Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

Wed, 2019-03-20 23:46

RIYADH: Information and communications technology (ICT) is one
of the main drivers of development in today’s world, a Riyadh
forum on “Digital Transformation for an Ambitious Country” has
been told.

In his opening speech to the annual Communications and
Information Technology Indicators Forum, Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais,
governor of the Communications and Information Technology
Commission, said the ICT sector stimulated productivity, enhanced
competitiveness and encouraged innovation.

On Wednesday, the Saudi minister of communications and
information technology, Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, joined
regional and global leaders in the ICT sector, telecom executives
and government officials at the forum.

Al-Ruwais said that ICT has been used to “develop strategies
and regulatory policies that can guarantee the availability of
infrastructure, basic apparatus and services in all regions of the
Kingdom.”

“In order to facilitate the mission of researchers, experts
and those interested in telecommunication services indicators, the
Communications and Information Technology Commission established an
electronic platform that allows the user to have access to
indicators and statistics related to the sector. This platform
enables the user to view the indicators in the form of tables and
detailed graphs,” he said.

Al-Ruwais said the commission has achieved 90 percent
coverage of 4G technologies in the Kingdom, including remote
centers and villages.

He said the authority has issued temporary licenses for
fifth-generation networks, equipping 153 sites with 5G in nine
cities. So far, 680 trials were conducted for 5G.

He said that ICT services achieved high indicators during the
2017 Hajj season, with local and international calls totaling 439
million through 16,000 base stations.

Mufarreh Nahari, director of Market Studies at CITC, said: “It
is expected that by 2020 the experimental uses of 5G will be fully
completed and they will be ready to launch the official 5G sim by
then. By the end of 2020 we expect that 5G will be used in 30
percent of the big cities in Saudi Arabia.”

The past three years have seen an increase in internet usage. In
2018, two-thirds of Internet users in the Kingdom used the internet
for more than four hours a day, said Nahari.

Ammar Al-Ansari, department head of Country Digital Acceleration
at Cisco, said: “The agreements signed by the crown prince during
his overseas visits led to the introduction of a number of
artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, including virtual schools
and smart classrooms.” 

Seven schools in Saudi have a live stream for teachers to
connect with their students. They may be 250 km to 300 km apart,
but an active learning session takes place between students and
educators.

Al-Ansari displayed a video from a teacher in Jeddah giving
lessons to students in the northern region via a smart board. AI
was used to monitor and analyze students’ attention spans. 

The analysis will help educators update traditional teaching
methods.

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Source: *FS – All – Science News Net
Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told