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The term “information technology” (IT) evolved in the 1970s. IT consists of study, design, development, testing and implementation, support or administration of computer information systems, mostly software application and computer hardware.
Recently, it has become popular to broaden the term to include the field of electronic communication so that people tend to use the abbreviation ICT (Information and Communications Technology). ICT is the integration of information processing, computing and communication technologies. ICT is changing the way we live, work, and learn in the society, impacting different aspects such as education, health care, transportation, and other public services. One good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital technology in helping individuals, businesses and organizations use information to be more efficient and productive.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was formed in 2003 with the role of managing all aspects of the telecoms and ICT industries in the UAE. TRA is charged with regulating and enhancing service provision of all types, issuing licenses, and promoting and developing the country as a center for telecommunications and ICT innovation. The TRA also manages the UAE’s ICT Fund, launched in 2007, which serves as a key source of financing for ICT-related developments in the country. Dubai, one of the largest emirates in UAE, is currently at the heart of the seven-year Dubai Plan 2021 (DP2021) that builds on more than 15 years of investment in advanced technology. Together, the government and the private sector have turned Dubai into a center for technological innovation in the Middle East, with the Dubai Smart City (DSC) project a testament to the emirate’s ambitions. The targeted development of a modern technology sector in Dubai began in October 1999. TECOM Investments, a subsidiary of the state-owned firm Dubai Holding, announced the formation of Dubai Internet City (DIC), UAE’s first ICT-focused free zone. When it opened for business in January 2000, DIC attracted an initial group of 100 companies and has grown substantially since then.
The UAE is consistently ranked highly in the world on various ICT-related metrics. According to the ITU, at the end of 2014 the UAE ranked 15th in the world in terms of individuals using the internet, with 90.4% of the population surfing the web. According to the ITU’s ranking of percentage of households with internet in developing countries, the UAE ranked fourth, at 90.1%. UAE ranked first among Arab states and 23rd in the world on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Networked Readiness Index (NRI) in 201. NRI assesses an economy’s capacity to deploy ICT for competitiveness and development. UAE also ranked first in the world on a handful of individual NRI indicators, including ICT use and government efficiency, the importance of ICT to the government’s vision of the future and the impact of ICT on access to basic services. The UAE is still ranked 12th globally in the ICT index, one of the key indicators included in the 2016 Global Innovation Index (GII). The country is the top among the Arab nations and placed 41st worldwide in overall performance. In the ICT Development Index 2017, UAE ranked 40th in the world , which was down from its 34th ranking in 2016.7According to a report in 2017, spending on ICT in the UAE reached $4 billion (Dh14.7 billion) in 2016. It is because of the demands for products and services within the public and private sectors. Because of the increased use of computers in everyday lifestyles and the use of new ICT technologies have led to a high demand for ICT goods and services in the UAE. Interestingly, the need for ICT in Asia and Africa also provides UAE businesses and increased opportunity to sell the products and be able to export them in other places worldwide.
The internet of things is one of the new key trends in UAE ICT technologies. It is being utilized in the logistics sector and it can also be used in other parts of the economy. Another significant trend is creating Smart city solutions and all the technologies that need to be used. Based on Cisco’s estimates, Dubai’s has increased its value of around $4.8 billion by 2019 by implementing IoT in Smart City technologies.
Another significant trend is the use of cloud computing in the UAE. It increased from $51M in 2011 to $381 million in 2016, and the growth rate (CAGR) of 49 per cent over the period. Momentum is also growing in the network security and mobile computing segments. Network security in the UAE has a positive outlook in mobile network security and cloud computing resources. The mobile computing segment in the UAE has an increase in mobile users from about 11.6 million in 2011 to about 19 million in 2016.7
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