Qatari software company iHorizons announced today that it will establish a research and development company at Qatar Science & Technology Park. The development centre, the first of its kind in Qatar, will allow iHorizons to compete in cutting-edge markets such as bioinformatics, which have so far been dominated by European and American technology.
The new venture complements iHorizons’ existing operations in Doha and the region that provide Internet and e-business applications. The company is no stranger to technology development, having created proprietary IT systems for ten years for customers like the Al Jazeera Network.
The rise of broadband wireless networks and user-generated Internet content has created entirely new business models in recent years, spawning companies like Skype and YouTube. iHorizons aims to develop software applications that take advantage of these new technologies and lifestyles.
“If we keep selling the same applications year after year we will soon be obsolete, and if we sell other companies’ products it is hard to differentiate ourselves” said Mohamad Takriti, CEO and Partner of iHorizons. “So we are focused on developing next-generation applications which people in Qatar, and around the world, will be using a year or more from now. The great thing about Qatar Science & Technology Park is that it provides us with a very supportive environment to do this in.”
iHorizons will establish its R&D company now and move it to Qatar Science & Technology Park when its business incubator, the Emerging Technology Centre, opens in late 2007. The company will start with eight staff and around six trainees. iHorizons is currently working with Carnegie Mellon Qatar, located with Qatar Science & Technology Park at Education City, to develop joint research projects.
One of the first technologies that iHorizons will explore is bioinformatics. It is talking to international biotechnology partners
and aims to use its software engineering expertise to develop new applications. Bioinformatics is becoming an important technology in
Qatar, with medical institutes such as Qatar Foundation’s Specialty Teaching Hospital intending to use it in their research programs.
Dr. Eulian Roberts, Chief Executive of Qatar Science & Technology Park, said “This is a significant day because iHorizons is the first Qatari company to join QSTP. Our strategy is to partner with both international and local companies to grow Qatar’s knowledge economy. We are very impressed by iHorizons’ R&D ambitions and how it is working with institutions such as Carnegie Mellon – this is clearly a company that is thinking about how it will compete far into the future.”
Qatar Science & Technology Park fosters the development and commercialisation of technology in Qatar, a rising star in the Arabian Gulf with the world’s third largest gas reserves and a remarkable vision for human development. As part of the renowned Qatar Foundation, founded by the country’s Emir, the science park is co-located with campuses of Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Texas A&M and other premier universities. It provides research-friendly premises for companies from around the world, plus an incubator and investment for technology start-ups. Already EADS, ExxonMobil, GE, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Shell and Total have joined Qatar Science & Technology Park, and its first phase of buildings opens late 2007. www.qstp.org.qa
iHorizons is a leading eBusiness solution and Internet software provider in the region. Founded in 1996, iHorizons has offices in Dubai, Doha and Amman and a client roster that includes prestigious organizations like Al Jazeera Network, SAP AG, Aramco and Qatar Olympic Committee. Its flagship product, iHorizons Knowledge Server, is deployed in large setups like Al Jazeera, ASPIRE, and Qatar Financial Centre, among others. It also powers PublishArabia.com, the premier web-based content management service. www.ihorizons.com.
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