Jul. 9, 2018


Khalid Al Muawad

Saudi Arabia

Khalid Al Muawad

CEO, Midwam

“When you look at all government sectors right now compared to only five years ago, you will see that there is a massive difference between the individuals working there.”

BIO

Khalid AlMuawad is the CEO & Co-Founder of Midwam company, the first company specialized in designing interactive digital experiences using state of the art technologies including Augmented Reality , Virtual Reality and others. Khalid has been an integral part of the company and it’s infrastructure , which today has entered significant partnerships with multiple Experience Designers & Technology providers from around the globe and has revolutionized the way information and experiences are visualized. A strong advocate of empowering Saudi Youth on an innovative digital platform. He Co-founded Midwam in 2012. Keen to bring this platform with a high level of interactivity to the market, he became the first trained Saudi on operating Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies. He holds a BA degree in management and marketing from the University Business and Technology, Saudi Arabia, as well as an Msc in leadership and management from the University of La Verne, USA.
He has also obtained a certificate of project management from Stanford University, USA.

TBY: What was behind the creation of Midwam and what gap in the market were you filling?

When we started in 2012 we saw an excellent opportunity for people being capable of interacting with their digital content. In the earlier times, people were more passive; they gave their attention to the shared information whether it interests them or not. However, this changed when new technologies like smartphones came along; people lost interest in passive and static data, they lost their attention to them. Today, if you visited a museum, for example, there is often something to manipulate and interact with. That's when we decided to use this opportunity to introduce interactive technologies to the market such as virtual reality, holograms and augmented reality, which are advanced technologies that are all about interactivity and engaging users with different sectors to gain the attention of their target users. These interactive and immersive tools are used in the education sector to increase the attention levels of students, the industrial sector to obtain the focus of trainees, the marketing purposes to visualize content, or in the entertainment industry to intensify the experience. We saw the world move into the interactive era while things in Saudi Arabia were still idle. Midwam was one of the few companies that were lucky to have the support of several government entities that believe in this approach and this method of interactivity. We grabbed that opportunity to increase knowledge transfer and visualization communications by having individuals interact with things, and we have been leading the market since.

Could you tell us some more about your training program?

Midwam is offering a learning program called Certified Interactive Application Development "CIAD" where we educate trainees how to develop AR, VR, and other interactive applications. And to accomplish this, we partnered with different companies such as; Eon Reality and Unity, to use their connections and expertise to perfect this program. We do not reinvent the wheel, we just take an approved curriculum worldwide, we practice it here, and then we take the pre-qualification to screen candidates and get the right ones into the program. We have instructors coming from US, UK, and other countries to deliver the program. And by the end of the day, the trainees want some recognition when they are done; this is where Dar Al Hekma University comes in as they certify this program for the trainees from their "Continuous Education Programs" by having a certificate on applying or creating interactive applications. Of course, we also provide them an international certificate from our international partners; meaning, they hold two certificates.

How would you assess the maturity of the Saudi digital economy?

The expenditure on IT is increasing because the government is taking a direction of digital transformation. When the government says that by 2030 we need to go into digital transformation and it will be in phases over five years, companies have to start digitizing their own entities and services. You can see this clearly in the digital transformation that was done in government sectors. In the past, you used to go to government sectors to issue an ID, a driving license, or a passport. But today, all of these requests are happening digitally. When the private sector sees this transformation of the way the government is providing their services, they will get encouraged to spend more on digitize their own business. Also, a big chunk of the IT investments that are going in is cybersecurity, and that's because they need to catch up with all of the cybersecurity that is happening around the world.

What opportunities does the opening up of the entertainment sector create for you?

Midwam creates infinite interactive experiences, meaning, the experience we provide is not limited to one sector; it is limited by your imagination. If you imagine that you would like to develop an experience within the entertainment sector, we can design something where your target audience can have fun and get excited using tools from the market like VR and AR who are playing a significant role in entertainment nowadays. We have created fascinating entertainment concepts; we have entertainment clients that are interested in activating and building those concepts. What differentiates us from others, is that we take under consideration the entire entertainment experience, and we don't limit ourselves to one specific game or idea, we help the visitor getting into that atmosphere and feel that they are in an interactive gaming environment. Disney Land, for example, manipulate your mind by the environment they create that you feel as if you were in a different world. All of that is done by the experience they have designed for you, and that is what we do too; we design experiences from the time you enter a space until the time you leave. Saudi Arabia announced the most advanced city in the world to be built so there is a lot of ambition that you can clearly see and sense in this country. Midwam would definitely like to take a leading role into all of that by supporting, visualizing and showcasing locally developed
interactive experiences and exporting them abroad.

How important is the young generation for your operations?

Saudi youth is paramount to our operations. We count on their creativity and the ambitions to create things. The level of Saudization in Midwam is about 80%, of which about 40% are female. We often hire the top graduates from our CIAD program ourselves. We are giving opportunities also to the Saudis and youth to enter the business world, and we are also teaching them how to be entrepreneurs in case they do not want to work for us and want to work for themselves. All of these factors are being supported by the 2030 Vision, and there are elements of the vision that are making all of this advancement happen. When you look at all government sectors right now compared to only five years ago, you will see that there is a massive difference between the individuals working there. The government believes 100% that the future is with our youth and this is what makes a substantial difference; the human capital within the entire operation.

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