Independant software vendors

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By  Published  November 17, 2006
Sakhr #1

Sakhr Software has been one of the undisputed pioneers in Arabic natural language processing (NLP) ever since its foundation back in 1982.

The company developed a new generation of Arabic NLP technologies at a time when international software developers were reluctant to sponsor any serious research or development to accommodate a difficult native language such as Arabic. It introduced the world’s first Arabic language home PC — in the hope of boosting IT literacy across the region.

Sakhr Software has since launched a multi-phase research project for the automatic processing of the Arabic language, which culminated in the development of the company’s Arabic Linguistic Engine.

This has formed the basis for a number of other Arabic language technologies, including Corrector — a tool that corrects typed text, the Arabic Searching Engine which has advanced search capabilities (IDRISI), and its Automatic Reader (Arabic Optical Character Recognition) technology.

Sakhr now has an annual regional turnover of US$5million and a headcount of 300 employees in the Middle East with offices in Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE. It has over 50 customers in the Arab World, boasting big names such as the League of Arab States, the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Egypt, and the Interior Ministry in the UAE.

Ducont #2

Established in 2000, local software developer Ducont has taken advantage of the greater market opportunities generated by the liberalisation of the region’s telecoms industry to create Arabic focused applications for mobile devices.

The company’s business focus has been to create its own localised products that are specifically tailored to meet regional market requirements.

Among several firsts, it was the first company in the region to provide Arabic language solutions on wireless devices. Ducont also pioneered mobile e-government solutions in the region, including mobile pre-pay, e-tickets and e-maps.

The success of its products has helped it to a regional turnover of US$4 million and over 150 customers in the region — including major corporations such as banks, financial institutions, and mobile operators.

Ducont implemented an RFID solution for Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Post and its flagship product SMS.companion has been implemented for 100,000 users across Saudi Arabia.

It employs 40 people in the region and operates in all major markets in the Middle East including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, KSA, Qatar and the UAE.

Ducont also has a strong presence in Africa.

Eskadenia #3

Jordan-based Eskadenia Software Solutions provides software solutions for customers in the fields of telecommunications, internet and enterprise.

Established in 2000, Eskadenia is headquartered in Amman and has around 100 employees. The company has additional offices in the UAE, which target wider expansion in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Its services and expertise are designed to help its clients reduce operational costs, increase revenues and improve external and internal communications.

As well as developing billing and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for the telecommunications sector the company has also created its own enterprise resource planning (ERP) and content management systems as well as a number of industry specific products, including its government resource planning software.

Eskadenia has also played an active role in establishing e-government initiatives in the region — building a completed e-chamber software package for the Ammam Chamber of Commerce, for example.

A major deal for the firm this year is with Korek Telecom, a leading telecom operator in the Kurdish part of Iraq, which has selected and started running Eskadenia’s billing and customer relationship management (BCRM) system in Erbil. The deal marks the eighth project for Eskadenia in the area of telecom customer care and billing.

Saudisoft #4

Saudisoft is one of the more distinguished names in the pan-Arabic software market, having worked with global giants such as Microsoft, HP, Nokia and IBM to provide Arabic support for their solutions.

Saudisoft has over 100 government and enterprise customers in the region and has been involved in several major projects including implementing digital archiving solutions for the Saudi Ministry of Information. It has also just designed and implemented a system for the General Traffic Administration at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior to improve the administration of driving licences.

Saudisoft has 120 employees in total across the region, including 25 in Jeddah, 20 in Riyadh, seven in Khobar, 20 in Dubai and 48 in Cairo.

Its expertise lies in localising software products developed by international IT companies and it also works with printer firms such as Citizen and Epson.

Interconnect #5

Founded in 1996 in Beirut, with an objective to provide solutions tailored for the Middle East, Interconnect also now has an office in Dubai.

With a strong presence in the education, financial and training markets, the firm is perhaps best known for bringing technology into classrooms across the region through its “bookless school” solution.

Lauded by Intel as one of the most innovative uses of technology in the education sector globally, its Notebooks 4 Books (N4B) is an integrated e-learning and learning management solution which was first deployed at a school in Dubai.

The solution created a fully integrated academic hub where both teachers and students can share digital content in a wireless enabled environment.

It involved the use of notebook computers and smart boards controlled by the teacher’s PC station replacing the traditional teaching materials. As well as education solutions Interconnect also offers a credit rating solution and risk assessment management tool for the commercial and financial sectors.

Furthermore the firm has developed applications for document management, computer telephony, support services, recruitment, messaging, networking and connectivity and call centres.

Active-Mania #6

Since it was founded in 2001, Active Mania has been at the forefront of driving the digital home concept here in the Middle East, as one of the leading regional providers of digital home, interactive TV and home entertainment solutions.

Active Mania developed the ActiSuite digital home solution and has been a pioneer in developing Arabic digital content. The ActiSuite solution is an interactive TV IP-based applications package that combines traditional TV watching with the interactivity of the internet and a PC. The solution is integrated with Microsoft’s Windows MediaCenter operating system.

Last year the firm became the region’s first digital content aggregator supported by the Intel software network, having worked for a year with a variety of vendors to create a comprehensive library of digital content covering movies, music, news, shopping, financial information, mobile services, and Islamic programmes as well as entertainment programmes.

Active Mania has worked with internet service providers on a global level to deliver its products and services to customers worldwide and its regional ISP alliances include Awalnet (KSA) and Smartlink (Kuwait). The firm has worked with both companies to introduce digital home bundles to the local markets enabling users to enjoy online TV shopping, video conferencing and multiplayer gaming in their own homes.

Amlaki #7

The Middle East’s construction boom has been a boon for Amlaki, creating high demand for its real estate IT solution.

Having tapped into something of a goldmine since it was founded in 2000, the firm’s technology is now used by 400 of the leading industry players in the region, including the Jumeirah Beach Residence and the Dubai Investment Park.

These include Coldwell Banking Real Estate Corporation, with which the firm signed a lucrative deal this year to operate its US$1billion real estate activities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

In 2004 Amlaki also developed the first official real estate search engine for the Dubai e-Government and the Dubai Property Group.

Amlaki provides the real estate industry with technologies for sales and management as well as technical and consultative expertise. In 2003 it merged with the regional facilities management specialist DragonShape to create a combined real estate offering.

Amlaki now has 25 offices throughout the Middle East and has ambitious plans to open 70 offices by the end of 2007. Headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, it has a presence in Bahrain, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia and offices in the UAE.

Idealsoft #8

Founded in 1990, regional company Idealsoft has seen a huge surge in demand in recent years for its biometrics solutions as governments across the world beef up their border controls in line with a worldwide heightening of security levels.

The Jordanian firm, which is part of the Ideal Group, has developed a number of iris recognition applications suitable for large scale, population-wide authentication schemes.

A few years ago it was involved in a groundbreaking project when its proprietary Inmate Tracking System and Iris Farm Architecture (IFA) were used as a backbone for a biometric prisoner-tracking programme in the United Arab Emirates.

This was the first major iris technology implementation in the region and set the tone for other biometric projects in the region, including the e-Gate at Dubai Airport.

In addition to the UAE, Idealsoft also boasts customers in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria. Its head office is in Jordan and it has another office in Saudi Arabia. The firm also plans to open other offices in the region.

Idealsoft has a number of partnership agreements with a selection of international players including Oracle, Microsoft, Iridian Technologies, Identix, Symbol, Megatronics International, CardLogix, Innovonics, Eltron and PSI.

Through its parent company Idealsoft is also a leading player in the INT@J partnership.

SecurSoftware #9

SecurSoftware started out in 1999 as an information security consultant and developer of customised security applications.

The growth in demand for security solutions changed the company’s focus however and it now specialises in off-the-shelf desktop and remote access security applications.

Its solutions range from strong data security applications, to user authentication and password management solutions, data encryption and data shredding facilities.

SecurSoftware also offers application monitoring services and web reporting to enhance the overall security system of an organisation.

The firm is a Microsoft certified partner, as well as an active member in leading international associations.

In the region it has established a strong presence through its involvement with Front Defence — an international security consortium based in Dubai.

Amricon #10

In a world where technology has enabled the development of increasingly sophisticated fraud and forgery techniques, increasingly sophisticated prevention solutions are required to prevent them. Amricon responds to this need with its Smart solutions, which are designed to prevent fraud and reduce forgery offering document security and protection, cheque security, secure passenger travel, parking payment solutions and even the capacity to speed up e-government projects.

This month the firm launched its Amricon Hand Held Document Authentication Solution — a mobile version of its Smart Document solution, which ensures document protection and allows for verification of authenticity using state of the art radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

In May, the firm launched its Unified ID solution, which helps governments leverage their ICT infrastructure by simplifying eGovernment integration.

This year the firm has worked hard to increase its channel partner network across the region and last month announced the appointment of two new channel partners in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — MeduNet in Saudi and Kuwait Digital Computer Company (KDCC) in Kuwait. In July it also appointed NTC as a channel partner in Saudi Arabia.

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