International participation at COMEX 2013April 2, 2013
Held under the patronage of e.oman and organized by OITE Trade Fairs, COMEX 2013 – Oman’s IT, Telecom and Technology Show – again includes key international participation, selected to give visitors a peek into what other countries are doing in regard to e-services. This year’s COMEX has four international participants from Estonia, Lithuania, Kuwait and Singapore.
Estonia, “IT-tiger”, is a northern European country participating in COMEX 2013. Estonia also took part in last year’s COMEX exhibition, having brought a lot of electronic solutions to make life easier and help save time too. Juhan Parts, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, commenting on Estonia’s participation this year, said: “Following last year’s successful visit to Oman, there have been a number of cooperation projects between Estonia companies and the Sultanate of Oman. We are confident that the two countries have a lot of common goals in regards to creating easily accessible and modern public services and for facilitating business via the use of leading e-solutions.”
This year at COMEX 2013, Estonia is showcasing its innovative solutions for the public sector, including its recent Award for the decade’s Best eGovernment content, during the United Nations World Summit at the Information Society +10 event. Acknowledging that the population of Estonia is approximately half of Oman’s, it gained an impressive global reputation as an e-society. In Estonia, the average time for registering a company is only 18 minutes! As a result, 97% of Estonian companies are started electronically. Also, 99% of bank transactions and tax declarations in Estonia are done electronically. Even more astounding, by solely relying on electronic services, the Estonian Road Administration saves around two million Euros every year. With respect to education, 70% of Estonian schools use a web application called e-school. E-solutions in Estonia extend to the medical sector too, as the majority of medical prescriptions are issued electronically. Estonia has come up with different ideas and e-solutions that could be helpful to every government around the world.
Another international participant at COMEX 2013 is Lithuania. Lithuania is a country in the middle of Europe and is one of the three Baltic States. “We are here to show what InfoBalt has to offer. InfoBalt is an umbrella that holds all other e-services,” said Kestutis Gardziulis, CEO / co-founder of Etronika. Lithuania, this year, has four new e-services on display: Etronika, Data House, Ruptela, and of course the mother of all these InfoBalt. Etronika offers e-banking solutions. Mr. Gardziulis added, “We have had conversations with some banks in Oman. Already, a bank has bought Etronika services, but I cannot say its name, because the information and contract is confidential. All I can say is that it is a bank in Lithuania. However, that does not mean that this service is exclusive for that bank, it can be used in every bank in the world.”
Another e-solution/service is Data House, which basically provides information systems for insurance companies, which has as its goal to help making insurance easier and more functional. Finally, there is Ruptela, the GPS tracking and fuel monitoring e-solution, which can be used in fuel rigs and well-sites. It can show the real- time information of fuel levels in each site and make reports of fuel usage. Easy to implement, it can prevent fuel thefts, as it sends an emails or SMS when a sudden drop in fuel occurs.
The Kuwaiti booth has some brilliant stuff, but the latest and most amazing systems on display are the Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The GIS is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. The GIS was developed by the Public Authority for Civil Information which is concerned with the application of civil information systems and addresses in the State of Kuwait. The GIS was just implemented two months ago in February.
“We gathered all the civil information in all of Kuwait. We have installed new number plates in almost all the buildings in Kuwait, as part of the project undertaken by the GIS. We have succeeded in installing external plaques on all buildings whether residential, commercial, services or towers. The code in the plate includes all the related number and data of the building and directly links with the GIS data base. Once you enter the code through the State’s GIS website (www.paci.gov.kw) or even through our smartphone app which can be downloaded at the Apple’s App store under the name (Kuwait Finder), immediately through GPS you will be located to the position of the building or even directed to the building, from where you are,” said Ahmed Abdullah Ahmed, Analyst Information Documents, at the Public Authority for Civil Information at the State of Kuwait.
“We have worked so hard for the past one and a half years to get to where we are now. Today, I am so proud of myself and my team; we really have done an amazing job,” said Ahmed, with an excitement face. “Since we began, we are still working on further developing the GIS. We are now working on putting special symbols for certain types of buildings, like putting a tree symbol on parks and crescent on hospitals, etc.” Also at the Kuwaiti booth there are other projects being exhibited, though most of them are not considered new in the field of IT, such as E-Banking and eGovernment.
Back at COMEX for another year, Singapore never fails to show off her muscles, especially in the field of education. Traditional education is no longer in Singapore. Today, Singapore has taken advantage of the latest innovations and has implemented them in their high end education system. Some of the innovative educational programs are shown at the COMEX-2013 exhibition at their own Singaporean pavilion. As part of the Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015), Singapore’s 10-year master plan, led by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), they have developed programs like the Future Schools @ Singapore (FS@S). “The (FS@S) was developed about 6-7 years ago. The program aims to test out their innovations by trying and experiment innovations in 5 schools which IDA has chosen,” says Kevin Chan, the Centre Directorate of IDA in Middle East. “ESP (Experimentation Schools Program) is a program that aims to create innovative solutions for students self-learning,” added Kevin.
One example of the projects done by ESP is the Collaborative learning tool (CoL), which aims to provide access to a variety of familiar web 2.0 collaboration tools via online. It involves the integration of popular social networking platforms such as MSN, Facebook, Twitter, among others, thus making learning more fun and effective. Another project is the Infocomm@ All Schools Program. “The program is supported by the government. It focuses on bringing about higher levels of ICT usage for learning and teaching by providing teachers with quality resources and tools. Students and teachers are provided tablets, smart-phones and laptops as part of the curriculum,” said Kevin.back