Egypt

“The Development of the E-content Happened as a Means to an End”

What e-content means in Egypt:

A:The definition of content continues to take on breadth and depth, with organizations realizing that it isn’t just what was formerly generated as traditional content.The e-content is all forms of digital information that’s used for multiple purposes in different fields and areas.

What is the current status of e-content in your country, including national e-content development across all the sectors of the industry?

The e-content sector in Egypt encompasses companies and organizations, which create electronic/digital data, manage and distribute electronic/digital data and develop software application for the management and distribution of electronic/digital data.

Narrowly defined, the e-content sector in Egypt constitutes:

Business e-content: Business e-content encompasses data creation and data management services used for business processes. Organizations operating in this sector might be creators in areas such as research and publishing or companies that provide data management services for corporations in areas such as knowledge management and marketing.

Educational and Training e-content: Educational and training e-content includes data creation and compile besides data management services for educational purposes. Organizations operating in this sector might be data creators in areas such as: distance learning and computer based training material.

Entertainment e-content: Entertainment e-content covers data creation and data management services for entertainment purposes. Organizations operating in this sector might be data creators in multimedia areas or companies that provide data management services for the consumers and corporate markets in entertainment areas.

E-content can be produced in different forms as it can be either static, variable or documentary.
The e-content media constitute a wide variety of digital devices like all forms and vehicles of electronic media, CDs, personal computers, Internet and video tapes.

What differentiates the e-content from the traditional content is its unique ability to be personalized, customized and offer maximum convenience and accessibility to users. In this sense, e-content must be highly accessible (either to a selected group of users or to the entire public), customizable and searchable.

E-content Operates on Different Levels:

On the Individual Level: Individual users are more willing to digitalize many aspects of their life. For example, e-government and e-health are new trends that are evolving in Egypt.

On the Corporate Level: Corporations aspire for more digitalized business services and solutions.

On the Community Level: The whole Egyptian Community seeks more functional digitalized content that provide more useful functionalities.

Selected User Groups: There are specialized user groups which require a tailored e-content that suits their profession or field of specialization. The e-content service providers in Egypt fall within the Following Categories:

» Content Creation and Development;
» Content Distribution and Delivery;
» Content Management, Hosting and Publishing e-commerce.

While e-content provides a wealth of new opportunities for Egyptian organizations seeking to leverage data to streamline operations and facilitate the flow of information, it also presents ever increasing challenges to adapt strategies and technologies to the diversity of tasks at hand.

The e-content sector is considered to be an emerging one in Egypt as it is still in its introductory phases. Nevertheless, a substantial awareness of the importance of e-content exists primarily due to the fact that the infrastructure and technological platform is quiet mature and well established in Egypt. As mentioned above, Egypt has a well established infrastructure platform, however, this platform needs to be capitalized upon in order to manage, store, and deliver e-content in ways that are efficient, effective, and affordable, and hence, build the solid foundations for the e-content in Egypt.

The e-content sector in Egypt faces a prime challenge which is changing the perception of content people towards the importance of e-content in today’s digital era and convincing them of the need to change their content into electronic form. This challenge is particularly critical because these content people are by default the Subject Matter Specialists (SMS), which means that they are the key driving wheel in the creation of the content material that will be later converted to e-content.

Before taking a major step towards creating a distinct e-content sector in Egypt, a sectoral categorization of data and information is to be made and then each sector data is to be assembled and pooled with all the sectors coordinating and organizing their efforts with each other. This process of sectoral data compile will avoid any duplication and waste of resources.

Egypt doesn’t only face the need to compile the available information and data, however, there is also a vital need to pool the vast experience that is present in all fields and disciplines in the Egyptian society and package them into digital e-content. Evidently, Egypt contains a wealth of rich experiences in many fields whether technological, medical, educational and commercial in both the public and private sectors. Accordingly, all these experiences need to be documented and digitalized in order to be able to make the most intelligent and efficient use of their outputs and impacts.

Which e-content area is best developed in your country?

Best developed e-content areas in Egypt are: e-culture, e-science and e-learning.
Which sectors in your country are the leaders in e-Content development?
The most aggressive sectors in delivering e-content in Egypt are mainly the Government and Civil Society.

Please describe the progress of eContent development in your country.

The gradual progress of e-content in Egypt occurred as part of the establishment of a number of national initiatives that utilized the evolving ICT to develop particular sectors. For example, The Egyptian National Scientific and Technological Information Network, the National Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage and The Educational Development Initiatives.

It should be noted that the development of the e-content happened as a means to an end result which is initiating these projects rather than an end by itself as e-content is naturally as essential part of all the technology-based national initiatives.

Please list the major initiatives which have influenced and spurred the development of e-content in your country.

The major initiatives which provoked the development of e-content in Egypt are:

The Egyptian Culture Heritage in the Digital Age Initiative;
The e-learning Initiative;
The e-commerce Initiative;
The Educational Development Initiative;
The e-government Initiative.

What have been the major bottlenecks in the development of e-content in your country?

The major bottlenecks on the path of e-content delivery in Egypt include:

» Lack of sufficient comprehensive and quality content that can be converted to e-content.
» A problem of Awareness and Motivation as the Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) are not aware of and motivated to convert their information and knowledge into e-content.
» Copy rights of the existing products and services.
» E-content needs to be updated periodically, a process that is not yet standardized in Egypt.
» Egypt faces a major problem of accessibility since a tangible ratio of the population don’t have access to the net basically because of literacy problems.
» A major challenge that Egypt faces is the localization of international content in order to be able to reach the masses.

In developed countries ICT has become part of daily life and e-content development is primarily left to the initiatives of individuals or organizations. On the other hand, in less developed countries, the development of e-content is largely dependent on ICT infrastructure. Please give a detailed analysis of the situation in your country.

Unlike most of the developing countries, Egypt is quiet developed in ICT which means that technology is not a problem anymore, rather, Egypt now has to concentrate on content augmentation, management, conversion to an electronic form and ultimately, content delivery.

How would you describe the ICT scenario in your country? Please describe it in terms of infrastructure, penetration, acceptance and policies.

Infrastructure: Well developed
Penetration: Low because of the population literacy problems.
Acceptance: Egypt encounters a problem of acceptance especially among the Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) who are not yet aware of the value of converting their knowledge into e-content and thus are not motivated to do it.
Policy: Egypt doesn’t face any problem with policy, on the contrary, the Egyptian government is totally aware of the value of the development of ICT and has already established several initiatives that utilize and develop the ICT.

How do you see the future of e-content development in your country?

I can see no official or corporate effort towards developing e-content. As an individual, I hope I can make some difference through media and the Internet Society to push for the development of e-content.

As an expert in your country, what would be the five most important pillars of e-content development?

» Subject Matter Specialists (SMS) who are motivated to convert their knowledge and information into e-content.
» Sophisticated ICT and courseware development technology.
» A pool of localized content that will be digitalized.
» Business formulas and cooperative relations.
» Economies of Scale: that is only reached after intensive investment in ICT and content digitalization which eventually will decrease the costs of digitalization and bring about the maximum return on investment. There is a large potential for intensive investment and production of ICT in Egypt as a large market that will elicit heavy demand for ICT products and services exists.

Please explain which is the most preferred medium for e-content development: Print, TV, the Internet, Radio, Mobile/Wireless or a combination of some of these?

Research has proved that relying on only one medium for delivering e-content is not a practical delivery mode. Therefore, the most preferred medium for e-content in Egypt is a hybrid media that consists of a blend of synchronized, harmonized and coordinated different media vehicles like print, TV, internet, Radio, CDs, and Mobile.

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