Interview with Hind Al Mualla

“Government institutes are leading the in UAE”

How would you define e-Content in Emirates?

E-Content in UAE is simply any digital content and not necessarily content transmitted over an electronic network. Access to e-content was made available to the public by the introduction of the Internet in UAE in 1995. During that time, locally developed e-content was rare but this changed quickly with high PC and Internet penetration and the government’s interest in e-content

“In 2005, 90 wireless hotspots were placed across the emirates to provide wireless broadband access with reasonable prices”

What’s the status of e-content in UAE?

The Internet was introduced in UAE in 1995 and the same year, used for commercial purposes.

Major events in the UAE had an effect on the development of e-Content in the country. The events highlighted cover a wide range of happenings; from signing treaties, and enforcing laws to establishing organizations and entities.

As for Internet penetration it reached 30% in 2003 and is expected to reach 49% in 2008 according to Madar Research Journal 2003, while PC penetration is expected to rise from 16.8% in 2003 to 27.5% in 2008.

In 2005, 90 wireless hotspots were placed across the emirates to provide wireless broadband access with reasonable prices.

UAE per Capita IT spending reached $345 in 2003, which was higher than the world average estimated at $200.

What is the future of e-content development in UAE?

Since UAE has a well-developed and advanced telecommunication infrastructure, there is plenty of room for the development of e-content. Quality wise it is noticeable that governmental institutes are leading the way and eager to make use of ICT effectively.

Furthermore, the three main categories that are putting a noticeable effort in implementing new technologies are:

Governmental institutes:

In 2003 the Ministry of Industry and Finance signed a contract to launch the first phase of the e-Government project. The aim of the project was to link all ministries and governmental entities and assess their readiness for e-services.

There are a number of e-government initiatives in which different emirates are aiming to serve the public by the use of ICT. For example: Dubai e-Government, Dubai Municipality and Ras Al Khaimah e-Government. In addition to that, another government initiative worth mentioning here is the Dubai Police’s use of ICT to ease access to their various services through the use of dynamic websites and kiosks.

Educational institutes (owned by the government):

“The business sector is making use of ICT especially in the B2B areas and B2C areas”

The institutes of higher education like the Higher Colleges of Technology and Zayed University are making use of ICT to manage and link different campuses effectively and deliver online courses.

At the secondary education level, the IT Education project aims to introduce industry-relevant IT curriculum starting with the emirates of Dubai and eventually covering all schools in the UAE.

Another forceful effort in this area is the one demonstrated by Abu Dhabi Educational Zone, to promote the use of technology among schools through the use of electronic ICT curriculum.

Business sector (Supported by the Government):

It is worth mentioning here that the business sector is making use of ICT especially in the B2B areas and B2C areas, though in the latter to a lesser extent due to the availability of free zones and knowledge economy communities but not limited to TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media), Dubai Silicon Oases and DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center).

The active B2B sector is clearly reflected in the Dubai electronic commerce market where the B2B market worth is estimated to be worth US$ 530 Millions in 2003 and expected to shoot up to US$ 2.4 billions by the end of 2008. On the other hand, the B2C market worth is estimated to be US$ 72 millions and will reach up to 180 by the end of 2008.

Which is the most preferred medium for e-content production in UAE?

Based on advertisement revenues, newspapers are the most preferred medium with revenue of US$ 212 Million followed by television, with US$ 77 million and magazines with US$ 61 Million. Other means come fourth with revenue of US$34 Million. Radio is at the end of the list with revenue of US$ 12 million.


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