Dec 15 2010
|more articles from|
Economic cities will transform the country
He was speaking to an audience of senior managers and experts from the telecommunications and information technology industries at the two-day Saudi Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategic Conference, which concluded at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events Tuesday.
"These cities are being called smart because of the wealth of electronic services they will have in one single place. Having the right infrastructure in place and a wealth of services, the economic cities will ultimately change the way people live, work, learn and play," he said.
He also talked about the introduction of '7-24-60' which he defined as, "programming services in such a way that they are available to the customer 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be available within 60 minutes. This will be the front desk of governmental services in economic cities. This was part of the mandate issued by the royal decree. We plan to implement this in a phased way," he added.
Hamidaddin told the attendees about Cadre, an HR service that will be dedicated to "creating a globally competitive Saudi workforce" for the economic cities. Cadre will help to close the gap between the demand and supply of Saudi talent. The target here is for 300,000 globally employable Saudis to be hired locally by 2025.
With regard to the King Abdullah Economic City, he said, "By the end of 2011, we expect the port at the King Abdullah Economic City to be operational. The city will start with light industries. Gradually we expect to see employment increase and residents moving into the city."
Elias Bayeh, Vice President for the Gartner Executive Program, opened the session on ICT Environments. As part of his presentation on "Operating in a new ICT landscape", he stated that the new generation prefer instant messaging to face-to-face communication, have a different work culture, work fewer hours and value work which is balanced by a high quality of life.
He also outlined Gartner's prediction of what to expect from communication technology and ICT drivers and trends in the next five years.
He elaborated on a new Pattern-Based Strategy as opposed to one focused on "seek and act".
He said augmented reality provides relevant digital information superimposed on a person's view of the real world. By knowing biometrics and patterns, they will personalize the customer experience.
At the session on emerging communication capabilities and their relevance for today's business users, Sulaiman Al-Zahrani, the Chief Commercial Officer from Etihad Atheeb -Go telecom company said, "There are no boundaries or obstacles. For consumers, the market is really open. Cloud computing is increasing in Saudi Arabia which means now you can share environment software with your customers. This cloud computing will be more beneficial for the new generation to get the best out of their businesses. So far, SR20 billion has been paid for the infrastructure of the Internet to serve consumers in a relevant way." "The Saudi Arabian market is growing and we will see tremendous growth in 2011 as entrepreneurs increasingly add branches to their businesses. They will require far more advanced and efficient services and we are focusing on delivering their needs," said Mohammed Al-Jasser, General Manager of Key Account Sales, STC.
Maged El-Menshawy, regional IT manager, Schlumberger, said, "There is a huge improvement in Saudi Arabia but business cannot operate without a strong enterprise and ICT support system. They are very likely to face the issue of service delivery."
Dr. Jarallah Saleh Al-Ghamdi, consultant general supervisor for IT in the Ministry of Education, Riyadh, said, "E-skills are as important as [writing] skills. Everybody should be equipped with these skills. The demand for IT products and services is expected to grow by nearly 75 percent over the next four years. This demand is expected to create approximately 54,000 new IT jobs in the Kingdom, including for project managers and consultants. Soft skills are also crucial for an IT professional."
He said Saudi Arabia is the largest IT market in the Middle East. IT spending was over SR22 billion in 2009, and is expected to top SR37 billion by 2013.
"Educational institutions should give more attention to soft skills development, develop a sustainable pool of IT talent and bridge gaps in the IT job market. Saudi Arabia can rely on several sources of supply and provide training opportunities for new graduates." There should also be attention paid to English language skills, he said.
Abdullah Taha, ICT investment development director of SAGIA, said that there is a lack of people who have the ability to lead and take decisions which is important if the IT generation is going to meet business challenges.
At a session on the importance of Green ICT, Ziad Mortaja, managing director of HP, said, "We definitely believe there are certain factors forcing industries, companies and government departments to take environmental elements into consideration whenever they take decisions".
He said that 80 percent of HP customers on a global basis consider environmental issues before they take decisions. "That is definitely a good sign," he added.
He said that in Saudi Arabia, businesses are not yet challenged by the cost of energy.
However, he added, "It is a matter of time with the economic development of the country that these issues will be put on the table of the customers. We need to see which industries are really contributing most to the carbon emission problem, and to see what role ICT can play in potently reducing the size and effect of that problem."
Mortaja concluded the two-day conference saying, "The reality is that the ICT industry has the credibility and potential to deal with and solve problems and this will help ensure the further development of the nation."
© Copyright Zawya. All Rights Reserved.