1.10 Freedom of the press* ..............................................................................3.9.........115

Political and regulatory environment



2.01 Effectiveness of law-making bodies* ........................................................5.4............9 2.02 Laws relating to ICT* ...............................................................................4.9...........30 2.03 Judicial independence*.............................................................................5.1...........31 2.04 Efficiency of legal system in settling disputes* .......................................5.2...........16 2.05 Efficiency of legal system in challenging regs*........................................4.7...........23 2.06 Property rights*.........................................................................................5.5...........24 2.07 Intellectual property protection* .............................................................5.3...........20 2.08 Software piracy rate, % software installed................................................63...........55 2.09 No. procedures to enforce a contract .........................................................51........132 2.10 No. days to enforce a contract..................................................................598...........85 2.11 Internet & telephony competition, 0–6 (best) ...........................................1...........128

Infrastructure environment



3.01 Phone lines/100 pop. ...............................................................................10.5..........92 3.02 Mobile network coverage, % pop. covered.............................................96.5...........72 3.03 Secure Internet servers/million pop. .....................................................11.5...........72 3.04 Int’l Internet bandwidth, Mb/s per 10,000 pop......................................13.7...........69 3.05 Electricity production, kWh/capita...................................................5,297.7...........44 3.06 Tertiary education enrollment rate, %....................................................26.9...........81 3.07 Quality scientific research institutions* ..................................................3.9...........57 3.08 Availability of scientists & engineers* .....................................................3.8...........87 3.09 Availability research & training services*.................................................3.8............5 3.10 Accessibility of digital content* ..............................................................5.1...........56

Readiness component

4.8 34

Individual readiness



4.01 Quality of math & science education*......................................................4.2...........58 4.02 Quality of educational system*.................................................................4.2...........43 4.03 Adult literacy rate, %..............................................................................86.7...........93 4.04 Residential phone installation (PPP $)...................................................30.4...........20 4.05 Residential monthly phone subscription (PPP $) ..................................30.4.........134 4.06 Fixed phone tariffs (PPP $) ....................................................................0.09...........51 4.07 Mobile cellular tariffs (PPP $) ................................................................0.15...........16 4.08 Fixed broadband Internet tariffs (PPP $) ................................................30.4...........50 4.09 Buyer sophistication*...............................................................................3.8...........42

Business readiness



5.01 Extent of staff training* ............................................................................4.3...........44 5.02 Quality of management schools* .............................................................4.0...........81 5.03 Company spending on R&D*....................................................................3.2...........51

The report contains detailed country profiles for the 138 economies featured in the study, providing a snapshot of each economy’s level of ICT penetration and usage

5.04 University-industry collaboration in R&D*..............................................3.9...........50 5.05 Business phone installation (PPP $).......................................................30.4...........11 5.06 Business monthly phone subscription (PPP $) ......................................30.4...........11 9.07 Local supplier quality*.............................................................................4.8...........50 5.08 Computer, communications, & other services imports, % services imports ............................................................35.9...........48

Government readiness 5.1 13 6.01 Gov’t prioritization of ICT* ......................................................................5.5...........22 6.02 Gov’t procurement of advanced tech.* ....................................................4.5...........11 6.03 Importance of ICT to gov’t vision*............................................................5.2...........10

Usage component

3.8 43

Individual usage 4.2 48 7.01 Mobile phone subscriptions/100 pop...................................................139.5...........17 7.02 Cellular subscriptions w/data, % total ..................................................30.9...........24 7.03 Households w/ personal computer, %....................................................39.2...........55 7.04 Broadband Internet subscribers/100 pop..................................................1.4...........90 7.05 Internet users/100 pop............................................................................51.5...........42 7.06 Internet access in schools* .......................................................................4.6...........46

tions by academics and industry experts, exploring the transformations 2.0, including the emerging Internet economy, communities to be built around digital highways, ICT growing impact on poverty reduction, localisation 2.0, the potential of mobile banking in the emerging world, among others. Furthermore, four deep-dive studies on selected national/regional experiences in leveraging ICT for increased competitiveness are included: Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia, as well as broadband approaches and developments in the European Union and United States.

7.07 Use of virtual social networks*.................................................................5.1...........75 7.08 Impact of ICT on access to basic services* ..............................................5.5...........17

Business usage 3.2 56 8.01 Firm-level technology absorption* ..........................................................5.1...........52 8.02 Capacity for innovation*...........................................................................3.0...........61 8.03 Extent of business Internet use*...............................................................5.3...........42 8.04 National office patent applications/million pop .....................................1.8...........79 8.05 Patent Cooperation Treaty apps/million pop ...........................................1.4...........59 8.06 High-tech exports, % goods exports ......................................................0.0...........119 8.07 Impact of ICT on new services and products* ........................................5.0...........38 8.08 Impact of ICT on new organizational models* ........................................4.8...........32

Government usage 3.9 45 9.01 Gov’t success in ICT promotion................................................................5.2...........19 9.02 ICT use & gov’t efficiency*........................................................................5.3...........18 9.03 Government Online Service Index, 0–1 (best) .......................................0.37...........53 9.04 E-Participation Index, 0–1 (best).............................................................0.16...........74 * Out of a 1–7 (best) scale. This indicator is derived from the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey. Note: For further details and explanation, please refer to the section “How to Read the Country/Economy Profiles” on page 159. The Global Information Technology Report 2010–2011 © 2011 World Economic Forum

The report contains detailed country profiles for the 138 economies featured in the study, providing a snapshot of each economy’s level of ICT penetration and usage. Also included is an extensive section of data tables for the 71 indicators used in the computation of the Index.


We need to give people the full Web, the full Internet, on their phone, like they’ve come to expect with the PC,’ said Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft. Excerpts from his speech delivered at the Mobile World Congress 2011


Windows Phone brings together the best from across Microsoft, including Bing, and Xbox, and Hotmail, and Office, and Windows Live. These phones have also reached out to embrace third-party services, like Facebook, and enable developers to very rapidly build exciting new applications. For consumers, we think Windows Phones are the easiest to use, and the most delightful phones in the market. And the amount of work we have to do to let people touch, feel and experience certainly stands in front of us. The past year has been very fastpaced. In March, we unveiled the Windows Phone Development Platform for the first time, and previewed our Visual Studio toolset optimized for Windows Phones. In June, we delivered our first technical preview. In October and November, our handset and mobile operator partners put the first Windows Phones into the hands of consumers. Then, this last January at the Consumer Electronics Show, we showed the first new features coming in updates for Windows Phones. we are moving rapidly to continue the drive forward with Windows Phone. And if the recent announcement with Nokia is any indication, I think it’s fair to say that 2011 will be at least as fast-paced, if not more so, as 2010.


he last year has certainly seen a lot of change for our industry. It’s clear today that the mobile industry is moving from a device battle to a platform battle. That change is

happening faster and faster. It was only a year ago at Mobile World Congress that we first introduced our Windows Phone 7 product. Windows Phone 7 was really more than the launch of a single new product. Every

With Windows Phones, our top priority is to build phones that people love. Our phones feature two technology user interface concepts that we call smart design and hubs. Smart design makes access to information easier, and completing tasks faster. And hubs organize information, applications and services into complete and integrated experiences. We knew from the reaction that we got at Mobile World Congress last April 2011 â– DOSSIER COMEX Special



year that we were on a right path. And as we survey initial Windows Phone customers today, 93 percent of customers are delighted with their Windows Phones. We’re thrilled by the high degree of satisfaction. Nine out of 10 people who purchase a Windows Phone will tell their families, their friends, their coworkers that they should go out and buy one, too. Great products are really defined by the passion and the loyalty that they inspire from the people who have gone out and purchased them. And while it’s still very early in the game, we now know that our customers are already becoming broad evangelists for Windows Phones, and the benefits of these two new user interface approaches, smart design and hubs. Let me tell you a little bit about why, and I want to start with smart design. Research shows that people want a phone that makes information much more accessible, and helps them 24 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

complete basic tasks more easily. We talk a lot about applications, and all the additional things they want to do, but there are some basics. Certainly for the last few years, the market has been swamped by phones with fairly similar designs. Phone after phone, good phones, but all filled with home screens that have a sea of icons of applications that connect to information, which leads to commands that trigger action. With smart design, we’re trying to really go about improving that experience. When a customer sees a Windows Phone for the first time, they almost invariably have a reaction to how different the Windows Phone looks compared to all other phones. Then follows this kind of recognition, at least if they spend a minute with it, the recognition that they like the difference they see. With a Windows Phone, it’s easier and faster to see information at a glance, weather

information, stock prices, sports scores, calendar appointments. Without touching a button, or opening an application, right there on the home screen. With Bing, you simply ask your phone, “Phone, how do I find coffee?” And your phone gives you exactly what you’re looking for, the local coffee shops, directions, consumer reviews, and the like. And all of that with the ability to see what else is nearby just one touch away. An example of a common task for all of us is taking pictures. You’d think that would be easy. It’s something we all do all the time with our phone. With smart design and a Windows Phone, it actually is easy. If you want to take a picture even when the phone is locked, share it with your friends, no opening an app, just have it; take it instantly, have it saved out to the cloud. Let me tell you, that is not true today with some of the other products in the market.


We’re continuing to invest in this smart design approach, and I want to give you just a couple of examples here in the very near-term. First, we’re going to help customers move between their many applications very easily and very quickly. Just in the near future in 2011 we will bring multi-tasking to Windows Phones. Secondly, and perhaps even more significantly, we need to give people the full Web, the full Internet, on their phone, like they’ve come to expect with the PC. The Web in some senses has been designed PC first, and we need to make it a first-class citizen on the phone. This past September we released the beta version of our Internet Explorer browser, Internet Explorer 9, for the PC. We’ve had 25 million downloads and we recently just made the release candidate available of Internet Explorer 9. Internet Explorer 9 takes advantage, not only of the Web, but of all the hardware in the PC, like the graphics processor, to increase the performance and really deliver the beauty of the Web through the power of HTML5. Later this year we’re going to release a version of Internet Explorer 9, complete with hardware and graphics, and other hardware acceleration to the Windows Phone. IE9 is a great example of bringing assets together from across Microsoft to improve the Windows Phone experience. As I think should be obvious from my enthusiasm, smart design really is one of the key focal points for Windows Phone. The second one is hubs. Hubs are tiles that work on your behalf, to organize your information, applications, and services into a single, integrated experience. It is important, because we love our apps. We love our services. It’s often, frankly, just too hard to find what you want when you want it. And so with hubs we’re trying to integrate the things that are most important in your life, 26 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

and bring them together. We created six hubs around what our customers tell us they care about most. First, the People Hub, the People Hub combines the information about the people in your life, social feeds, contact information, into a single view. And from that single view you can comment, update, view all posts, texts, send e-mail, basically everything you need to interact from one place with the people who are important with you, without branching always to additional applications. The Office Hub brings together the documents and information that are important to us in the productive side of our life. We bring together Office applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and then we integrate our SharePoint backend

Windows Phone. Next hub, Pictures, Pictures bring together photos from your PC, your social networks like Facebook, and pictures you’ve taken yourself on our phone and uploads copies automatically to the cloud, again using our free Windows Live SkyDrive service. That means that pictures that you took a year ago and posted to Facebook, they show up the first time you log into your Windows Phone. Music and Video pairs the music from your PC and the Web, drags in artist information from the cloud, and integrates other music and video applications so you can actually see, for example, the YouTube video that you pause, and you can stream music you’ve just heard about from your friends, all without launching, or searching for an application.

We need to give people the full Web, the full Internet, on their phone, like they’ve come to expect with the PC service for business collaboration. You can do a quick edit on your phone, or look something up, save your edits back to a SharePoint site in your business, and keep your team moving along even if you’re, I don’t know, sitting in a keynote, for example, at Mobile World Congress. For consumers we’ll soon add support, similar support for our free SkyDrive service. So, that consumers can share information in the same way, with their friends, their schoolmates, and others. Customers are already taking advantage of this ability as consumers, to roam information amongst friends, devices, through the cloud, using the Windows Phone, with our OneNote note-taking application, beautiful application if you haven’t used it on the PC, but also implemented and integrated together in the Office Hub on the

Marketplace is the simple, single integrated hub to find music, games, and applications. And last, but certainly not least, Games, we brought the benefits of Xbox LIVE to the phone. If you create an avatar, or an achievement, or see the high scores your friends have made, all can be done through the integration with Xbox LIVE in the Games Hub, on the Windows Phone. Those six hubs, and the services and applications that they integrate are a big part of what makes Windows Phones truly different. This year, 2011, we will bring into these hubs Twitter integration, right into the People Hub. So, if you like the kind of integration we’ve done with Facebook, I think you’re going to love the way we bring Twitter fully and integrated into the hubs experience on the Windows Phone.



he worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57.7 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner Inc. By the end of 2011, Android will move to become the most popular operating system (OS) worldwide and will build on its strength to account for 49 percent of the smartphone market by 2012. Sales of open OS* devices will account for 26 percent of all mobile handset device sales in 2011, and are expected to surpass the 1 billion mark by 2015, when they will account for 47 percent of the total mobile device market. “By 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. “As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers”, Cozza said. “Android’s position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but



its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets.” Gartner predicts that Apple’s iOS will remain the second biggest platform worldwide through 2014 despite its share deceasing slightly after 2011. This reflects Gartner’s underlying assumption that Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy. This will continue to limit adoption in emerging regions. iOS share will peak in 2011, with volume growth well above the market average. This is driven by increased channel reach in key mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe. Research In Motion’s share over the forecast period will decline, reflecting the stronger competitive environment in the consumer market, as well as increased competition in the business sector. Gartner has factored in RIM’s migration from BlackBerry OS to QNX which is expected in 2012. Analysts said this transition

makes sense because RIM can create a consistent experience going from smartphones to tablets with a single developer community and — given that QNX as a platform brings more advanced features than the classic BlackBerry OS — it can enable more competitive smartphone products. Gartner predicts that Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, driving the platform to be the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013. Gartner has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia. Although this is an honorable performance it is considerably less than what Symbian had achieve in the past underlying the upward battle that Nokia has to face. Gartner analysts said new device types will widen ecosystems. “The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created. This will, by and

large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “Consumers who already own an open OS communications device will be drawn to media tablets and more often than not, to media tablets that share the same OS as their smartphone,” Milanesi said. “This allows consumers to be able to share the same experience across devices as well as apps, settings or game scores. At the same time, tablet users who don’t own a smartphone could be prompted to adopt one to be able to share the experience they have on their tablets.” * An open OS makes a software developer kit (SDK) available to developers, who can use native application programming interfaces (APIs) to write applications. The OS can be supported by a sole vendor or multiple vendors. It can be, but does not have to be open source. Examples are BlackBerry OS, iOS, Symbian, Android, Windows Phone, Linux, Limo Foundation, WebOS and bada.











Market Share (%)










Market Share (%)





Research In Motion





Market Share (%)










Market Share (%)










Market Share (%)





Other Operating Systems





Market Share (%)





Total Market





April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special





espite the global economic downturn, on the whole, the ICT sector has continued to grow, in large part due to continued growth in emerging markets. Key drivers of growth have been the mobile sector and mobile data services, including digital mobile

30 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Operators and service providers in mature markets are adapting their business models to respond to the increased demand for mobile data services user generated video content, thus putting additional pressure on mobile operators to offer high speed any-time, any-where services. In general, ICT markets around the world are becoming more competitive, including international gateway services, wireless local loop services, and the 3G market. Fixed line services, however, continues to lag behind other ICT sectors in terms of its competitiveness. Nevertheless, there has been an increase in the percentage of countries that have opened their fixed line markets to competition, although the number of fixed lines per 100 habitants has remained relatively flat over the past 10 years. This stands in contrast to the exponential growth in the number of mobile cellular telephone subscriptions per 100 habitants over the past 10 years and the continued growth of mobile broadband services. While the average penetration level of mobile broadband services was 5.4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in developing countries, it is 10 times higher in the developed world, at 51.1 per 100 inhabitants. The ongoing deployment of higher speed

3G mobile broadband networks such as WIMAX and more recently HSPA+ and LTE systems will certainly contribute to greater levels of mobile broadband services uptake worldwide. Regulatory measures taken in selected countries such as spectrum refarming and the licensing of 3G services, will also contribute to accelerating the growth of mobile broadband penetration. These regulatory measures have been complemented at the industry level by a move towards developing next generation 4G systems (IMT Advanced). Developing countries continue to lag behind when it comes to fixed (wired) broadband where the limited number of fixed telephone lines constrains the deployment of broadband access via xDSL. Even though subscriptions are increasing, a penetration rate of less than 1 per cent in Africa for example illustrates the challenges that persist in increasing access to high-speed, high-capacity Internet access in the region. The wide disparity between developed and developing countries in broadband penetration levels and rates of Internet access illustrates the

content and applications. Although mature mobile markets are reaching saturation, wireless subscriptions continue to increase in developing countries. Moreover, operators and service providers in mature markets are adapting their business models to respond to the increased demand for mobile data services. The digital generation will likely use to a greater extent their smart phones and new mobile devices, such as gaming consoles and tablets to access the Internet, social networks and online April 2011 â– DOSSIER COMEX Special


ICT TRENDS reform, major efforts were and still are required from policy makers and regulators to keep abreast of the changes occurring in the markets and to build understanding, knowledge, and expertise in order to ensure effective market regulation.

need to ensure developing countries are not excluded from the digital information society. In terms of the affordability of ICTs, people in developed countries still spend relatively less of their income (1.5 per cent) on ICT services

The fast pace of economic and technological change affecting the sector over the last decade prompted governments to react by launching far-reaching reforms to restructure the sector compared to people in developing countries (17.5 per cent). The most striking variations in relative prices are found in the broadband market, where a regional comparison of prices for fixed broadband services highlights a striking disparity, particularly between Africa and the other regions. One notable trend relates to how ICTs have transformed how 32 DOSSIER COMEX Special â– April 2011

people communicate. Life in the “global village� is characterized by ubiquitous access and alwayson connectivity. Moreover, mobile applications, including webbased services, have significantly contributed to changing the way that users experience being online. Besides their commercial uses, m-applications (e.g., m-banking) can have a far reaching impact on the ability of the rural and poorer populations in developing countries to participate in the economy. Only a handful of privatizations were in the pipeline in 2010. Privatization processes took place or are still unfolding in Zambia, Comoros and Benin. Privatization activity has slowed over the past few years, especially following the economic downturn, as there are fewer interested investors and reduced investment funds available. Today, the incumbent operators in 126 countries are partly or fully in the hands of private sector owners. The fast pace of economic and technological change affecting the sector over the last decade prompted governments to react by launching far-reaching reforms to restructure the sector. Sector reform happened in different phases and took many paths and varied forms, depending on the national political, social and economic circumstances and public policy. Throughout the phases of

Establishing a separate telecommunication/ICT regulator was one of the main building blocks of the sector reform process launched more than fifteen years ago. By the end of 2010, separate regulators were established in more than 80 per cent of countries across the globe, totalling 158 regulators worldwide, up from 106 a decade ago. While the main trend in most regions was to establish a sectorspecific regulator, some countries have moved towards expanding the mandate of the regulator to include one or more of other sectors such as posts, information technology, broadcasting content, and spectrum management. Several countries in the Americas, Europe and Africa regions have established multi-sector agencies, either when sector reforms were initiated or later in the reform process, after reaching a certain level of maturity of their markets. In addition to performing traditional functions such as dealing with interconnection issues and managing universal access programs, telecommunication/ICT regulators in several jurisdictions are now responsible for carrying on regulation beyond those traditional core activities. Some ICT/telecommunication regulators have jurisdiction over broadcasting content, Internet content, cybersecurity and some are also involved in matters dealing with climate change. ICT/telecommunication regulators have also become increasingly involved with dispute resolution within the sector. The number of countries having established a

regulatory framework for dispute resolution nearly doubled in five years, from 77 in 2005 to 140 in 2010. Interestingly, however, these frameworks often involve alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms such as arbitration, mediation and expert determination. ADR mechanisms are used in more than 55 per cent of countries

worldwide as these mechanisms provide faster and less-costly redress and feature less involvement from the regulator. Perhaps the most dominant policy and regulatory issue at present concerns the promotion of broadband access. At least 70 governments have adopted a national policy, strategy or

plan to promote broadband. Several developed countries have done so as part of their economic recovery plans to ensure the deployment of these high cost networks and to stimulate employment. Others have done so as part of their broader strategy to develop the information society and to extend universal access to ICTs. One-fifth of ITU Member States have included broadband as part of universal access policy. Promoting infrastructure sharing, open access and spectrum refarming (in-band migration) are some of the innovative regulatory tools being used by telecommunication/ ICT regulators to spur network development and extend access to ICTs. With regard to open access of the incumbent’s local loop, unbundling is a requirement in 60 per cent of countries worldwide. ............................................................. Source: ITU

34 DOSSIER COMEX Special â– April 2011



Currently GULFCYBERTECH is one of the most competent and experienced companies in Oman in providing professional web designing services and web based solutions. It takes pride in being recognized as the “Best Web Design Company” at Oman Web Awards in 2010. This event is annually held under the auspices of Information Technology Authority (ITA) to recognise excellence in web designing and development. Speaking on the current state of affairs, Al Qadri said, “Today organizations are not only looking for building a simple website or having a web presence. They are seeking professional and reliable business solutions to support their business models using the immense power of web. Compared to the past, what we are noticing is enhanced customer awareness, preferences and most importantly business needs.” GULFCYBERTECH has been able to cater to this surge in demand for

THE E-WAY TO DEVELOPMENT E xpansion of connectivity and growing awareness of internet are leading to the better use of internet in Oman for the growth of business and industry and improvement of governance and life.

Mohammed A. Malik Al Qadri, Chief Executive of GULFCYBERTECH E-Solutions is excited about this new trend. “With the improved ICT infrastructure and connectivity, the number of internet users, websites and the general awareness are continuously on the rise, thanks to 36 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Online services such as visa applications, job applications, e-tendering, e-banking and online payment of utility bills are a few examples of how Oman is transforming to become a truly digital and knowledge based society.

professional and reliable services and solutions. “We have got customers across all segments from small and medium companies to big corporate houses,” noted Al Qadri. The company’s clients also include Ministries, Government and nongovernment organisations and some international organizations.

There is surely a better awareness in the society on the potential of internet which continues to increase notes Al Qadri who founded the company in 2003, recognizing the future potential of this sector.

Services Al Qadri explained in detail the services provided by GULFCYBERTECH. “We create result oriented top notch websites and e-business solutions of global

the government’s e-Oman strategy.

standards using cutting edge technologies,” he said. The company has the expertise to design and deliver timely, simple websites to sophisticated web based application or web integration. Services offered include reliable web hosting solutions, online payment solutions, shopping cart solutions, database driven solutions and Search Engine Optimization. The company also provides Cloud Computing Solutions, and SMS and E-Marketing solutions including Social Media Networking.

“Our mission is to transform our client’s business aspiration into a successful online reality”

It provides new services and solutions to cater to changing needs. “In tune with changes in business environment, customer preference and attitudes, we are committed as ever to deliver the best value to our clients. We always utilize latest technologies that are available and always aim to deliver web solutions and services that meet international standards and trends,” said Al Qadri. “Today anyone can make a simple webpage but when it comes to providing sophisticated and professional website or web based solution, what counts is the knowledge, capacity and experience and that is our value proposition to our valued prospective clients,” he noted. Performance in 2010 Commenting on the performance of the industry last year, Al Qadri said 2010 was definitely a good year. “Though some of the sectors cut their budgets, spending by Government sector and big corporate houses boosted growth in our sector,” he said. Competition has increased in the sector with the entry of new players. According to Al Qadri, GULFCYBERTECH’S marketing strategy is based on differentiating itself from its competitors on the quality of its services and ensuring that the company always delivers the best value to its clients.

Mohammed A. Malik Al Qadri, Chief Executive of GULFCYBERTECH E-Solutions

“Our workforce is competent to successfully execute challenging projects. We ensure that we are at pace with the latest technologies and aim to provide the solutions that meet international standards and trends,” he added. Future plans GULFCYBERTECH has ambitious growth plans to play a bigger role in the web solutions sector and be recognized as the partner of first choice for organizations who are wishing to have a professional web solutions provider as part of their e-strategies. We aim to provide the best solutions that are available to our clients which meets international standards and latest trends. “We will be revamping our website this year with provision of some online services and also plan to launch two portals this year to serve various service sectors and the community at large. This is considering the increase in the number of online users, the

enhancement in the infrastructure and connectivity and as the government’s aggressive e-strategy moves into the next phases,” he added. The overall increase in the level of maturity and awareness in the society is absolutely on the rise. The company is all set to take its excellence to a higher level, grow further and win more accolades. Our mission is to transform our client’s business aspiration into a successful online reality,” Al Qadri said. “In providing professional and high quality web solutions, we believe we are playing our role in a small way in supporting His Majesty‘s vision of transforming Oman into a sustainable knowledgebased society,” he said. He praised the role of ITA as commendable in implementing the government’s e-strategy and utilizing the Information and Communication Technology’s infrastructure for the overall progress of our beloved nation. April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special




38 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

he rates of users joining Facebook (as a percentage of population) over the past year (2010) are higher in the Arab region than in some of the countries with the highest Facebook penetrations in the world, indicating that the use of Facebook and new social media tools are quickly catching on in the region. This is mainly because of the large youth demographic that has shown a great propensity for these tools. Given this large youth population and their affinity for Facebook and other social networking tools, the Arab countries with low Facebook penetration have room for growth in these platforms and their associated applications. The UAE is the only country where user penetration exceeds the percentage of youth in the country, indicating a more mature penetration of social networking in the country.


penetration rates (e.g., Saudi Arabia and Libya).

The variance in penetration across the Arab region depends on several factors. In countries with very high or very low Facebook penetration, Digital Access Index (DAI) and income seem to be factors in the uptake or adoption of Facebook. For example, the top three Arab countries in terms of Facebook penetration (UAE, Qatar and Bahrain) all have high DAI rankings and high GDP per capita, although Bahrain’s GDP per capita is a bit low compared with other GCC countries. Meanwhile, some of the lowest ranking countries in terms of Facebook penetration (Yemen and Iraq) also have very low GDP per capita and DAI rankings. Similarly, countries with high Facebook penetration rates also have high Internet penetration rates, although not all countries with high Internet penetration have high Facebook penetration rates (Saudi Arabia and Oman, for instance) indicating possible social or cultural barriers. And in two countries (Djibouti and Iraq), Facebook penetration is actually higher than Internet penetration, indicating the popularity of mobile access, multiple users of the same Internet account, or the utilization of Internet cafes for those who do not have Internet access in their homes or workplaces. Countries with high Facebook penetration rates also have high Human Development Indices, although not all countries with a high HDI necessarily have high Facebook 40 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

The average percentage of female Facebook users in the Arab region (roughly 30%) is well below the world average of 54%. This is in line with the low levels of political and economic participation, and varying access to healthcare and education in the Arab world, as reflected in the relatively low rankings of the Arab countries in the 2010 Global Gender Gap report. Although there are variations in the percentages of youth in different Arab countries, young Facebook users (between the ages of 15 and 29) consistently dominate across the board in all Arab countries, exceeding the percentage of youth population. This indicates that they are main driving force behind the growing Facebook penetration rate. Internet freedom does not seem to affect Facebook penetration in the Arab region. Some countries with lower scores (i.e., more pervasive filtering) have relatively high Facebook penetration. This could be due to the creativity of the youth population in finding ways to bypass filters and censors. Generally, countries at either end of the Facebook penetration spectrum behave “predictably” when it comes to the possible factors affecting their Facebook uptake (or lack thereof ). The “top performers” mostly have high GDP per capita, high Internet penetration, high HDI and a high DAI (but low Internet Freedom rankings), while the “developing countries,” for the most part, rank poorly in all these areas. Some Arab countries stand out in terms of their Facebook penetration rates. The UAE , Qatar and Bahrain are on par with some of the top countries in the world, and surpass some of them in terms of new Facebook user penetration over the past year, despite having

some of the lowest Internet Freedom rankings in the world. This could be because social media tools do not fall under Internet restrictions in these countries. Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia all stand out, with higher Facebook penetration rates than other Arab countries within the same GDP per capita and DAI brackets, (and rates equal to some of the global “Top 20” within their DAI bracket). Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia are some of the most gender-balanced Arab countries as well, in terms of Facebook penetration. Possible causes for this above-average penetration could be that Lebanon has fewer restrictions on Internet and more freedom of speech than the rest of the Arab world. Jordan and Tunisia, on the other hand, have both taken great strides in advancing their ICT and e-Government strategies (respectively). Tunisia, in fact, is the best performer in the North African region, with a much higher Facebook penetration rate than Egypt, Algeria and Libya, even though they all have similar DAI rates. With regard to Palestine (and Tunisia more recently), Facebook usage tends to rise in times of conflict and unrest, as it can provide an outlet for discussion, communication and protest, especially among youth. Saudi Arabia and Oman both have lower Facebook penetration rates than countries in their same GDP per capita and DAI brackets. Given their relatively high income and Internet penetration compared to other Arab countries with similar Facebook penetration rates, other factors such as social and cultural norms and sensitivities could be holding back further Facebook penetration. ............................................................. * Arab ICT Use Report 2010, Madar Research, Dubai



Dong Wu, General Manager, Middle East for Huawei Enterprise


uawei Technologies Co Ltd, is a leading telecom solutions provider from China. Through continuous customer-centric innovation, we have established end-to-end advantages in Telecom Network Infrastructure, Application & Software, Professional Services and Devices. With comprehensive strengths in wireline, wireless and IP technologies, Huawei has gained a leading position in the All-IP convergence age. Our products and solutions have been deployed in over 100 countries and have served 45 of the world’s top 50 telecom operators, as well as one third of the world’s population. The company is committed to providing innovative and customized products, services and solutions to create long-term value and growth potential for its customers.

42 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Enterprise Business Group The Enterprise Business Group is one of Huawei’s four major, mission-critical business groups. Its service offerings focus on the enterprise infrastructure, enterprise communications, data centers, and industry applications. To support the cloud computing era and innovative new business models, the Enterprise Business Group also provides cloud computing-based data center solutions and some cloud computingbased enterprise applications. The Enterprise Business Group has set up departmental organizations in over 100 countries and regions. By leveraging its years of technical expertise and unmatched R&D capabilities, the Enterprise Business group is well-positioned to grow together with customers and partners for the future cloud computing and ICT convergence era. At COMEX Huawei has announced plans to showcase its ICT based enterprise solutions at COMEX, Oman’s IT and Telecom Exhibition. Taking place from 25-29 April, 2011, the move the company says will help to further secure its presence in the region. Huawei, which last year logged around $2.7 billion in contract sales in the Middle East market - presenting an annual growth rate of 24.8 percent - launched its long awaited Enterprise Business Unit in the region earlier this year. “The Middle East is at the forefront of our global business agenda following the launch of our enterprise business in January and the five day event is an ideal platform to showcase our innovative services and solutions in the sector,” said Dong Wu, General Manager, Middle East for

Huawei Enterprise. According to Wu, Huawei’s Enterprise business forms a core part of the company’s global mission to become the first choice solutions provider in building the ICT infrastructure for the enterprise market. From services including: cloud computing, data centres, IPTV solutions, video conferencing to unified communications, Huawei will offer insights on how businesses can experience an enormous impact through making smart decisions in technology investments. “We are witnessing interesting times where technology enables us to integrate communication services in real-time. From instant messaging (chat), videoconferencing to data sharing via online networks, unified communications is just part of Huawei’s portfolio of solutions that is making a total shift in the way decision-makers operate their business. “As a technology-driven vendor, Huawei has the right level of innovation and expertise to offer organizations across the region a high level of return on investment through adopting innovative services and solutions. This is particularly useful in a region like the Middle East where the ICT infrastructure is developing rapidly as it looks to establish itself as a leading global business hub.” Huawei will also be offering insights to cloud computing on the third day of the event to address how Middle East businesses can best integrate cloud services into their IT infrastructure while highlighting the tangible business benefits within an organization. Huawei Enterprise Business will also focus on delivering end-to-end ICT solutions to the government, transportation, electrical power, finance, oil & gas sector and smart cities.


Ultimate e-solutions Towell-Take Solutions (TTS) team works with transparency and dedication to find solution for their customers. Mohamed Moosa Ibrahim, ED of Towell-take Solutions tells more

Mohamed Moosa Ibrahim, Executive Director, Towell-Take Solutions

Tell us about your products and services. We at TTS have variety of products and services that suits different customers. We have our in-house developed ERP system called TIMICS nXg where we have more than 40 installations in the Sultanate. We also have our Enterprise mobility solutions such as Asset Tracking & Maintenance System (ATMS) and Warehouse Inventory Control System (WICS) both web-based and bilingual. We have partnered with a well-known company that provides Interactive Voice recognition system. What are you USPs to cope with competition? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes:. Too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product or service and forget that it is the customer>s

needs, not their own, that they must satisfy. We at TTS carefully scrutinize what your customers really needs and propose a solution accordingly. Let the client Spend for only what he need: Most vendors are keen on selling the complete product though the client needs only certain module of the solutions. We at towell take solution understand the client requirement and propose a solution that meets his requirement but the at the same time keep the customer educated How do you make your solutions relevant or suit them to market needs? There are two ways that we tackle this issue. First, by constantly visiting our current customers, identifying their pain areas and ultimately

suggesting solutions to them. Second looking into industry trends and technological development to identifying a right solution. Towell-take Solutions has been a trendsetter in niche areas. Elucidate. We have introduced the speech recognition system to Omani market and deployed a system for Oman Census 2010. TTS has rolled out the largest Enterprise mobility installation in the entire sultanate for is prestigious clients like OIFC and ONEIC by partnering itself with INTERMEC technologies. In this regard, we are planning to launch our latest product which is called Take Business Cloud it has been recently launched in USA. Your company is known to be an Enterprise Mobility Leader; how did you come to this and how will you retain this leadership position in future? Most of our products are developed around mobility solutions and we pioneered this at very early stages. Utility Meter Reading System introduced the usage of HHC to capture meter reading. With our recently launched ATMS and WICS as a web-based and bilingual, we are approaching a different sort of customers in various industries. The most important methodology that we follow to retain our leadership position is to keep our existing clients 100% happy and satisfied with our solutions and services. Tell us about your teamwork and training of your team members. We at TTS work hand to hand with each other and work as one team in spite of having different department. We complement each other but at the same time work in absolute Synchronization. There are frequent management meeting where we follow-up on our goals and objectives as well as intradepartmental meeting for brainstorming for new ideas. April 2011 â– DOSSIER COMEX Special




CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE It’s all about affordability and quality for end users. The much-talked about VOIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is gaining popularity as it has made international calls very reasonably priced which has transformed the way residential and business communications are being conveyed. VOIP denotes a group of transmission technologies for delivery of voice communications via IP networks such as the Internet, rather than the public switched telephone network (PSTN). When VOIP service was introduced over broadband, Internet users were able to make and receive calls as they would over a regular telephony (PSTN). Due to its affordable pricing, PSTN users now switched to VOIP in increasing numbers. This shift in the 44 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

global telecom market has prompted authorities in various countries to impose restrictions on the use of VOIP simply due to the fact that telecommunication companies that once enjoyed state monopoly, now faced a reduced volume of business. The very service of VOIP, provided by unauthorised cyber cafes, was branded illegal. Oman’s experience Oman is no exception to this global trend. In November 2009, the authorities clamped down on cyber cafes with the help of Royal Oman Police (ROP) to protect the telecom monopoly. Majority of Oman’s international telephone calls were transmitted through VOIP, which was offered by cyber cafes who were

not licensed to provide international telephone services. Omantel discovered that the international traffic was plummeting, though the size of the population remained static. In Oman, VOIP is in demand among the Indian sub-continent expatriates segment mainly, who make the bulk of international calls. It is strongly felt that telecom companies in Oman have to work out ways to cater to customer convenience. “Skype and VOIP are of great interest to expats as they have family overseas. But a policy decision is being taken to limit access to VOIP. Oman has in place quite an advanced telecommunications act. There are many companies who use VOIP but it is subject to regulatory authority’s approval. Companies are doing that for internal communication system,”

comments Charles Schofield, Partner, Trowers and Hamlins. Cheaper alternatives But owing to the simple fact that customers who want to make international calls always look for cheap alternatives, illegal VOIP service providers are mushrooming. The illegal VOIP calls to India, for example, used to range between 25bz to 50bz per minute any time of the day in comparison to the regular and legal calls which ranged anything from 75-99bz (off peak) to 175-275bz (peak). With such a huge price differentiation, callers were willing to let go of voice quality. However, from telecom operator’s standpoint, the reason for blocking VOIP services is quite obvious. The monopoly resulting from country’s telecom revenues flows, generating from calls made to international destinations, is desirable for telecom operators. This situation could be perpetrated only by blocking VOIP services. Though, in the face of popular demands, telephone operators are coming up with alternatives in order to re-strategise. New approach Omantel plans to introduce full-

Market experts are, however, in favour of opening up the competition, allowing for negotiation among all the existing telecom companies, which would bring down the call rates. fledged VOIP services, in compliance with the regular mobile handsets. Reasonable quality of voice, moderate price and convenience will be the three USPs. It will definitely not be a premium service and may be limited to specific international destinations. The aim is to win back the customers, using the illegal VoIP services and that is why VOIP will be launched on the mobile handsets to make it more handy. The pricing will not be exactly as cheap as 25bz per minute because as incumbent telecom operators, they have to pay charges to operators where the calls end, unlike the

cyber cafes, which had no such responsibility. FRiENDi Mobile has a host of products in its portfolio that caters exclusively to the Indian expatriates. With an average of 75bz per minute to India during off-peak hours, FRiENDi Mobile is the closest to match the VOIP calls. Antti Arponen, CEO, FRiENDi Mobile points had pointed out that FRiENDi tied up with IDEA mobile company in Kerala in India and Dialog Telekom in Sri Lanka to provide more benefits to its subscribers. This way, FRiENDi Mobile has been able to bring back many customers from the illegal internet traffic to legal traffic. Perspectives Market experts are, however, in favour of opening up the competition, allowing for negotiation among all the existing telecom companies, which would bring down the call rates. It will be a win-win situation for all stake holders. The companies will gain because the consumers will make use of the regular telecom services and not avail of the VOIP services. The regulator will also enjoy the benefit of not having security issues, which is otherwise burdensome since VoIP calls went through internet

April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special


software that facilitates VOIP calls such as the highly-encrypted SKYPE, does not meet the requirements of legal interception in Oman.

data lines without being supervised. The cost-conscious end-users will obviously be happy ultimately. VOIP as a technology However, VOIP is more than just an illegal call-making facility. It is a technology that directs a voice call through a PC to the end user. With internet speeds becoming faster, transferring an international call via VOIP is usually cost-effective than telephones. Though not proven, many regular legal calls from a mobile handset could be routed through an internet data cable to UK or the US and a consumer may fail to notice it. The voice quality will depend upon the telecom operator’s pricing strategies and the infrastructure and they could use VOIP and pinch the revenue margins. Latest development Though the telecom operators has softened their stances, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) stands firm on its ground reiterating that any software which did not meet the legal requirements of the Sultanate, will not be allowed to operate in the Sultanate. The TRA officials made it clear that the Internet application 46 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Addressing a press conference, which was attended by all stakeholders including Omantel, Nawras and Samatel, Nashiah Saud al Kharusi, TRA Member said, “Since the server is located abroad and the foreign companies enable the beneficiaries to access the basic voice service without having to be licensed in Oman, they evade payment of taxes and royalties due to the Sultanate and fail to provide job opportunities to Omani nationals in Oman.” Voicing security concerns over the illegal VOIPs, she further said, “The provision of such services from abroad undermines the ability to detect the possible associated crimes and their perpetrators since the facilitating infrastructure using VOIP is located outside Oman thus

The TRA officials appealed to telecom service providers to offer VOIP to their customers for reducing illegality, thereby ensuring fair play in the area rendering its pursuit beyond the Omani judicial authority. Examples of this include human trafficking, money laundry, drug trafficking, etc.” However, the entire idea behind

liberalising the telecommunication sector was to provide best possible service to telecom users and do away with the monopoly of one company. Nashia, however, felt the need for providing the cheapest possible and quality ‘voice service’ to the telecom customers within the Sultanate’s legal framework. Mohsin al Hafeedh, Member of TRA said, “New applications for licenses to provide telecommunications services are currently being studied by TRA to further encourage competition among service providers to serve the beneficiaries’ interests. Such measures were taken by TRA with the objective of achieving fair competition to make prices more reasonable and affordable, diversify the range of services offered and maintain quality of service. Benefits were made available to the public through the reduction of prices and the wide range of services offered and their improved quality compared to their standard before liberalising the sector.” The TRA officials appealed to the telecommunication service providers to offer VOIP to their customers for reducing illegality, ensuring fair play in the area. Proposals were also sought from the beneficiaries and the civil society organisations to arrive at the best methods to offer the voice service at reasonable and affordable prices with the legal framework of the Sultanate. The Government’s concern for ensuring cyber safety is evident from the promulgation of Royal Decree No 12/ 2011 or Law on Prevention of Cybercrime which took effect at the beginning of this year. Needless to say that with Sama Telecommunications Company’s (Samatel) entry in the sphere of international services, the TRA is optimistic about the fact that competition in the international services will expand and will not be limited to Omantel and Nawras.



train these companies in order to get them acquainted with the new electronic system at the TRA website. The training courses provided information on how to apply for online registration with TRA, especially for the companies dealing in telecom equipment, as well as applications of telecom equipment approval and other services provided by the TRA in the area of equipment related approval. We plan to promote this system in Comex. In addition, we would use different channels of media in the coming months to propagate our eServices as we intend to rollout more such services. Tell us about the new eServices Earlier this year, TRA started the initial phase of its new e-Services through its website ( • Authorized Telecom Dealers • Telecom Complain • Type Approval [ Radio equipment, Terminal equipment, GSM equipment] The new electronic transaction of telecom equipment approval has been introduced for companies that deal with telecom equipment. TRA also organized a series of workshops and training courses to

Can you give us more details on the services provided through the new system? TRA will provide 21 kinds of eServices for companies dealing in telecom equipment and systems in order to facilitate the transaction procedures to save time and effort. The system has been linked to the National ePayment Gateway and can be accessed via the TRA’s website The new system’s services include list of approved radio, terminal and GSM equipment, list of authorized dealers, telecom complaints and general enquiries.

How does the approved equipment list work? Well, any telecommunication device enters the local market has to have certain health, commercial and quality standards. TRA has a list of approved radio equipment, terminals and GSM devices. Earlier, the comparison process between the imported devices and the approved list was done manually. With the TRA’s new eServices system we can say goodbye to the paperwork. The comparison has been automated to save time and effort. Also, the consumers can see all the approved communication devices in Oman. Have you come across devices that don’t meet the desired standards? TRA recently caught a dealer selling around 11 cloned devices (unapproved telecom equipment). The dealer was fined for each of the unapproved devices. These devices were confiscated. We regularly run inspection campaigns in all companies and establishments dealing in the telecom sector, especially the dealers selling telecom equipment in order to ascertain their adherence to the Telecom Act’s regulations and decisions implementing its provisions. How long does it take to respond to any telecom complaint being submitted to the new system? If anyone has a complaint, he/she should take it up with the service provider. The complainant has to address a letter to the provider if the problem doesn’t get resolved. If the problem is not resolved within 15 days of sending the letter, the complainant should complain to TRA. We communicate with both sides (the complainant and the service provider) and resolve the issue in 30 days. April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special






ahwan Projects & Telecoms LLC (BPT) is a unit of the Suhail Bahwan Group Holding Company, one of the largest corporates in Oman. BPT provides Technology and Engineering Services for the development of



VALUE CHAIN Core Sectors such as Telecom and Broadcast, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Power, Water, and Defense. The company enjoys strong links with both the Private and Public sectors. Operating over three decades in country, the Company can be categorized into four Strategic Business Units, of which, one of them is the Telecommunications Division, executing large and complex turnkey telecom projects to provide end-toend solutions. It enables customers to 48 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

effectively plan, deploy and operate integrated telecom systems, supplying a comprehensive range of equipment for wired and wireless networks. The Telecommunication division itself has two different sections; Outside Plant Projects The Outside Plant Projects Department deals with outside plants, which are involved in laying several hundred kilometers of copper and fiber optic cables for the telecom operators, Omantel and Nawras. BPT

is the main contractor for Omantel’s copper and fiber optic new network expansions and maintenance projects. It is also associated with Nawras for the Fiber Optic Rollout and is executing several major telecom projects. Prestigious clients like Royal Court of Affairs and Ministry of Defense, who need their own network are also provided service by this section. Special Telecom Projects The Special Telecom Projects, which

SPECIAL TELECOM PROJECTS IN DIVERSIFIED FIELDS OF ACTIVITY • Supply and installation of a network of 7000 Intelligent Card Payphones for Omantel • Complete EPC for Telecommunications System for PDO Harweel, Qarn Alam, Nimr & Fahud Oil fields • Complete EPC Telecom System for British Petroleum Kazzam-Makarem EWT Project. • Design, supply and commissioning of 100 KW Medium Transmission Stations at Haima & Salalah for Ministry of Information • Design and supply of Satellite Ground Station Segment that provides VSAT Services to interior areas and remote oil fields • Design, supply and installation of VOR/DME Stations for aircraft navigational aids for Director General of Civil Aviation • HF & VHF Tactical Radios for Military and Para-military forces OUTSIDE PLANT PROJECTS • Executed several projects of hundreds of kilometers of Fiber Optic deployment in most of the regions of the Sultanate for Nawras. • Preferred contractor for Royal Court Affairs and Ministry of Defense for the design, supply. installation, integration, testing and commissioning of telecommunication network in the various Royal Camps in Oman • Lowest bidder for Supply, Installation, Integration, Testing & Commissioning of Backbone Fiber Optic Cable (FOC) Network, Outside Plant Network Expansion & Maintenance of Local Network in the Sultanate of Oman for the 2011 tender of Omantel. • Design, Supply, Installation, Integration, Testing and Commissioning of Fiber Optic Cable 64F from Fahud – Bahja (Haima) (400 kms) in PDO concession area for Omantel. • Installed and commissioned thousands of kilometers of both Copper and Fiber Optic networks for Omantel. Also main contractor for Network Maintenance

is another section of the Telecommunications division, undertakes diversified turnkey projects. Extensively for Oil and Gas industry, this department undertakes Design, Engineering, Procurement, Installation & Commissioning involving Fiber, Multiplexors, Microwave Links, SCADA, Data Networks, TETRA radio etc. before testing, commissioning and providing the System Integration to make the complete network run. Also into radio communications and broadcasting projects, BPT is currently setting up a Medium Wave Transmitter Project for Ministry of Information in Buraimi which is a large project well underway, expecting completion by this year. As part of its VSATs and satellites projects, BPT has set up RF segment of Earth Station in Al Amerat for Omantel. Its circle of clients includes PDO, Galfar, BEC, Worley Parsons, Al Hassan Group of Companies, The Dodsal Group, Oxy, BP and many other prestigious names in the private sector, locally and globally, apart from Ministries like MoD, MoI, Sultan Special Force and Government agencies. A very large payphone project, involving setting up of 7000 booths, has been implemented for Omantel. As yet another diversified and progressive step, BPT is contemplating on venturing into smsbased applications for car parking or for informing airlines passengers. BPT has a host of principals From Europe, USA, the Far East and other countries. In 2010, BPT has entered the Security Systems market. Starting modestly with PA Systems and CCTV surveillance, the company currently is growing well in this segment as there is constant demand for office and industrial security in the market, which includes intruder detection and access control systems. Survey Equipment and Office Automation The company represents products of

Leica, a company from Switzerland, which manufactures Total Stations, and GPS and many other survey based equipment, the customers being construction companies, Ministry of Housing and others. BPT is exclusive agent for sale of Garmin range of Navigation systems in Oman. In Office Automation, BPT is the exclusive agent for Toshiba for its Photocopiers, Multi Function Products and Fax machines. The company is also a selling agent for NEC EPABX systems. “These are institutional sales. Some of them get converted into projects. If the company bags a tender worth 350 copier machines from Ministry of Education , it inevitably becomes a project. BPT team takes them to various schools in the interiors all around Oman. The company has been winning the MoE tender for Toshiba machines for three consecutive years and the officials are positive about it this year too,” says, Amitesh Vikram, General Manager, Bahwan Projects & Telecom LLC. Electrical & Mechanical Unit BPT also has an Electrical and Mechanical unit which is the exclusive agent for HBL Batteries from India and Elster water meters in Oman. BPT is looking for expansion in this area.

The going is good for Bahwan Projects & Telecoms. It has grown 100 per cent in last two years in turnover. It is also looking for business with telecom operators, which presents good opportunity. “While we continue with trading activity, we also get into projects, so that we can directly contribute to the infrastructure growth of Oman,” says Amitesh Vikram with lot of reassurance.

Tel.: + 968 24788798/99 Fax: + 968 24797595

April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special





ast year, a massive threat volume of more than 286 million new threats accompanied by several new megatrends in the threat landscape were found according to Symantec Corp.’s Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 16. The report highlights dramatic increases in both the frequency and

50 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011


sophistication of targeted attacks on enterprises; the continued growth of social networking sites as an attack distribution platform; and a change in attackers’ infection tactics, increasingly targeting vulnerabilities in Java to break into traditional computer systems. In addition, the report explores how attackers are exhibiting a notable shift in focus toward mobile devices.

2010: The Year of the Targeted Attack Targeted attacks such as Hydraq and Stuxnet posed a growing threat to enterprises in 2010. To increase the likelihood of successful, undetected infiltration into the enterprise, an increasing number of these targeted attacks leveraged zero-day vulnerabilities to break into computer systems. As one example, Stuxnet

in an average of more than 260,000 identities exposed per breach in 2010, nearly quadruple that of any other cause. Social Networks: A Fertile Ground for Cybercriminals Social network platforms continue to grow in popularity and this popularity has not surprisingly attracted a large volume of malware. One of the primary attack techniques used on social networking sites involved the use of shortened URLs. Under typical, legitimate, circumstances, these abbreviated URLs are used to efficiently share a link in an email or on a web page to an otherwise complicated web address. Last year, attackers posted millions of these shortened links on social networking sites to trick victims into both phishing and malware attacks, dramatically increasing the rate of successful infection.

alone exploited four different zero-day vulnerabilities to attack its targets. In 2010, attackers launched targeted attacks against a diverse collection of publicly traded, multinational corporations and government agencies, as well as a surprising number of smaller companies. In many cases, the attackers researched key victims within each corporation and then used tailored social engineering attacks to gain entry into the victims’ networks. Due to their targeted nature, many of these attacks succeeded even when victim organizations had basic security measures in place. While the high-profile targeted attacks of 2010 attempted to steal intellectual property or cause physical damage, many targeted attacks preyed on individuals for their personal information. For example, the report found that data breaches caused by hacking resulted

The report found that attackers overwhelmingly leveraged the news-feed capabilities provided by popular social networking sites to mass-distribute attacks. In a typical scenario, the attacker logs into a compromised social networking account and posts a shortened link to a malicious website in the victim’s status area. The social networking site then automatically distributes the link to news feeds of the victim’s friends, spreading the link to potentially hundreds or thousands of victims in minutes. In 2010, 65 percent of malicious links in news feeds observed by Symantec used shortened URLs. Of these, 73 percent were clicked 11 times or more, with 33 percent receiving between 11 and 50 clicks. Mobile Threat Landscape Comes Into View The major mobile platforms are finally becoming ubiquitous enough to garner the attention of attackers, and as such, Symantec expects attacks on these platforms

to increase. In 2010, most malware attacks against mobile devices took the form of Trojan Horse programs that pose as legitimate applications. While attackers generated some of this malware from scratch, in many cases, they infected users by inserting malicious logic into existing legitimate applications. The attacker then distributed these tainted applications via public app stores. For example, the authors of the recent Pjapps Trojan employed this approach. While the new security architectures employed in today’s mobile devices are at least as effective as their desktop and server predecessors, attackers can often bypass these protections by attacking inherent vulnerabilities in the mobile platforms’ implementations. Unfortunately, such flaws are relatively commonplace - Symantec documented 163 vulnerabilities during 2010 that could be used by attackers to gain partial or complete control over devices running popular mobile platforms. In the first few months of 2011 attackers have already leveraged these flaws to infect hundreds of thousands of unique devices. According to findings from Mocana, it is no surprise that 47 per cent of organizations do not believe they can adequately manage the risks introduced by mobile devices. And that more than 45% of organizations say security concerns are one of the biggest obstacles to rolling out more smart devices. “Stuxnet and Hydraq, two of the most visible cyber-events of 2010, represented true incidents of cyberwarfare and have fundamentally changed the threat landscape,” said Stephen Trilling, Senior Vice President, Symantec Security Technology and Response. “The nature of the threats has expanded from targeting individual bank accounts to targeting the information and physical infrastructure of nation states.” April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special




Covering an area of over 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, COMEX 2011, the most awaited dynamic and comprehensive IT, telecom and technology show promises to deliver the ultimate platform for business professionals to meet and connect and for consumers to shop. With its theme as “Shift to e” and under the patronage of e.oman, COMEX 2011 is all set to take place at the Oman International Exhibition Centre from 25 – 29 April 2011. A bigger show is expected this year to break another record of receiving more than 75,000 visitors, on the lookout for the best deals on offer. 52 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

For twenty years, COMEX has grown to provide both consumers and business professionals with a gateway to the world’s most empowering digital solutions. The history of COMEX has been recording key milestones in the ICT sector. Last year, COMEX proved to be a big hit with over 120 companies participating and more than 70,000 visitors flocking in from Singapore, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Jordan and Qatar. COMEX has received great response from the industry with CISCO & Microsoft as ICT Lead Sponsors; Omantel, Telecommunications

Regulatory Authority, Technology Resources Network, Toshiba Gulf and Hungarian IT Companies as Lead Sponsors; Ericsson Oman, United Systems, Huawei Tech Investment (Oman) LLC and Jawad Sultan Technologies LLC as Platinum Sponsors; Nawras as a Full Service Provider; Mansoft Qatar, Smart Vision Technical Servies LLC and Modern Digital Waves as Gold Sponsors. Business section COMEX attempts to deliver the ultimate platform for business professionals to meet and connect through the COMEX Business section.

COMEX Business will feature the latest IT solutions in action as well as offer a wide range of opportunities for visitors and delegates to explore innovative solutions and possibilities to boost their business. Serving as an ideal platform for investors, manufacturers, vendors, system integrators and solution providers, COMEX Business will provide an outlook on the regional ICT industry, allowing participants and visitors alike the opportunity to leverage partnerships, discover the latest developments and encourage joint business ventures and cooperation in Oman and the region. COMEX will be enriched with events and special projects of business and government organisations, aiming to create the most comprehensive information platform for the business sector. For the government sector, the focus will be on the ICT initiatives taken to enable efficient and effective delivery of products and services to customers and citizens by digitalizing their life through information technology. Shopper section Enthusiasts after the latest trends in technology, hardware, software, gadgets and consumer electronics will be able to explore new technological horizons at COMEX Shopper and bring home the experience. Every year, COMEX Shopper gathers providers of the world>s biggest brands and offers an excellent opportunity to take home the latest innovations at exceptional prices. This year, COMEX Shopper will feature a line-up of the latest technology gadgets from audio and media players, digital photography, e.books, gaming and peripherals, home entertainment, home networking, IT components and peripherals, mobile phones, PCs, notebooks and tablets, SatNav, TV and display technology, and much more. Newly added features in this year’s

COMEX Show incorporate a new and enhanced media centre with many activities providing information on new technology and entertainment for all visitors. As well, there is a series of workshops planned to run parallel to the exhibition. e.oman vision COMEX embodies the inspirational vision of e.oman to transform the Sultanate of Oman into a sustainable knowledge society by leveraging Information and Communication Technologies to enhance government services, enrich businesses and empower individuals. Looking to the future, COMEX will continue to evolve and innovate, keeping pace with the ever-changing digital world whilst broadening its international horizons to integrate other dynamic markets. COMEX Conference The 2nd COMEX 2011 Conference will be organised to provide participating delegates with an opportunity to learn and explore how the latest ICT trends and strategies can impact their existing and new business models and help their organisations to improve efficiency and achieve the bottom line. To be held on the 26th and 27th of April respectively, at the Golden Tulip Hotel Seeb, the conference will bring delegates up close and personal with people and products that will shape the future

of information and communication technology. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Mobility as a driving force towards business transformation’.The conference will highlight various topics related to mobility including the latest mobile/ wireless technologies and trends, and discuss how they will impact Oman businesses. The conference will also focus on ‘Technologies & Strategies for SMEs’ and will include a focus session for small and medium enterprises aiming at providing the latest technological solutions, practical advice and strategies that will bring more benefit and value to SMEs. This year’s attendees at the conference, from both public and private sectors, are expected to touch more than 250 visitors. An unparalleled opportunity to showcase the latest technologies all under one roof, renowned international companies including CISCO Systems International, ORACLE and Intel have confirmed their participation for the first time at the COMEX Conference as Main Sponsors, joined by Microsoft also a Main Sponsor and participating at COMEX for the second year. Knowledge Oasis Muscat has confirmed its participation as Oman’s Technology Park and HUAWEI as Conference Silver Sponsor. Dossier is the official B2B publication of the Comex event April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special




A MULTI-MEDIA HUB Samsung has launched the next generation Samsung Galaxy Tab, which has a bigger screen and more processing power than the original, along with a new ultra slim Samsung Galaxy S II. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is designed as a multi-media hub for keen gamers, e-book readers and social media fans, and has a 10.1-inch screen, dual surround-sound speakers, and both front- and rear-facing cameras. The tablet is running Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processors and is based on the latest Google Android Honeycomb platform. The tablet measures in at 1.1cm think, weighs 595g and has a textured plastic back, designed to make it easier to hold. The new Tab has an 8MP camera on the back and a 2MP one on the front, HSPA+ 21 cellular networking with no voice calling, Wi-Fi and either 16 or 32GB of storage. The phone is designed around hubs for social networking, reading, games and music. The Galaxy SII has a two-megapixel camera on the front and an eight-megapixel camera on the back. 54 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

FIRST 3D MONITOR IN THE WORLD The recently launched Acer GN245HQ, the first 3D monitor in the world to support the HDMI 3D solution from NVIDIA, is designed especially for gaming enthusiasts, movie lovers and tech freaks. The Acer GN245HQ has Full HD 3D imagery via HDMI 3D or DVI-DL (dual link) connectivity with NVIDIA 3D vision which ultimately enhances the overall user experience with enhanced 3D multimedia output. It has NVIDIA 3D glasses with active shutter 3D technology which is combined with the monitor’s built-in IR emitter. With all these technologies in one product, it gives user to view 3D TV broadcasting with set-top box or by connecting Blu-ray Disc player, 3D camera or 3D games using a HDMI 3D game console. The Acer GN245HQ is a part of Acer’s range of EcoDisplays which are known for its power saving and environment friendly features.


PEARLY HASEE Hasee E450 Series laptops utilize either IMR or metal drawing technology to brighten their A covers with a sense of pearl luster floating beneath the surface, and a variety of popular colors will never get worn away under the protection of the tough surface membrane. Based on the mobile platform Intel Huron River, Hasee E450 Series laptops include the Intel Core processors of the second generation of i3-2310M to the i7-2820QM. The latest technology brings you the best experience of speed. Additionally, DDR3 Memory and e-SATA provide you the faster responsive and transmission speed. Hasee E450 Series adopt 16:9 WXGA with 14 inch LED backlight, which is the best size for you to work at home or outdoor. Hasee E450 Series laptops from China are made available here in Oman by Modern Digital Waves.

It’s been said that the true potential of the iPad will only be unlocked when it becomes a viable content creation tool that can contend with a laptop. Apple adding a HD video camera and a touchscreen editing suite, could go a long way towards fulfilling that destiny. The new iMovie app for iPad 2, a slightly scaled back version of the Mac version allows videos to be shot, trimmed, voiced-over, subtitled, sound-tracked, exported and uploaded in a completely self-contained package. Launching the iMovie app presents you with a completely blank canvas. Anything you want to include in the app has to be recorded, imported or added into the timeline, so it’s essential to have access to the iPad 2’s new video camera from within the application.



With a choice of bright colours and boasting a funky yet expensive looking design, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT3 gets full marks for aesthetics . While at 103.5 x 64.0 x 26.5 mm it’s not the smallest camera, it’s not too bulky either – in fact it feels very nice and weighty in the hand and, thanks to the well-placed buttons, it is easy to operate with gloves on – important in the tough camera market. The camera body, which features rubber padding and reinforced glass, is airtight allowing the camera to be used underwater to 12 meters, without housing. The lens is reinforced by a supplementary damper to adsorb shock and battery and memory card are virtually bomb proof locked into the camera by a robust metal lockable panel.

Samsung Smart TVs line-up combines elegant design with a wide range of smart features that offers viewers the most out of their entertainment experience. They offer an immersive viewing experience with its minimal aesthetics and 3D impact, as well as a new world of web-connected TV entertainment. Samsung’s “Smart Hub” is the interface to all Samsung’s Smart features, that include: Samsung Apps-the world’s first HDTV-based application store, offering hundreds of apps globally that help people connect to their various passions, whether in sports, entertainment, information, games or social networking. A smart feature unique to Samsung SMART TVs, makes it easy to access and search for desired content on the web and other DLNA connected devices, networked PC and mobile devices, and Internet and video-on-demand services. The Social TV makes it easy to chat with friends and family in real-time while watching the same TV content, thanks to integration with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Talks.

April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special




Partners in progress Apart from being an integral part of Zubair Corporation, OCS Infotech enjoys partnership with reputed ICT vendors across the globe


subsidiary and part of the ICT division of Zubair Corporation, Oman Computer Services (OCS) Infotech was established in 1981 as an IT trading company and evolved into a leading end to end information technology and telecommunication Solution Provider.

Rogeh Hajj, Chief Information Officer & Head of ICT Division, The Zubair Corporation

Project management:A structured review process and timely completion of projects help to meet customer expectations.

Technology Solutions Group (TSG): It offers a range of services from consulting, implementation to support in the following areas:

Software solutions offerings: OCS delivers solutions in ERP, Customer Relationship Management and Electronic Document Management Systems across many industry segments including government and public enterprises.

• Storage solutions • Datacenter – a broad range of project experience specializing in design and implementation of datacenters, etc. • Disaster recovery and business continuity plan • Networking and security – offering infrastructures solutions. • Outsourcing • Managed services – Effective support services for cost reductions and competitive advantage.

Support & Services: This consists of facilities management & support services, datacenter infrastructure implementation and management, application development and maintenance, disaster recovery services.

56 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

A team of professionals with international qualifications and industry exposure, bring in extensive knowledge and latest technical knowhow. Committed to the country’s Omanisation initiatives and leadership development, OCS puts the promising local talent into the front-end. Its Offshore Development Centre in Pune, India is also helping to develop a talent pool and deliver solutions to OCS’ targeted market. With wide adoption of the latest technology development platforms globally, OCS has set up a dedicated Center of Excellence in India comprising software and product engineers, architects, and business analysts, who design and execute projects and service requests from across the globe.

“We are focusing on IT solutions consultancies and service delivery; our partners represent leading brands like SUN, Dell, Cisco, NetApp, Ericsson,Tandberg, Oracle, Microsoft, Capgemini and others,” informs Rogeh Hajj, Chief Information Officer and Head of ICT Division-The Zubair Corporation. SERVICES PORTFOLIO The focus of the Division lies on:

economic, social and cultural development of Oman, OCS’ strength lies in its human capital.

TEAM Playing an important role in the

Like others in the market, the challenge for OCS lies in the adoption and deployment of a technology that is perpetually evolving. The key for success is to continuously innovate to survive competition, says Hajj. EXPANSION At present Zubair ICT Division is expanding its portfolio of professional and technology services and is focusing on broadband and telecom sector. The long term plan would be to expand its base in the region. OCS’ client reference is rich with large organizations and small and medium enterprises, Government and Public sector.

Contact: 24 527 850 Website:


Steady Growth Omantel has also introduced fiber optics to the home (FTTH) technology to provide faster Internet speeds for our customers

network provides a range of unique services to its customers, including mobile broadband Internet, video calls, interactive games and mobile TV. Omantel has also introducedfiber optics to the home (FTTH) technology to provide faster Internet speeds for our customers. FTTH supports the provisioning of several services such as watching television through the Internet protocol (IPTV), video on demand, and e-learning. Over the years, Omantel has invested in building a landing station for international submarine cables. Due to its unique geographical location, the Sultanate of Oman has become a regional hub with the ability to host international content locally to ensure faster and higher quality provision of Internet services. Omantel currently has links to global cable networks spanning a total of 105,300 kilometers – which equates to travelling nearly three times around the Equator. COMEX 2011 presents the perfect forum for Omantel to showcase a wide variety of exciting offers and new products at both its Shopper and Corporate stands. Omantel will introduce new smart phones.

Dr Amer Al Rawas, CEO, Omantel


man Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the pioneer provider of integrated telecommunications services in the Sultanate of Oman offers fixed, mobile and Internet services to its customers, including individuals, government institutions and corporate subscribers.

In February 2010 the company formally announced the coming together of the companies (Omantel & Oman Mobile) with a new enhanced brand for both businesses and the launch of a new “Together” tagline

and integrated website – www. The coming together of Omantel and Oman Mobile has been a logical, planned and natural evolutionary process. It is a process that has always had at its heart improved customer service and product delivery. During 2010 Omantel also experienced steady growth in the number of mobile phone customers, with the total exceeding 2.2 million. Omantel has an extensive 3.5G network with more than 840 stations spread all over the Sultanate. This

Omantel’s presence at COMEX 2011 is particularly exciting because the company will introduce its Business identity at the major exhibition for the first time. The company was established by virtue of Royal Decree 43/1980 under the name the General Telecommunications Organization (GTO) in 1980. GTO was converted into a fully-owned company by the Government on 1st August 1999. It become a joint stock company in 2005, and was officially listed in the Muscat Securities Market on 28th July 2005. The government currently owns 70% of Omantel shares, while other individuals and private sector investors own the remaining 30 per cent.0000 April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special




Home Security first As the demand soars for safety and security, Majees offers security solutions specifically designed for the residential sector across the Sultanate

ajees is a reputed turnkey solution provider in the field of security systems and has executed large industrial and residential projects across the Sultanate.


security at residences.

Majees has the technical expertise to design customer specific solutions incorporating world-class products and technologies in order to provide reliabity, scalability and quality.

Audio / Video Entry Systems

Majees’s residential security solutions are tried and tested in Oman with various villas and apartments already being equipped with our products and services.

Majees’s audio and video door phones are installed at various apartment complexes and villas in Oman providing comprehensive security to residential clients.

Gate Automation

CCTV Systems

Majees provides comprehensive Gate Automation solutions for enhanced

Majees provides reliable video surveillance systems for residences

58 DOSSIER COMEX Special ■ April 2011

Majees’s solutions incorporate latest technologies using electronic remote control of sliding gates and swing gates and are designed to operate in stringent weather conditions.

using latest technologies incorporating high quality cameras with impeccable clarity. Majees’s residential CCTV solutions are designed to provide comprehensive security both for indoor and outdoor purposes. Burglar Alarm Systems

Majees provides high quality solutions in the area of both Audio & Video entry systems.

Majees provides high quality burglar alarm systems to protect residences from thefts and intrusions. Majees’s solutions are designed based on specific requirements and are highly reliable incorporating the latest technologies.

Contact: 2459 7226/7/8


Popular Choice The ICT market in Oman is growing and Digital Waves is trying to provide the best solutions in the market

Hilal Al-Mamari, Chairman, Qais Al-Mamari, Executive Director, Modern Digital Waves


hundred per cent Omani entity, Digital Waves made its beginning in 2007 by providing affordable IT solutions to small, medium and big companies, e-government and government sectors. The solutions involved web-based applications, such as, ERP and CRM systems, which enabled companies to increase their productivity. Opportunities lay in the real estate sector also. Many companies asked for developing website for them. Also integrate solutions on client management and finance into their systems. All the customers’ requirements were customized. ERP was never a ready-made solution; it was served module wise, according to requirements. The efforts of the team, its professionalism and dedication, has

enabled Digital Waves to be registered as “First Class Company” in Oman. “Since 2007, we are working hard to create a customer base satisfied with the services that we provide. In 2009 we were able to sign a number of agreements to provide a new type of services and a new level of solutions that can be tailored to the various institutions, companies and government institutions,” says Qais Saif Al-Mamari, Executive Director, Digital Waves. With a wider customer base, Digital Waves is offering solutions to government agencies in UAE and Saudi Arabia and reaching out to Qatar also. The company has two branches in Qurum and Seeb. As Digital Waves went up the growth trajectory, its services portfolio also expanded. Solutions for graphic designs, business intelligence, software development, and security solutions like CCTV Cameras and

Biometrics in partnership with Mezory, USA are also being offered. Digital Waves is the key seller for the hardware parts for laptops and panel pcs, from Hasee, China. Managing Documents For archiving documents, Digital Waves has its own document management system called Dokmee into three versions to better suit every company’s need. The solutions offered are: Dokmee Enterprise (Multi-Users), Dokmee Professional (Multi-Users) and Dokmee Home (Single-User). The company’s document system is already tested and works in many companies around the world. Dubai Police and KSA companies are also using this solution. Digital Waves brings this solution to Oman in partnership with a company in Paris. The company takes pride in its Omani team who have made Dokmee software available in Arabic. The powerful and accurate Dokmee OCR engine to convert image to text from TIFF to PDF or vice versa has made it a popular choice in the region. The ICT market in Oman is growing and under the chairmanship of Hilal Nasser Al Mamari, Digital Waves is going places and trying to provide the best solutions in the market. He has always guided the company with his expertise, knowledge and wisdom and liberal views and placed it on a wider platform. Digital Waves is participating proactively in COMEX as Gold Sponsorship, announcing their new solutions and partners. Its name is also recommended for providing solutions for e-Governance summit this year.One of the core strengths of Digital Waves is its team, who has earned goodwill of customers by delivering customised solutions according to customer requirement. Contact: 93291247 Website: April 2011 ■ DOSSIER COMEX Special




Ensuring total security Faraas trading company offers the latest technology security and monitoring and communication systems and has customized solutions to meet the security needs of customers, says manager of the company Velayudhan Parayil. The digital video recorder available with us uses Smac-M, a special proprietary technology which helps to transmit video signals at a very high speed. While the other technologies require very high bandwidth to transmit, Smac-M needs only very low bandwidth and so speed is high. We have also intelligent security systems that are fully software controlled.

Abdul Rahman Siddiq Al Saigh, Managing Director, Faraas Trading Company

Could you give a brief profile of your company and what are the main products and services you provide? We are the electronics division of Faraas Trading Company founded in 1985 by Abdul Rahman Siddique. We are presently one of the main providers of security and communications systems in the Sultanate. We sell state-of-the-art monitoring and security systems including internet connected closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) and card readers, communication systems and public address systems which use the latest technology. We have products of all leading companies in the world. We have special skills in the installation and maintenance of security and monitoring systems. What are your strengths and advantages vis-Ă -vis your 60 DOSSIER COMEX Special â–  April 2011

Velayudhan Parayil, Manager, Faraas Trading Company

competitors? Our strengths lie in two areas mainly. We sell systems which use the latest technology and we can also individually design security and monitoring systems to cater to the needs of our clients. We give equal importance to after sales service also. Our technicians who are trained in the latest technology deliver prompt service all over Oman. The customer is always welcome to our office for their all needs. Could you please tell about the latest security gadgets available with you? One of the latest technology driven products available with us is the TeleEye CCTV with remote monitoring feature. It can be connected to the internet through ADSL which will enable users to view happenings in remote places.

The DISPPA professional address system which can be connected to six different sources and can provide up to six channels is another exclusive item which we market. DSPPA is one of the leading manufactures of professional public address equipment. How is the market for security systems in Oman and who are your main clients? Oman has a good market in security systems and our clients include big corporate, small companies and individuals. Our corporate clients include Al Fair, Sur International Hotels, Holiday Inn hotel group and Intercontinental Hotels. Many individuals also seek our service for their home security needs. What was the impact of recession on your business? Recession did not have any impact on our business and in fact we did very good business in 2009. People cannot compromise on security even in times of recession.

GSM:99351731, Fax:24831756 Website: