Blockchain, AI, IoT and more will serve as the bread and butter of Oman's digital transformation into a “sustainable knowledge society.”
Dubai is working towards achieving Vision 2021. Saudi Arabia is attempting to bring Vision 2030 to life.
Meet Oman Vision 2040.
The Sultanate is firing on all gears, and technology will play a major role in turning the country into a “sustainable knowledge society”, as per the technology-focused Vision 2020 manifesto.
COMEX 2019 (March 17-19), Oman’s biggest technology show, is one step forward towards this goal.
Industry 4.0 takes centre stage
The exhibition's 2019 theme is “Tech Intelligence,” featuring a number of emerging technologies and new initiatives focusing on the Industry 4.0 technologies. Smart cities, blockchain, IoT, and AI are major talking points at this year’s event.
“Free tech talks, smart city conference with focus on Industry 4.0, e-lifestyle featuring cyberwar hackathon, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) zone, gaming area, cyber family awareness zone and smart home technology” are on offer this year, Xinhua news agency reported.
Oman Vision 2040 is guiding an advanced technological infrastructure foundation to transform the economy, and society, and government, and enable all sectors, enterprise application software firm SAP said. As Oman’s organizations digitally transform, the Sultanate’s IT market will grow by 8% to $379.2 million by 2021, according to BMI Research.
“Oman Vision 2040 and strong IT growth show that Oman’s leaders are leading the Sultanate in driving innovation to foster diversified economic growth and job creation in the Digital Economy,” said Waheed Al Hamaid, Managing Director, SAP Oman. “Oman can see the biggest benefit in moving from e-government to digitizing the whole-of-government, with cross-collaboration and AI predicting citizen needs in real-time.”
Tech investments are a priority
Oman has been investing in all kinds of Industry 4.0 technologies.
For its 2019 budget, the Sultanate estimated that total projected spending will amount to $33.5 billion, an increase of 3% against the previous year budget, auditor firm KPMG noted.
Currently, 74% of the country’s revenue is derived from oil sales, the analyst company said.
In 2016, Oman launched a $200 million investment fund dedicated to tech start-ups in the Middle East and across the world.
“The Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a government-owned investment vehicle, established the Oman Technology Fund (OTF) with the long-term view of investing in the technology of the future,” Al Araby reported at the time.
The Information Technology Authority (ITA) has put increasing importance on AI, realizing its significance to the country’s future.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is the backbone of the 4th industrial revolution, according to Dr. Salim bin Sultan Alruzaiqi, CEO of the ITA,” The Oman Times reported him saying last year.
"ITA also predicts that the savings from the implementation of four AI projects in eGovernment transformation will be equivalent to $46.7 million in four years,” he added.
Blockchain is also on the country’s mind
Last month, “Oman’s second largest bank by market value, BankDhofar, [began] using RippleNet technology for cross-border payments to India,” Coin Telegraph reported. RippleNet is a global blockchain-based payment network.
Unlock, a blockchain news platform, reported the following this month: "BSS (Blockchain Solutions and Services LLC), Information Technology Authority (ITA) of Oman, and technology service provider Omantel jointly announced the deployment of the national HyperLedger Fabric Platforms to speed the digital innovation efforts in the Sultanate of Oman."
"Hyperledger Fabric - a permission-based blockchain platform, developed by IBM under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation, holds 52% of all Enterprise Blockchain projects in production, according to a recent HFS research report," Unlock continued.
The country authorized the establishment of a Blockchain Club during the Blockchain Oman Symposium on November 2017, seeking to “inject momentum and awareness for the Omani society about Blockchain as a step for continued future digital transformation,” as per the Club’s official site.