Posted on August 19, 2015

With Qatar falling in the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index in the Global Information Technology Report 2015 (GITR), the country must take full advantage of the potential offered by information and communications technologies (ICTs) to drive social and economic transformation.

Out of 143 countries, Qatar ranked 27th, dropping four places. In response, senior Cisco executives are highlighting the considerable challenge facing Qatar as it seeks to develop the infrastructure, institutions, and skills needed to reap the full benefits of ICTs. Only 39 percent of the global population enjoys access to the Internet despite the fact that more than half now owns a mobile phone, according to the World Economic Forum.

Similarly in Qatar, despite having one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates, at 152.6 percent, the lack of access to the Internet is depriving many Qatari citizens of the opportunity to take full advantage of e-learning as well as online financial, data, and health services. Crucial to achieving societal and economic transformation is the ability to embrace the Internet of Everything (IoE), the connections between people, process, data and things to create unprecedented opportunities for Qatar’s citizens, and public and private sectors.

Information and communications 2 [].jpgIn order to embrace the IoE, Qatar’s government and businesses must be fully digitised, supported by a highly robust and secure network. Becoming digital requires an agile IT model, and the ability to rethink core processes for the digital era. Embracing new security, cloud, mobile, social and analytics technologies required to fully digitize takes imagination, investment and expertise. This is why Networked Readiness is such a crucial indicator of a country’s ability to implement and take full advantage of ICTs.

The GITR report suggests that investing in infrastructure and education; supporting the development of local content; and creating an enabling environment by promoting competition through sound regulation will correct the imbalance in Qatar. Cisco executives stressed that government can shape policies that will spur development of broadband access. Cisco is committed to working with public and private sector organisations in Qatar to work on strategies for the digital transformation, thereby helping them transform their IT strategy, connect everything, embrace analytics, and secure technology and operations.

Executive Quotes:

Mohammad Hammoudi, General Manager, Cisco Qatar: “At Cisco, we have learned that technology helps people find innovative solutions to address societal problems. We believe there has never been a better time to combine human ingenuity and technological innovation to improve the lives of all Qatar citizens. As home to the world’s second-fastest employment growth, the wider Middle East is ripe for transformation and is an increasingly attractive environment for global business investments. Technology is at an inflection point and Qatar’s economy needs to prioritise ICT adoption to take full advantage of the benefits that embracing digital transformation strategies will offer.”

Dr Robert Pepper, Vice President, Global Technology Policy, Cisco: “Qatar can make massive strides in connecting more citizens and bringing about positive social and economic change by improving its Networked Readiness. With political will and commitment from the private sector, progress can be made in bringing the benefit of ICTs to more people. We are already facing the next wave of the Internet – the Internet of Everything (IoE) –Qatar needs to prioritise ICT development if it is to benefit from the new experiences and efficiencies that the IoE will bring.”