Cisco Urges Middle East Countries to Utilize Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Digitization Agendas

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Public-Private Partnerships will enable Middle East Countries, Cities and Organizations to Execute IoE Strategies for Digital Transformation

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - 22 July 2015 – Middle East countries will need to utilize public-private partnerships to support their digital transformation agendas, in order to benefit from the networked connection of people, process, data and things – the Internet of Everything - Cisco announced today.

In order for Middle East cities, countries and economic systems to embrace the IoE, each institution must become fully digitized. Becoming a digital business 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. Public-private partnerships will help to expedite this process.

Being Digital requires Network Readiness – Public –Private Partnerships will be key to enabling this
Across the Middle East, regional digitization plans include the Jordan National ICT Agenda 2013-2017, the Digital Oman Strategy 2020, and the Kuwait Vision 2035. Cisco is already strategically partnering with the governments of these countries in an advisory capacity as well as a technology solutions provider. Network readiness and a robust broadband infrastructure will be key to delivering the goals set by these country plans. 

However, according the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2015 many Middle East countries need to take full advantage of the potential offered by information and communications technologies (ICTs) to drive social and economic transformation.

Several countries have dropped in terms of the report’s Networked Readiness Index ranking. Kuwait dropped four places to 36th out of 143 countries ranked, Bahrain remained at 44th, and Oman fell 15 places to 46th this year, while only Jordan moved up four spots to 68th. All four countries fell in the technological readiness pillar, which measures how economies use ICT for efficiency and innovation.

Digitizing Healthcare, Education, and Citizen Services
Demonstrating the potential for collaboration in the healthcare field, the Jordan Healthcare Initiative (JHI) a strategic public private partnership between the Jordanian Government and Cisco was formed as part of His Majesty King Abdullah II’s vision for transforming healthcare in Jordan and towards supporting creating a healthy population.

As a result, a Tele-health service is providing better quality care for patients throughout the Kingdom, as well as cost-effective care without the need for specialists to spend valuable time travelling to see few patients in remote areas and vice versa. His Majesty’s long term goal has always been to position Jordan as a regional hub for ICT solutions in the healthcare sector and our continued strategic collaboration with ICT leaders, like Cisco, is helping the government to achieve this.

In education for example, Cisco recently announced that the soon-to-open Algonquin College in Kuwait will be deploying Cisco’s collaborative solutions to deliver on-line collaborative experiences for potentially more than 3,100 students and staff. Algonquin College – Kuwait (AC-Kuwait) is a branch campus of Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology, a highly respected and internationally recognized Canadian college, offering quality programs that are recognized around the world.

With the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets by the student community, globally, Algonquin College sees the adoption of Cisco’s collaborative technology solutions as key to enriching students learning experience and as well as increasing administrative efficiency. Cisco’s technology solutions to give up college’s potentially more than 3,100 students what they need to collaborate anywhere, on any device, when, where, and how they need it.

Likewise, the American University of Kuwait (AUK) is also working with Cisco for its end-to-end network infrastructure and firewall upgrade. Established in 2003, AUK is an independent, private, and coeducational liberal arts institution of higher education. With an ever-growing student population accessing the campus network from anywhere and across multiple devices, AUK needed to be equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technology solutions that deliver a secure environment. This is where Cisco’s end-to-end technology solutions came into play, as they offer us a stable and secure campus network, to maintain confidentiality, as well as prevent potentially disruptive security threats

In Oman, Cisco and Omantel the pioneer of total communications solutions in the Sultanate of Oman embarked on trial project to provide enhanced mobile and network coverage for Omani market with the goal to deliver enhanced mobile connectivity to support ‘Smart Oman’ across all key vertical sectors. Omantel has successfully integrated Cisco Universal Small Cell Solutions into its mobile network as part of a trial project aiming to support its growing base of customers.

Cisco’s end-to-end small cell solutions will scale to be suitable for small, medium and large enterprise buildings. In Oman, as well as globally, mobile networks have never mattered more with connections set to double and data traffic will increase 11-fold over the next five years. With the increased demands on the network, Omantel is targeting to invest in small cell solutions to help optimize and monetize consumer and business services on mobile devices across 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi networks. Multi-technology small cells (3G/4G/Wi-Fi) will provide increased voice and data coverage and capacity indoors.

Developing Skills for the Next Generation
While advanced technology infrastructure is a major goal, countries in the region must also invest in technology skills training. As the Middle East digitizes, it is also posting the world’s fastest growing gap in networking positions, with unfilled positions more than doubling from 47,945 in 2012 to 102,108 in 2015, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015.

Middle East governments need to deploy policy and training programs to help solve the world’s fastest-growing gap in networking professionals. Cisco is committed to working with governments and organizations in the ME region utilizing private and public sector partnerships to help develop ICT skills and support job creation.  As new industries emerge, spurred by smart investment in technology, the development of skills and talent will be critical for the economic success of the region.

The Cisco Networking Academy is Cisco’s largest CSR program which uses a public-private partnership model to help students prepare for entry-level ICT jobs, additional training or education, and globally recognized certifications by equipping them with the skills needed to maintain networks that form the backbone of the global economy.

The free training that Cisco Academies in universities, Schools, NGOs, Government entities, Vocational colleges, and qualified training academies will be able to offer communities throughout the region, is supporting job creation and economic growth by building ICT skills and talent within the workforce as well as providing greater access to capital and to educational opportunities.

Today Cisco’s Networking Academy program in the Middle East boasts:

  • 480+ active academies in the Middle East (across 15 countries) with 43,000+ active students, 1000+ instructors and the average female student participation is 35%.
  • 200,000+ students have graduated from the program since its inception.
  • MENA - accelerated demand in Oman where our ITE course has been integrated into HCT colleges.

Executive Quote:
Ziad Salameh, Managing Director Gulf (Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain), Levant, Pakistan and Iraq region and Middle East Services, Cisco.
“The Middle East Region is already making massive strides in connecting more citizens and bringing about positive social and economic change. With political will and commitment from the private sector, progress can be made in bringing even more benefit to more people. We are already facing the next wave of the Internet – the Internet of Everything (IoE) –Middle East countries need to prioritize ICT development if they are to benefit from the new experiences and efficiencies that the IoE and becoming a digital economy will bring. Middle East countries cannot invest in technology alone, as connectivity’s impact is limited unless there are the skilled professionals to bring their digitization agendas to life. From connected education to healthcare, the next generation economy requires public-private partnerships to support the next wave of country transformation.”

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