IBM: Middle East will see mobile boom as regional markets are opened
A global boom in connected computing could pass the Middle East by if markets do not open to new technologies, while a major opportunity exists for the region to learn from the early experiences of other global areas, said the head of IBM's software group in the Middle East, Bashar Kilani.
Kilani, speaking at the Dubai PDA Summit, pointed to a global market of some 10 billion connected devices by 2005: a result of the convergence between traditional desktop and data center computing and telephony.
“Research shows us that by 2005, we can expect some 70 percent of global enterprise companies to have deployed mobile computing solutions in their businesses as connectivity and the intelligence of networks and software increases. In fact, some 75 percent of European companies will provide wireless applications to their employees in the next year,” said Kilani in his address to the conference. “But we face some very real challenges if we are to enjoy the increases in productivity and capabilities that these technologies bring to companies in this region.”
The growing trend towards competitive public wireless networks, enabled through GSM and now 3G mobile technologies, is opening up enormous new markets in the region, with millions of people now using mobiles in their everyday lives. With the advent of new “convergent” devices such as wireless-equipped notebook computers and hand held PDAs, businesses can operate using pervasive computing technologies to ensure that every employee is online and connected to the company's knowledge, resources and systems.
However, the challenge to companies in the Middle East trying to implement such systems comes from a lack of clear regulation and legislation in many areas: potential barriers to the implementation of wireless networks. Added to this, there are complex technology issues that can hold back growth in the adoption of wireless solutions by companies: Even where the regulatory environment is clear and wireless networks can be freely deployed, companies face technology hurdles: a wide number of innovative solutions are available and they can be very hard to integrate into a single, company-wide mobile resource that is truly technology and network independent.
“There is a need to simplify complex networks by using software that ties together fixed, data center and desktop systems, with a wide range of mobile devices that can each have a defined role in a company's mobile strategy. Only then can companies in this region build effective mobile solutions that drive true advantage,” said Kilani. “IBM is working with organizations across the region today to drive understanding of the issues, to share the experience of other regions in getting to grips with the issues that they need to address in order to build mobile access into their business models.” — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)