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GCC eGovernment and eServices Conference Kicks-off
Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2013/May/nationgeneral_May350.xml&section=nationgeneral
Source Date: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Country: United Arab Emirates
Created: May 20, 2013

The ‘19th GCC eGovernment and eServices Conference’ kicked-off today in Dubai. The event has brought to its platform some of the most prominent and finest of minds in the information technology and government organizations from across the globe, comprising ministers, undersecretaries, directors, vice presidents, senior technical directors, parliamentarians, and government and business organization leaders and path-breakers.
The conference initiates a crucial step towards the development of the 4th generation of the eGovernment and eServices and evaluates the eMaturity of GCC as the best information and eServices society in a technically competitive world.

Mr. Ali Al Kamali, Managing Director of organisers Datamatix, presented a brief welcome message to the delegates and enlightened the global audience with the vision of the 19th GCC eGovernment and eServices conference. He extended his special thanks to the Dubai Courts and the Emirates identity Authority for their thorough support for the conference in all these years and the tremendous efforts that they have contributed towards the eGovernment development.

He said, “In line with the aspirations to shoulder a shared responsibility to develop the next generation of eGovernment services in the region, to promote, appreciate, and develop a culture of excellence in all the e-government sectors for the effective application of modern technologies and to raise the state apparatus efficiency by providing automated information systems to its citizens, we have gathered here in celebration of yet another successful year of the GCC eGovernment and eServices Conference.

“Since the past two decades, the eGov conference and Middle East eGov Awards have been continuously striving to recognize various efforts of the government and business organizations in the region by bringing them to a common platform and highlighting their invaluable contributions towards eGovernment services that can serve as role models to the region. This year, once again we move forward aspiring to create new role models, establish innovative ideas, and explore the successful eGov case studies in the region that will positively upraise the standards of eGov in the region,” he added.

The conference opening patron message was given by Dr. Ahmed Saeed Salem bin Hezeem, Director General Dubai Courts, in which he stressed on the significance of the conference and said that the unique and magnanimous gathering of participants in this conference is evidently the proof of information technology being the engine of growth in the GCC countries and the strides that the region is taking towards marking its name of the global technological forefront. He also emphasized on the IT ventures of the Dubai courts that has initiated various eServices for the citizens with its dedicated and highly qualified team to keep pace with the world in an era of information technology.

The opening session was followed by a panel discussion on GCC 2013 e-Maturity – Measuring the Success & Challenges, chaired by Eng. Dr. Ali Al Khouri, Director General, Emirates Identity Authority.

Eng. Ali bin Saleh Al-Soma, Advisor to The Minister of Communications and IT, Director General of e-Government Program, KSA, initiated the discussion by asserting that the large gathering of speakers, experts, and supreme leaders in this conference clearly portrays the desired goals and objectives will be achieved. He also said that the continuous success of the conference since the past 19 years has integrated all the efforts of the GCC in coming together to achieve the strategic objectives of the region. The panel discussed the eMaturity profiles of each GCC member countries and explored the increasing number of governments in the GCC that have endeavored to meet the needs of the citizens by providing more eServices and by creating a level of online dialogue that was not in place a few years ago.

Yaqoob Dur Mohammed Al Bulushi, Director General of Infrastructure, Information Technology Authority, Oman, stressed on the difficult phases in the technical infrastructure of the GCC and asserted that information security id the key link to strengthening the coordination between the government organizations. He also elaborated on the 700 government links in the Sultanate of Oman that are integrating efforts to reach the highest level of transparency and efficient performance in the giving a balanced result and facilitate the achievements of objectives.

Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director-General of the TRA’s Information and eGovernment Sector, discussed the eGovernment infrastructure of the UAE and emphasized that the next 5 years would be a very technically challenging and transitional phase for the Emirate

It was followed by the UNDP - United Nations Development Program Message by Paolo Lembo, United Nations Resident Coordinator in UAE, Qatar and Oman, UNDP - United Nations Development Program. He said that eGovernment has become an integral opportunity for the public sector to connect with citizens and businesses 24 hours a day as well as generate necessary revenue to fund future projects. In the government sector ongoing push to improve government excellence and to be more transparent, accessible, and responsive to citizens’ and businesses’ needs, expanding and advancing e-government is essential. He asserted that the focus of this conference is to promote creativity and innovation, ensuring the continuous development of government services. He added that GCC is a perfectly competitive region that has integrated excellence into all its sectors and working patters and has truly come out as a thriving and sustaining nation in terms of technology. He conclude his message by saying that GCC, in the coming future, will touch greater heights with its integrated international partnerships to come with the best practical approaches to be integrated to its systems to enhance the richness of this glorious region.

In the successful eGovernment Case study, Abdullah Rasheed, Director of Information Systems Projects, Emirates Transport, focused on the RFID tracking card that has established a new benchmark in the school transportation and providing utmost safety and security features for the students with accurate embarking and disembarking reports. He elaborated on how IT can help in bringing transitional changes in the mode of transport and in making it convenient for students to be safe and secure. He said that for them safety and security is and will be the first and foremost priority. He also emphasized on their collaboration with various public sectors and the various challenges that they faced in integrating IT. He talked about the ‘Smart Card that would be available to each and every student embarking and disembarking the bus. He also said that the system will be a fool-proof technical system that would keep track of the driver, route, and all the other matters in making it a very safe and secure system for the students. He also presented to the audience the parents web portal, which the parents can access for complete information of the child. He also talked about another initiative that will facilitate the easy collection of data of students coming from different geographical locations. He concluded his presentation by saying that they aspire to secure the future by securing the transportation of the future generations.

Day 1 concluded with the presentation of a panel discussion on Top Challenges for Next Generation GCC e-Government. The panel focused on the Big data analytics and its dynamic features in the age of eGovernment, mPayements and ePayements gateways and its impact on the current consumer market, the global eGovernment competitiveness criteria and measurement.
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