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Mobile Strategy


Photo - Jun Estrada / Hi Weekly

Mobility, indeed, is changing day-to-day life in Oman. It couldn't be otherwise in a country where a recent survey found a whopping 93 percent of the families using smartphones and 53 percent of them accessing internet through mobile devices. The business and IT (information technology) processes are changing in every industry including media, retail, education and healthcare, banking, energy and manufacturing in both private and public sectors. It's the right time for a country to implement an efficient 'mobile strategy' which could enhance collaborations and increase productivity.

Leaving behind many of its neighbouring nations and other countries in the world, Oman has been 'quite progressive in formulating mobile strategies for enterprises', according to experts. Besides, the service providers have been able to deliver solutions to cater to the changing needs of the customers - 'their individual and customised needs', they say.

In its fifth edition, the COMEX conference held earlier this week rightly chose 'mobility for enterprises' as its theme, highlighting the nexus of forces – mobile, information, cloud and social – 'where mobility gets real', the best practices for implementing a mobile strategy and visionary mobile apps for both consumers and professionals.

"You need to have one place where you get all these players together, need to have a policy, need to draw lines, the dos and don'ts and mark the roles and responsibilities of all service providers and it may take time," Biswajeet Mahapatra, the Research Director, Gartner, told Hi Weekly on the sidelines of the conference. Oman, he said, unlike many other countries has been successful in formulating an efficient strategy and it's time for implementation.

The government, though interested in providing the services, cannot work alone to implement the strategy, Biswajeet pointed out. "We need vendors, service providers, the telecoms and the entire ecosystem in place. It's good that people have realised the huge potential in Oman and in this region," he added.

Exclusive centre for mobile
Riding on its household survey that showed high smartphone and internet penetration rate in the country, the Information Technology Authority (ITA) has now plans to open an exclusive centre for mobile by next year. "The survey involving 11,000 Omani families from different regions in the country showed 93 percent had at least one smartphone in their house and 53 percent of them had access to internet through smartphones," said Omar Al Shanfari, the deputy CEO (Operations), ITA.

The ITA, he said, have concrete projects for SMEs (small scale enterprises) and other individual entrepreneurs. "We opened a Sas centre for entrepreneurs last year and recently a virtual reality centre, also to train and direct them to establish their own businesses. The next one would be exclusively for mobile applications and we are in the right direction of promoting SMEs and entrepreneurship in Oman," he added.

'Secure data'
Meanwhile, the advent of modular mobile applications in responsive sites where people have quicker and specific interactive solutions, have raised many eyebrows on 'how secure is people's mobility data'. People tend to trust their mobile phones, and the temptation to use it for transactions is much more. "Most of the ministries are converting their websites into responsive sites which can be accessed by any portable devices. When you expose the mobile devices to location data or people's mobility data, it has to be secured by policies," said Sangeetha Sridhar, an award winning ITC consultant residing in Oman.

Currently, she pointed out, Oman has strict regulations in terms of misuse of wireless networks, besides privacy clauses from ministries and disclaimers from websites. "When it comes to mapping of mobile data, it could be used for wrong purposes. There's a cyber law that has been enacted two years ago and Oman's National Computer Emergency Readiness Team (OCERT) could investigate and produce digital evidence of the crime," she added.

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