BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

Qatar 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

Cloud computing solutions will soon power most of the TASMU Smart Qatar program, making Doha one of the most connected cities on earth.

Reem Al Mansoori
BIOGRAPHY

Reem Al Mansoori has more than two decades of experience in digital transformation in Qatar's government after spearheading initiatives in technological advancement and capacity building. She heads two major departments: Digital Society and Digital Industry Development. As head of the former, she helps Qatar's society and businesses arm themselves with the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to effectively use ICT and participate in building Qatar's information-based economy. As head of the latter, she helps build Qatar's digital ecosystem and ICT sector to support Smart Qatar through innovation, in the process promoting key investment opportunities and bringing the best practices to Qatar. She has an MSc in computational intelligence from the University of Plymouth and an Executive MBA from HEC Paris.

Qatar's ICT market is likely to reach USD4.4billion in 2021. What will drive this growth?
As Qatar transforms itself into a knowledge-based economy that relies on the production, distribution, and use of knowledge and information, a strong and stable ICT sector is one of the key drivers of economic success. Within this sector, innovation and access continue to increase, and businesses are adapting accordingly to become as technologically advanced as possible. At MoTC, we execute multiple initiatives according to clear and well-planned strategies, including first and foremost the TASMU Smart Qatar Program, in addition to investing in the ICT industry to raise its contribution to Qatar's GDP, which stood at 2.7% in 2018. Revolutionary advances in technology are reshaping the way people live, work and relate to one another, transforming the way societies function and the way they are governed. Our market assessments indicate that cloud computing, augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain will play a vital role in the growth of Qatar's ICT sector. Cloud computing, for example, has revolutionized not only the IT industry but also how we work in general. Allowing employees to access to their organization's files at anytime from anywhere, cloud services are one of the main drivers of digital transformation. Enterprises are increasingly adopting cloud computing in an effort to become more agile, lower IT costs, and have the ability to scale. The worldwide public cloud services market is growing rapidly and will double in size by 2021, becoming a USD302 billion market. We expect the public cloud services market in Qatar to grow exponentially to reach USD112 million by 2022, with software as a service being the largest segment of the market accounting for almost 40% of the market. Smart cities are complex systems that depend on large data points generated by a set of devices, sensors, people, and software, and require high-speed network, high performance computational power, as well as immense storage capacities of cloud computing infrastructure. Cloud computing solutions will underpin and power most of TASMU's use cases to make Doha one of the most connected global cities. As part of our National ICT Strategy, we are also focusing on increasing use of ICT by SMEs through a multitude of initiatives.

One of Qatar National Vision 2030's goals is to ensure human development. What is MoTC is working on to make that happen?
At MoTC, we relentlessly work to inspire and support all people in Qatar to gain the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to use ICT effectively and safely so that they can engage in the country's economic and cultural life. Our main goal is to support the development of a vibrant and capable ICT vocational and professional workforce in Qatar. We are keen on enhancing ICT readiness and usage of all members of society and businesses so that everyone can participate in building Qatar's knowledge-based economy. Specifically, Digital Society aims to ensure all people in Qatar have the skills and capabilities to use ICTs in an effective and safe way. The division's programs work to bridge the digital divide in the country by creating opportunities for the population that is at risk of digital exclusion to safely access, effectively use, and fully benefit from ICTs. Alongside that, Digital Society works with strategic partners to enhance ICT education and students' capabilities and skills, as well as carrying out studies to measure the impact of information and communication technologies on Qatari society and measuring changes over time.