09 Apr


5 Hot Tech Stories from the Past Three Months


The first quarter of 2014 was full of tech events, with Ellen breaking Twitter with her star studded Oscar Selfie, and the public helping find the lost Malaysian airplane. The three first months of the year also saw some tech developments in the Middle East. So as always, a new issue of the Digital Digest is here to sum up the story. You can see the full report at the bottom of this post – or scroll down for our highlights.

1. First ever Arabic platform for selling digital goods


Asnad, the first ever of its kind in the region, allows people to buy and sell “digital goods” like e-books, computer and mobile apps, web scripts, games, video and audio scripts and digital art.

2. Will you soon see delivery drones in the UAE?

The UAE government intends to start using aerial drones to deliver ID cards and driving licenses to residents of the country. This reminds me of an earlier report we prepared that predicted an increased use of drones this year. Let’s see how many more predictions come true.

3. Ambulances in Qatar to control traffic lightsambulance

A new technology will be installed in all ambulances allowing them to change traffic lights. This should facilitate smoother emergency rescues and potentially reduce life threatening delays.

4. Google Street View is coming to the Middle East

Pretty soon, Google’s cars will roam the streets of Dubai, the first Middle Eastern city to host the mapping service which allows people to get a “street view” when clicking on a Google Map. In fact some people have already spotted them. Which city do you think is going to be next?

5. Twitter brings trend locations to the Middle Easttrends

Finding out what the popular hashtags will never be simpler, with new locations in Qatar, three locations in Egypt and five in Saudi Arabia. Want to know the other countries on this list? Click here!


Want more stories like these? Explore the full Digest here:

08 Apr


Microsoft Support for Windows XP to End Today


winxpproAs you probably know, Microsoft decided to end its support for its operating system Windows XP today after more than 12 years. As of tomorrow, technical assistance and security updates for Windows XP will no longer be provided by Microsoft. We thought it would be useful to share this crucial information with Digital Qatar readers.

Although computers running Windows XP will continue to work, users and enterprises using Windows XP will be more vulnerable to security risks as the rate of malware infection for Windows XP is expected to increase substantially following the end of the support date. Continue Reading

06 Apr


Access For All – Bridging Qatar’s Digital Divide


Editor’s Note: This blog has been contributed by Patricia Quinn, Senior ICT Adoption Specialist from the ICT & Society Division of the Ministry of Information & Communications Technology.

LSWAre you living away from home? How do you keep in touch with loved ones back home? Is it through your smartphone, laptop or desktop computer? Not everyone has access to a computer or fast speed Internet, but all that is about to change with the new plans laid out by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Through an extensive survey, a number of social groups with limited Internet access were identified by the Ministry, one of those groups were low-skilled migrant workers.  

There are almost half a million migrant workers living in Qatar who not only have a lack of familiarity with the Internet but also may not have the right facilities to access the Internet. One of the major factors of this limited access is down to the cost of equipment; however the survey indicated that 84% of those surveyed were interested in participating in computer and Internet training programs.

As part of the plans implemented by the Ministry to improve access to technology for low skilled workers, various projects were developed such as providing training programs and computer rooms in accommodation locations with relevant content in their community languages.

Continue Reading

26 Mar


Telecommunication Regulatory Conference Keynote: Technology Push vs Demand Pull?


DSC_5291 (Large)I had the brilliant opportunity to meet Professor Laurent Benzoni, Founder of TERA Consultant, France, and Professor of Economics at Sorbonne University, at the most appropriate place – at the first annual Telecommunications Regulatory Conference organized by the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) at the Four Seasons Hotel, earlier today.

Professor Benzoni gave a keynote speech at the conference, titled “Next Generation of Fixed Broadband Network and Services: Challenges and Opportunities”. He started the keynote by talking about the evolution of the increasing use of information by human brings since 3.5 million years ago. It was truly an amazing journey to see how the information usage has been increasing as humans evolved with tools, machinery, writing, industrial revolution, printing, and so on.

From this evolution, Professor Benzoni discussed the correlation between gross domestic product and telephone penetration. The higher the GDP, he said, the higher the penetration of landline telephone. In the same direction, the contribution of information technologies to GDP almost doubled in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the 90s, when liberalization polices broke the existing telecom monopolies. The result is there for all to see – an incredible development of Internet and mobile! Continue Reading

25 Mar


What’s up with WhatsApp


facebook-whatsapp-funny-comics-1098287Why would Facebook buy WhatsApp for $19 billion? Was I the only person to gasp when the announcement was made? Given that there were hundreds of articles surrounding the story, I have a feeling I wasn’t the only one in shock.

Although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the WhatsApp deal was a bargain, others thought differently. CNN, GQ and Gizmodo all made hilarious suggestions for other things Facebook could have bought with that much money, like four World Trade Centers for example and a Bugatti for all 6,337 Facebook employees each.

But all jokes aside, what drove Facebook to spend that much on a chat app? Here’s what I think:

Huge uptake

Chat apps are growing massively. WhatsApp alone has +450 million active users worldwide. Japanese Line has over 340 million users (80% outside of Japan). Others like WeChat, Kakao Talk, Viber and Tango all have millions of users of their own, and it only seems like those numbers are getting bigger and bigger. Continue Reading