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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

SMEs among 64 projects in race for Sultan Qaboos Award

Muscat, Oct 24 - A total of eight projects from the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector are in race at the sixth edition of Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment. Besides, there are eight projects from the private sector and 47 from the government sector.


A total of 64 projects are competing for the award. The award comes in response to His Majesty’s speech at the annual meeting of the Council of Oman in 2008 on the use of Information and Communications Technologies.


The proceedings of the jury session of Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment is in its final stages. It will conclude on Thursday. Results will be announced in an official ceremony in December.


Sharifa Mohammed Al Maskari, director, information and international relations at Information Technology Authority (ITA), stated “Jury members have expressed satisfaction on the level of competing projects in different categories.” Dinand Tinholt, Vice-President, Capgemini Consulting and the jury chairman, said, “It is a great honour to be the chairman of such a highly prestigious award in the Sultanate and quite inspiring to be among a number of highly renowned international juries. Additionally, it is impressive to witness the developments of some participating projects in the last two years.” He said the award has great recognition in Oman and serves as a “source of inspiration and competition between entities” in improving their eProjects.


Rania al Khusaibi, Project Manager, said, “The jury needed clarifications on some of the projects, but not all. So there have been a few question and answer sessions.” According to Tinholt, there is great evolvement in the award’s categories and criteria since its launch up to this round as some categories were merged and others have been introduced as a response to the rapid advancement in technologies and different needs of citizens, residents and businesses.


“The global trend in information technology is the shift from online services to smart services, focusing on ease of trading, big data and open data. With the emergence of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, it is important that competing entities in the award consider these aspects to be able to provide their services effectively,” he said.


Dr Taysira al Balushi, an expert participating in the jury committee, said the award is an incentive for the government and private entities as well as SMEs to utilise information and communication systems to facilitate transactions, speed of delivery and quality of operations in line with strategic objectives of these entities.


Lakshmi Kothaneth


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