Competition thrives

People thrive

Contents Message from the Secretary General Introduction Progress Toward a Networked Nation Demonstrating Qatar’s e-readiness Ushering in a new era of telecoms competition and choice Building a vital market for ICT ICT in Daily Life Interacting with Qatar’s government Engaging students in exciting ways Benefitting everyone through ICT Empowering persons with disabilities Advancing Qatar’s goal of world-class healthcare for all Protecting Qatar against cyber threats ictQATAR organization 14 16 18 19 20 22 24 4 6 10 1 2

In 2004, ictQATAR was established as the nation’s ICT policy and regulatory body. Its goal is to connect people to technologies that enrich lives, diversify the economy, and inspire confidence in the future. Through its initiatives and partnerships, ictQATAR has built programs to benefit all people in Qatar—from business leaders to students to healthcare practitioners to those with disabilities. By leveraging the power of technology for education, healthcare, government, and the marketplace, Qatar is becoming a more competitive and more equitable society.

2008 Annual Report


The successful integration of information and communication
technology into daily life throughout Qatar came closer to reality in 2008. More and more businesses, schools, government agencies, and families thrived because of ICT. The results are evident everywhere: in classrooms, where the digital curriculum is inspiring students to solve real-world problems with peers around the world; in businesses, where balance sheets are reflecting new markets opened up by the Internet; and in public spaces, where the chorus of ring tones signals more and more consumers connected with friends and families—and enjoying better rates on their calls. This is just the beginning. ictQATAR is developing a national ICT policy that will continue to secure a thriving, diversified economy. The policy will address priorities that include creating a high-speed broadband national network to better connect schools, hospitals, and government organizations to the people they serve; improved interoperability of networks, while promoting a safe user environment; and new standards to lower the environmental damage caused by ICT. We will also continue our work structuring a regulatory climate in which both businesses and individual consumers benefit. It is also our duty to ensure that all segments of the population benefit from advancements in ICT. We are empowering women to enter the skilled ICT workforce and helping the unemployed and elderly contribute to society in new ways. As part of our commitment to enriching the lives of those with disabilities, we are opening the Assistive Technology Center, where anyone with a disability can find out what ICT resources are available to them. Together, we will build a stronger Qatar, one defined by innovation and good ideas.
Dr. Hessa Sultan Al-Jaber
Secretary General of ictQATAR



The year 2008 was marked by momentum on many fronts. More parents are involved in their children’s day-to-day educational progress. Business leaders are boosting performance and revenue. And more than 300 online services can be accessed anytime, anywhere, through Qatar’s online government portal Hukoomi. And because of round-the-clock vigilance by a team of international cyber security experts, children and adult users are safer on the Internet. The world is noticing ictQATAR’s progress. The Global Information Technology Report 2008–2009, produced by the World Economic Forum in cooperation with INSEAD, ranked Qatar 29th of 134 nations in the Networked Readiness Index—rising from 32nd place in last year’s Index. The work is far from over. The results of Qatar’s ICT Landscape ’09 report show that all stakeholders must accelerate efforts to adopt technology in order to realize Qatar’s vision of a diverse, flexible economy that advances the welfare of all. To that end, ictQATAR is developing a comprehensive ICT policy for the entire nation that will be ratified at the cabinet level. With broad input from stakeholders throughout the country, the policy will guide initiatives in education, healthcare, market development, regulatory affairs, and the environment.

Progress toward a networked nation



Demonstrating Qatar’s e-readiness
The Global Information Technology Report 2008–2009, produced by the World Economic Forum in cooperation with INSEAD, reflects Qatar’s steady march toward ICT adoption. In the report’s Networked Readiness Index, Qatar rose to 29th among 134 nations from the previous year’s ranking of 32nd among 127 nations. In 2005–2006, the first year Qatar was included in this global assessment, the country ranked 39th in the report’s Networked Readiness Index. The Index is the world’s most comprehensive international assessment of the impact of ICT on nations’ development and international competitiveness. The 134 developed and developing economies surveyed in the 2008–2009 report account for more than 98 percent of world GDP. The Networked Readiness Index examines how countries use ICT in three areas: general business, regulatory, and infrastructure environment for ICT; readiness of government, individuals, and businesses to use and benefit from ICT; and the actual usage of available ICT by these stakeholder groups. The report

underscores that good education fundamentals, innovation, and wide ICT access are key to nations’ social growth and economic competitiveness. After four years of advancing ICT use in Qatar, ictQATAR commissioned its own report to analyze the state of ICT in Qatar and to determine the pace at which segments crucial to the growth of a knowledge-based economy are adopting ICT—residents, government, and business. Researchers also studied ICT adoption in the fields of education, healthcare, tourism, and workforce development. From June through October, 2008, Madar Research interviewed more than 4,800 people in Qatar and compared the results to existing studies of countries throughout the world. The resulting comprehensive report, Qatar’s ICT Landscape 2009, is the country’s first survey-based ICT study. The study shows that in just a few years, Qatar has made steady progress in ICT adoption. The country is well on its way to building an information-based society. Based on combined performance in basic ICT indicators such as the number of computer users, Internet users, and subscribers to broadband Internet and mobile and fixed line telephones, ICT adoption in Qatar places the country among the best three in the Arab region.

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Connecting businesses to one another and the world
But the study also found that three important stakeholder groups—government, business, and residents—are not equal in their level of ICT adoption. Residents, excluding transient workers, performed better in overall ICT indicators than government and business. Of the three groups, businesses have the most progress to make. The lack of ICT skills is the largest barrier to widespread ICT adoption, especially among small businesses. As ictQATAR worked in 2008 to address challenges raised in the report, offices and departments sought valuable input from leaders throughout the world. Through international memberships and partnerships, ictQATAR is ensuring its programs and projects are world-class while sharing its own insights in a global ICT forum. ictQATAR is a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, GCC Ministers of ICT, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, and the Internet Governance Forum, among others. ictQATAR has also signed memorandums of understanding with numerous foreign governments and international corporations.
Marketing grows businesses. That was the essence of ictQATAR’s second Business Connect seminar, “Realizing the Power of e-Marketing.” More than 150 managers from small and medium-sized businesses learned about e-marketing techniques that have the power to maximize business results, beginning with the creation of a company website.



Ushering in a New Era of Telecoms Competition and Choice
In 2008, ictQATAR achieved one of its earliest goals when telecommunications liberalization opened the mobile market to competition. ictQATAR issued a license to Vodafone Qatar QSC (Vodafone Qatar), and after a careful, ordered, and transparent process, Vodafone Qatar was also awarded the second fixed license. All consumers should benefit from better value, as well as the accelerated innovation of advanced products and services demanded by a growing, diverse economy. Qatar’s telecommunications liberalization has three primary objectives: 1. Foster an efficient telecommunications sector to kkbenefit society 2. Create a showcase for successful sector reform 3. Provide a sustainable business environment To achieve these goals, ictQATAR is committed to facilitating wide availability of advanced next generation broadband services. These networks and services will allow for delivery of more robust services to business and government, allowing organizations of all kinds to provide a richer, fuller experience to online customers and visitors. Advanced next generation broadband is of particular importance to education and health, areas where immediate responses

and interactivity are important. And for the business community, these services will be central to competitiveness. In 2010, ictQATAR will conduct a comprehensive Strategic Sector Review of the telecommunications sectors. This review will determine the state of competition in Qatar; whether additional operators in the market or regulatory measures would advance that competition; and what structural changes, if any, would benefit consumers and the market. Regulatory Framework In its role as regulator with a consumer protection mandate, ictQATAR is developing a full regulatory framework to advance healthy market competition conditions and ensure that consumers can exercise their rights in a competitive market. The Regulatory Framework includes elements to ensure development of markets and competition.
Dominance Designation

In keeping with best practices from around the world, ictQATAR analyzed its telecommunications markets to see if any service providers had dominance over another. ictQATAR determined Qtel was a dominant service provider in fifteen retail and wholesale markets, including, among others, access to mobile and fixed networks, international telecommunications services, broadband services, access to network facilities, and call origination and termination.

2008 Annual Report


Abuse of market dominance of one provider over another inhibits competition and harms consumers. With ictQATAR’s designation of Qtel as a dominant service provider in 15 markets, a range of legal obligations and remedies under the Telecommunications Law and Telecommunications Licenses were triggered. Market dominance designation also mandates that tariffs for telecommunications services provided by dominant service providers should be based on the cost of providing efficient service under the Regulatory Accounting System. ictQATAR will continue to monitor the 15 markets to determine whether any changes in Qtel’s market power have occurred and also to ensure compliance with dominance requirements.
Interconnection Agreement and Rate Determination

Tariff Approval

Licenses issued to Qtel and Vodafone Qatar state that for companies designated as a dominant service provider in specific markets, prior approval from ictQATAR is required for a tariff or any change to a tariff at least 28 days before the proposed effective date. For Licensees that are not dominant service providers, tariffs must be submitted to ictQATAR no later than the date on which the tariff is scheduled to go into effect ictQATAR has 21 days to approve or object to the tariff. If it objects, ictQATAR can order its suspension, modification or withdrawal. In all cases, companies must notify customers at least 21 days in advance of any tariff involving a price increase.
Billing Instructions

After receiving its Mobile Telecommunications License in June, 2008, Vodafone Qatar submitted interconnection and access requests to Qtel for telecommunications services and facilities. The terms of Vodafone’s and Qtel’s licenses state that if such requests are not settled within 60 days, matters may then be submitted to ictQATAR with a request for determination. In November 2008, Vodafone Qatar submitted a number of unresolved issues to ictQATAR. Determinations were subsequently made on interconnection charges (mobile termination rate, fixed termination rate, and SMS termination rate), access to and use of international landing station facilities in Qatar, and access to and use of in-building telecommunications infrastructure.

Clear, accurate bills for products and services are a hallmark of a liberalized market. Because billing methods were a source of frequent consumer dissatisfaction, ictQATAR proposed draft billing instructions for providers to follow. ictQATAR’s goal was to help customers understand bills, identify billing errors, and avoid erroneous charges.
Licensing Framework

Effective licensing fosters a healthy telecommunications sector by controlling market entry, furthering competition, protecting consumers’ interests, and managing national scarce resources such as radio



frequencies and numbers. Public consultations were planned on a licensing framework that includes class licensing for resellers and private networks. The new framework will address business and market needs and align licensing practices with the Telecommunications Law.
Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Liberalization


Since telephone numbers are a scarce resource, ictQATAR developed a National Numbering Plan to ensure availability of numbers in Qatar for years to come. ictQATAR carried out reviews through 2008 of the use of numbers in the country. The reviews highlighted the need for strictly regulated procedures for allocating numbers ictQATAR allocated Qtel additional numbers in the 3xxxxxx range. The newly licensed second mobile operator, Vodafone Qatar, was allocated the 7xxxxxx range. Number portability is a licensing requirement for Qtel and Vodafone Qatar. ictQATAR has established a Numbering Plan Coordination Committee to assist the providers with portability implementation. As the population continues to grow, the Committee will also examine whether there will be a need to increase the length of telephone numbers from 7 digits to a higher number.
Spectrum Allocation and Management

VSAT is a system of using satellites to provide telecommunications services, including Internet. This system is critical for the oil and gas industry, especially offshore rigs. Individual licensees such as Qtel and Vodafone Qatar are authorized to provide VSAT services and operate a VSAT network. There is also high demand from businesses for the ability to purchase VSAT services from other providers. ictQATAR intends to launch a VSAT license application process so interested applicants can apply for a VSAT license to own and operate a VSAT network and provide services.

Type Approval

Service providers and suppliers of telecommunications equipment in Qatar must ensure the equipment is used safely without causing long- or short-term damage to the network. ictQATAR intends to propose standards and processes for such telecommunications equipment to reduce the possibility of network damage or interference, as well as compliance with the Frequency Allocation Plan.

Radio frequency spectrum is a finite resource of vital importance to Qatar. Spectrum management is key to linking Qatar with the global digital economy and sustaining long-term economic growth. Successful spectrum management also supports national defense and programs promoting social welfare, inclusion, and protection. As the national regulatory authority responsible for radio frequency management, ictQATAR has reorganized radio spectrum to meet current and future

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Informing and educating consumers

ictQATAR is reaching out to consumers across Qatar to inform them of their rights in a competitive market.

requirements. ictQATAR is developing a spectrum management strategic plan for Qatar that will enable the efficient allocation of spectrum to foster growth of competitive spectrum-dependent industries such as terrestrial and satellite-based digital media. The plan will address the growth of broadband and packetswitched networks, increase of end-use mobility, and the need to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting in order to free spectrum for new applications.
Consumer Protection and Fair Trading

Consumers can also call a hotline phone number for help with complaints and disputes (+974-499-5353). Public Consultations Engage Stakeholders and implement Transparency ictQATAR is dedicated to the principle that those who will be affected by regulatory rules and policy should have a voice in how regulation is implemented. Since its inception, ictQATAR’s work has been characterized by open, public participation in the regulatory process. Involving stakeholders through public consultations helps ensure the regulatory process is balanced and effective in practice. In 2008, ictQATAR held public consultations on corporate tariffs and billing guidelines. Several other public consultations will follow in 2009.

Competition leads to benefits that can be passed on to consumers. ictQATAR has a legal mandate under the Telecommunications Law to ensure those benefits are actually passed on. In 2008, ictQATAR launched a series of consumer protection and fair trading initiatives based on the legal obligation of licensed service providers to their customers. ictQATAR published information about consumer rights and responsibilities, and created a consumer email address (HYPERLINK"mailto:consumervoice@"


Innovative ways to gather and share news
Nearly 200 reporters, communications professionals, and students attended “Media Connected,” ictQATAR’s forum for journalists. Speakers and panelists agreed that journalism is neither dead nor dying, but is instead evolving almost overnight because of technology. When news cycles are constant and mobile phones can capture breaking news photos, ordinary people increasingly play a role in relaying news to the world. Speakers at the event included the Economist’s Tom Standage and Leonard Brody, CEO of NowPublic, the world’s largest citizen news company. Among the panelists discussing the future of new media were representatives from Al-Jazeera Network, Al-Jazeera Talk, Arab Advisors Group, BBC Arabic, and Northwestern University-Qatar.

Building a vital market for ICT
Businesses of all sizes need to be positioned to benefit from the opportunities that globalization presents. ictQATAR is working to raise awareness of technology’s crucial role in business growth and improving effectiveness of government agencies and non-profit organizations. Customer-driven businesses and entrepreneurs must integrate technology into what they do in order to grow and thrive. ictQATAR in 2008 established a Market Development Department. The Department fosters innovation and technological change by addressing both supply and demand.

The Department works to:

• • • •

Attract foreign companies to establish a presence or invest in Qatar Help grow existing companies and incubate new business ventures Accelerate awareness of the business benefits of ICT Nurture a knowledge-sharing culture across government

The Market Development Department is also exploring global sectors that are positioned to be high-growth markets. The Department will determine which of these sectors present opportunities for Qatar to compete and thrive—such as development of ICT applications for energy efficiency.

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Nurturing involvement of Arab women in technology
ictQATAR hosted a workshop—“Advancing Arab Women in Technology: Strategy Made Reality”—that brought together more than 40 leading women in technology from throughout the Arab world and the United States. The purpose of the workshop was to advance plans to create the Center for Women and Technology for the Arab Region. The Center will serve as an important resource for supporting women’s involvement in the knowledge society, helping to ensure that girls and women are prepared to compete for rewarding, high-paying jobs in the technology sector.

A cornerstone of economic development is the success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They create jobs, increase regional competitiveness, improve the community, and diversify the nation’s economy. The Market Development Department analyzes the ICT sector to determine what needs SMEs can meet, and what kind of capacity SMEs offer. SMEs’ products and services can then be matched to the demand of the marketplace. To help Qatar’s SMEs market themselves regionally and internationally, ictQATAR developed Fahras Qatar, an online business directory. Fahras Qatar,, allows potential partners, investors, customers, and vendors to view information about companies throughout Qatar, including contact information, location, product offerings, and special promotions. The directory guides foreign investors

exploring opportunities in Qatar while allowing local enterprises to promote their value beyond Qatar. Collaborative tools, such as chat, voice text, a regular newsletter, and videos have been incorporated to enhance the Fahras Qatar experience. Over the next year, ictQATAR will add exciting new services to help Qatari SMEs compete. An innovation center will incubate entrepreneurs and their start-up companies for the crucial initial years. ictQATAR will nurture small companies through this period, providing mentoring as well as brick-and-mortar support, until they are ready to enter the marketplace. Over the past few years, Qatar’s ICT sector has progressed rapidly. The country has made enormous strides in developing and implementing ambitious ICT programs and projects. But currently, Qatar



suffers from a dearth of people possessing specific technological skills needed to ensure success of these efforts. In order to build domestic IT capabilities, entrepreneurship, and to develop SMEs throughout the country, ictQATAR launched Malomatia, a company that delivers high-quality, specialized IT services in education, government, healthcare, and the private sector. Malomatia’s efforts will increase the level of entrepreneurship in the IT sector and help it manage a constantly evolving environment. Malomatia plans to become a publicly traded company with the goal of expanding its services regionally.

ICT in daily life



Interacting with Qatar’s government
Since 2006, a nationwide effort has been under way to make government more effective and responsive to the people it serves. This modernization effort, i-Gov, integrates and streamlines all services provided by government agencies into a unified system. The goal is to make all government interactions, information, and transaction services available electronically through a single access point for all users. Integration and standardization of all government systems, infrastructure, and processes will help achieve this goal. Government entities have come together to advance this sweeping reform. A new model of collaboration involving the highest levels of government and a broad range of stakeholders improves the chances of the program’s success. This strong governance model also allows for the participation of end-users in decisionmaking processes and has resulted in a heightened state of government e-readiness. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2008– 2009, Qatar ranks 22nd in government readiness in areas such as government prioritization of ICT, government procurement of advanced technology products, and importance of ICT to government’s vision of the future. In government usage of ICT, Qatar ranks 25th. To foster data communications across government, ictQATAR is creating a government network to directly connect Qatar’s government over a secure

communications platform. Linking government agencies safely and reliably is integral to streamlining processes, reducing inefficiencies, and providing enhanced security for e-services. By standardizing connectivity between government agencies, the government network will allow higher utilization of bandwidth than currently available—especially benefitting the health and education sectors. Information between hospitals and from doctor to doctor will be sent much faster through the network, enhancing patient care and confidentiality. Schools will also be better connected to one another and to parents. Qtel will build and host the network. In 2008, ictQATAR launched Hukoomi, a single portal for all government transactions. Citizens, residents, and visitors conducted 1.4 million fast, easy transactions by the end of 2008 through Hukoomi. More than 300 information services and more than 60 transaction services are currently available and accessible online. In 2009, a comprehensive usability evaluation of Hukoomi was initiated to ensure users are getting the government service and information access they need as effectively as possible. Following completion of the usability evaluation, Hukoomi will be enhanced to bring users new helpful services and features, and provide new channels and points of access for the site, bringing government closer to its constituents. Through the Hukoomi portal, businesses of all sizes can take part in an automated government e-tendering system. Launched in December with two pilot agencies, government e-procurement enables the whole

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Campaign to CLICK
tendering process, from evaluation to selection, to take place online. Throughout 2009–10, the system will be rolled out to other agencies. In addition to making tendering more transparent, the online system will increase efficiency by making it easier to update tenders and submit documents. In 2008, development of a new service was started to provide essential information to residents and businesses about customs clearance procedures. This efficient and transparent customs clearance initiative will be automated, paper-free, and streamlined. An additional benefit to the new system will be one-stop servicing for trade declaration approvals. In an effort to make government more responsive, a government contact center was also established. People can reach any government entity by email, phone, or fax through a single point of contact. Each government agency will retain its own support and customer service, and the government contact center will connect the public with the right service. The contact center will also provide support for Hukoomi’s online services. The future will bring more automated services. The i-Gov program is in various stages of designing and implementing new services, including recruitment services and business setup services. A total of 17 i-Gov initiatives are currently in progress and an additional 12 are planned for launch in 2010.
ictQATAR is running a public awareness campaign along Doha’s streets, in government buildings, and on government websites encouraging people to take advantage of the time-saving, efficient government information and transaction services on Hukoomi—with a click!


Sharing best practices from around the world
More than 500 school leaders and teachers gathered in March 2009 for a two-day conference, “Exploring ICT in Education.” ictQATAR partnered with the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar to bring speakers from around the world to Qatar, including experts from Australia, the UK, United States, and South Africa, among others, to discuss best practices for integrating technology in the education process in schools. Schools from Qatar shared their experiences in using technology in the classroom and attendees participated in hands-on workshops.

Engaging students in exciting ways
Building a world-class education system is critical to Qatar’s progress. And at every grade level, ICT helps students learn more creatively and effectively. Beyond traditional classrooms, technology enables students to gain new knowledge and skills. Together with the Supreme Education Council (SEC), ictQATAR engaged with school administrators, teachers, and parents to look for the most effective ways to integrate ICT into the learning process. An array of e-education programs and projects means more creative, stimulating, and innovative K–12 classrooms as well as opportunities for adults to strengthen their technology skills. The ultimate goal is to achieve ICT-integrated independent schools that improve students’ and teachers’ performance.

Knowledge Net In partnership with the SEC, a three-way portal allows students, teachers, and parents to share information and catch up with a few clicks on the keyboard. With personalized single sign-on and password protection, all members of the education community obtain immediate, private access to information and communications applications. Those logged into Knowledge Net (K-Net) can review lessons, study guides, and homework assignments, and communicate directly or through chats and discussion boards. In 2008, the SEC and ictQATAR launched the second phase of the project, with 37 independent schools— and more than 40,000 individual users—now participating. Phase Two rolled out new features that will improve the experience of all users and support student achievement. A teacher’s section now allows classroom leaders to collaborate and exchange

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Technology lives!
Children and young adults had an opportunity to “Live Technology” in June, 2008 and experience firsthand the benefits of ICT. ictQATAR, along with iSpot and RasGas, hosted an interactive exhibition at the Villaggio Mall as part of its Promise of e campaign. Designed for children ages 6 to 16, the exhibition provided an opportunity to see, hear, and feel the latest technologies. Attendees participated in games, competitions, and hands-on lessons and demonstrations. iSpot and RasGas donated computers, drawing pads, art supplies, gifts, and prizes for the exhibition. The iSpot team also trained children on how to use the new Mac iLife program in order to create movies, interactive presentations, and online drawings.

lessons and experiences. A section for parents lets them access student and school data. Additional training was also provided to teachers to assist them in integrating K-Net into their teaching.

Digital Oasis Schools In partnership with the SEC, a pilot program is under way at four independent schools—two middle schools and two high schools—to drive classroom innovation and creativity. These schools, Digital Oasis Schools, are integrating technology in teaching and learning to improve student outcomes and enhance the quality of the student experience. These schools will become a model for all schools in Qatar. The main objective of the Digital Oasis schools is the development and delivery of a learning environment that combines the latest proven technology with progressive teaching practices to create the best possible outcomes for all learners in schools.

The Digital Oasis schools are achieving results by providing learners with a range of opportunities to learn in a way that meets their individual needs, setting targets for student attainment based on international standards. Students and teachers have access to appropriate technologies and information to support student learning. Best practices are disseminated across the network of independent schools in a way that enhances the quality of learning in all schools.



Benefitting everyone through ICT
Everyone is entitled to equal access to the technologies that can enrich their lives. To help develop an ICT-skilled workforce that can succeed in a knowledge economy, ictQATAR launched its e-Inclusion program in 2008. The program gives priority to disadvantaged demographic groups, especially women, retirees, and citizens with special needs. The program’s goal is to elevate Qatar to the third level of e-maturity as defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. E-maturity takes into account the degree to which citizens are familiar with technology and the extent to which they use its applications in daily life. Through 2009, the e-Inclusion program will develop policies and procedures, strategic partnerships with government agencies and the private sector, and launch a national e-skills initiative.

e-Literacy ICDL, the largest purveyor of computer skills certification, provides computer training opportunities to adults of all skill levels. In 2008, more than 1,200 men and women participated in ICDL training to improve their computing skills. Nearly 500 trainees were non-working women, thanks to the collaboration of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, and nearly 500 were doctors and nurses at Hamad Medical Corporation. In collaboration with the Institution of Administration Development, government and private sector employees and non-working adults have the chance to advance their careers without leaving their desk. The e-Learning Portal offers users more than 4,000 online interactive courses that can each be completed in less than four hours. Employees in government, the non-profit sector, and underserved populations benefit from audio and video simulations and demonstrations in 29 discrete subject areas. These subjects include computer skills, marketing, leadership, team-building, and stress management. Easy to navigate, the courses are offered in English, Arabic, and French.

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Toward fairness and equality Empowering persons with disabilities
ictQATAR is implementing programs and policies to ensure the promise of technology is for everyone. By connecting people with disabilities to technologies that will improve their lives, ictQATAR is helping those with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities engage more fully in society—in school, work, and civic life. The entire community benefits as a result of fuller engagement. In 2008, as part of ictQATAR’s commitment to provide universal access to people with disabilities, was enhanced to fully comply with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Level AA accessibility standards. ictQATAR’s goal is to offer a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive impairments. Working closely with the website’s developers, the upgrade featured a full review of the existing website code, updating items such as navigation links and alternative image names. Multimedia content will be accompanied by text descriptions to ensure that all users will be able to understand the audio or visual content, regardless of their impairments. Further upgrades were also made to the content management system used to maintain the site to ensure that all future content is AA accessible.
In December 2008, ictQATAR marked International Day for Persons with Disabilities by sponsoring a forum on assistive technologies. Technologies for the visually impaired were showcased, and a panel addressed the needs and aspirations of the disabled.



“Connected Speakers” share ideas
To address some of the hottest issues on how technology is changing our lives, ictQATAR is bringing global and regional thought leaders to Qatar. As part of the Connected Speakers Series, the first speaker was INSEAD professor Soumitra Dutta. Dr. Dutta shared insights from his latest book, Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom. He discussed how businesses must be prepared to embrace a socially networked generation. Dr. Soumitra also addressed the Web 2.0 revolution and how social networking is changing the way we work, communicate, and play.

This year, ictQATAR also established the Assistive Technology Working Group, a team of individuals representing corporations and organizations committed to improving life for persons with disabilities. The Working Group includes representation of the Shafallah Center, the Al-Noor Institute for the Blind, and the Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of People with Special Needs. One direct result of the Working Group’s efforts is the recently announced plan to create a Center for Assistive Technology. The Center will be a non-profit organization devoted to ensuring that persons with disabilities in Qatar have access to the technology that will enrich their lives. The Center will bring together key industry partners and will serve as a catalyst for research and development of assistive technologies, create public awareness around best practices, and coordinate existing efforts in Qatar.

Advancing Qatar’s goal of world-class healthcare for all
Qatar is investing in a state-of-the-art healthcare system to ensure excellent patient care and enhanced clinician efficiency. Information and communication technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, and ictQATAR’s e-Health program is working to bring such benefits to Qatar’s medical community. In collaboration with its national partners, the Supreme Council of Health and Hamad Medical Corporation, ictQATAR is implementing a national e-health strategy that will allow for a coordinated healthcare system in both primary and secondary care. As part of this strategy, ictQATAR developed an ICT infrastructure blueprint for new hospitals in Qatar, so that the latest technologies will be seamlessly integrated.

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Keeping connected
Every month, ictQATAR sends more than 4,000 subscribers a bilingual electronic newsletter filled with news and trends about the impact of ICT in Qatar and the region. The audience includes business and non-profit leaders and managers, the education community, regulators, IT professionals, and government employees—all learning how technology can improve their work and personal lives.

To deliver many of the national e-health projects, including the electronic health record (EHR) and picture archive and communications system (PACS), a fast, reliable, and secure network is required. The healthcare system in Qatar will be one of the primary users of ictQATAR’s government network currently under construction. The EHR will provide a central point for sharing of important patient information in a timely manner—often providing the crucial seconds needed to save lives. PACS will allow for the easy sharing and quick access to digital medical images, such as x-rays and radiology images. ictQATAR is also working closely with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) on the implementation of its e-health strategy. HMC currently provides nearly 85 percent of patient care in Qatar. As part of HMC’s strategy, a voice dictation system was introduced, allowing medical information to be recorded correctly, reducing the chances for mistakes in treatment. With the first phase of the new system completed and 500

doctors trained in its use, inpatient and outpatient departments are using a fully integrated transcription service that captures medical data in a standard format that matches local and GCC requirements. By the end of 2009, the emergency room at the HMC main hospital will showcase state-of-the-art technology at work, providing doctors and healthcare providers with nearly instant information to make crucial clinical decisions. As a result of faster processes, emergency room patients will benefit from a better experience while healthcare workers and clinicians have the information they need, at the moment they need it. ictQATAR will provide strategic direction and guidance to the health information technology team at Sidra Medical and Research Center as it transitions into a state-of-the-art digital facility. Sidra will be the first academic medical center in the region offering specialty care for women and children.



Protecting Qatar against cyber threats
In Qatar, information security and safety of online users is paramount. To that end, the Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team (Q-CERT), the country’s center for information security, is at the heart of ictQATAR’s comprehensive National Information Assurance Program to safeguard the country’s information systems and data. Q-CERT works with the private and public sectors to protect Qatar’s infrastructure and to immediately address security incidents when they occur. Q-CERT also helps identify and solve issues that may threaten an organization’s internal security. Q-CERT has developed a framework of policies and standards for information privacy and protection of critical information infrastructure. These crucial systems keep the country operating—finance and banking, water supply, healthcare facilities, telecommunications, and government. Q-CERT is holding

working group meetings for IT leaders and managers in key industries to improve understanding of national security risks. It also provides training in how to obtain and preserve digital evidence of cybercrime. No nation functions alone in our global economy. Q-CERT collaborates with peer organizations throughout the region and the world to discover risks originating elsewhere, and to share expertise, challenges, ideas, and successes. A priority for ictQATAR is protecting children on the Internet. In collaboration with the Supreme Education Council, ictQATAR sponsors workshops for educators in both Arabic and English. Driven by the goal of promoting security awareness, the workshops help teachers develop ways to present security concerns to students in an age-appropriate fashion. Teachers also learn how to partner with families to protect children in cyberspace. Looking ahead, ictQATAR will work with the SEC, the Supreme Council of Family Affairs, and the ITU to create cyber curricula for schools, designed to help teachers and learners use the Internet safely.

Engaging through social media
With Web 2.0 and social media transforming the way people interact and communicate, ictQATAR has become involved in a wide array of social networks. Active in 14 social media outlets in both English and Arabic, ictQATAR has built a network of more than 1,400 friends on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Friends receive the latest ictQATAR news, events, and technology trends. They have become part of the greater ICT community in Qatar, often initiating their own technology-related conversations, commenting on policies and “re-tweeting” ictQATAR tweets to their network of friends. A number of friends even send tweets in real time from ictQATAR events. Photos from events are uploaded to Flickr. Photos as well as news and updates are promoted and shared virally through Digg and Delicious sites. Videos of ictQATAR events, exclusive interviews with thought leaders, advertisements and public service announcements are posted to YouTube and then promoted through a variety of other social networks. Based on the quality of its content, ictQATAR was granted a special exception to include longer videos online by YouTube, one of the few organizations in Qatar with this exception. ictQATAR is also tapping into the rich online communities that already exist in Qatar, such as Qatar Living. News of ictQATAR often shows up on the homepage of this most-visited site in the country. And participation on Qatar Shares, a widely visited online Arabic forum, drives people to ictQATAR’s website.



ictQATAR organization
ictQATAR is structured to reflect its key functions, enabling it to best realize Qatar’s ICT vision, strategy, and master plan. The Secretary General leads ictQATAR, with a board of directors responsible for overseeing policy, performance, and compliance with laws and regulations.
Finance Strategic Planning
Legal Advisor

Secretary General

Internal Audit

Communication Office Human Capital and Administration

2008 Annual Report


Technical Affairs Legal Policy and Economic Regulatory Authority

Government Information Management Office

Policy and Program

Government IT Operations

Government IT Platforms

Cyber Safety and Security

ICT Development Programs

e-Education e-Health e-Inclusion

Market Development and Knowledge Management ICT Sector Development Knowledge Management Infrastructure Development Enterprise Development

ictQATAR is located in Al Nasr Tower, Al Corniche Street, Doha - Qatar Phone: +974-499-5333 Fax: +974-493-5913 Email: P.O. Box: 23264 Doha, Qatar

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