Honouring the region’s best technology firms

The achievements of firms — both local and international — and individuals were celebrated at the second IT Weekly Middle East Arab Technology Awards.

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By  Peter Branton Published  November 26, 2006

|~|89IAward-winnersbody.jpg|~|Some of the worthy winners of this year’s IT Weekly Middle East Arab Technology Awards.|~|Nobody working in the region’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry needs to be told just what an important time of year this is. We’re referring of course to the IT Weekly Middle East Arab Technology Awards, which made their second — and now annual — appearance on Sunday, November 19, at the prestigious setting of the Habtoor Grand Hotel in Dubai. Last year’s event honoured some of the best names in the IT industry, from international firms such as Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and IBM to some of the very best regional initiatives. Firms honoured included National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), Emirates Airline, Zamil Industrial Investment Company, Dubai Women’s College and PWC Logistics. There were also individual awards with luminaries such as Salem Al-Shair, eServices director for Dubai eGovernment, awarded for his outstanding contribution to e-government, and Ahmed Abdulkarim, general manager of eCompany awarded for outstanding contribution to internet adoption in the region. This year the awards once again went to some outstanding individuals and companies, but with once crucial difference. This year, we wanted to select the very toughest judging panel possible — the readers of IT Weekly and ITP.net. To make the IT Weekly Arab Technology Awards even bigger and better, IT Weekly enlisted the help of our readers, who voted on the best hardware, software, infrastructure and services firms in the region. As the most widely read weekly business-to-business technology publication in the Middle East, IT Weekly’s readers are perfectly placed to nominate and judge the year’s most prestigious information technology awards. The Awards are designed to recognise and reward the people, products and companies that have contributed to the region’s ICT development. And there has clearly been some impressive development. Anybody who attended the Gitex event last week, would have seen not only the usual halls crammed to the rafters — both with exhibitors and delegates — but also the successful launch this year of Gulfcomms, a dedicated communications technology event. The size and scale of these events, and the number of visitors they attract, are a clear signal as to just how important the Middle East’s ICT industry is. And, what’s more, this importance is truly beginning to have a measurable impact on the way we live our lives in the Middle East. For example, just this month Dubai Municipality announced that it has successfully completed its project to make 90% of all its services available online, a year ahead of schedule, with over 500 services now available online and to date over two million transactions completed electronically. What this means is that we are all operating in one of the most dynamic IT markets in the world. While those from outside the region may still classify the Middle East as a developing IT market, much of the work being carried out here is comparable to more supposedly mature markets. What’s more, the vision of end users firms and the governments in the region far surpass anything on view elsewhere in the world. As such, to achieve recognition in such an industry here in the Middle East is high praise indeed. ||**||The great and the good|~|89DrMoneimebody.jpg|~|The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Dr. Walid Moneimne, senior vice president for Nokia Networks EMEA.|~|The 17 awards we gave out last week went to the best companies in the fields of hardware, software, infrastructure and services, while we also recognised two very special individuals — for outstanding contribution to the ICT industry and for lifetime achievement. Therefore, the great and the good of the Middle East’s information and communications technology industry, gathered together last week to celebrate the IT Weekly Middle East Arab Technology Awards. In the hardware arena, IBM proved to be the winner for Best Business Hardware Company of the Year. HP won our readers vote for Best Consumer Hardware award, Samsung was recognised for specialist hardware, while Dubai-based i-Mate, scooped the award for Best New Hardware Company. In the software category, we saw awards given to some of the biggest names in the IT industry, with Oracle being recognised for Best Business Software Company, beating off strong competition from Microsoft and SAP. However, Microsoft’s clout proved too much for the other contenders in the Consumer Software category. For Specialist Software Symbol Technologies proved to be our readers’ choice while Infosys landed the gong for Best Newcomer. In the networking field, Best Business Networking was won by a firm we can safely call the industry leader Cisco, which also saw its consumer arm Linksys triumph in the Consumer category. For Specialist Networking Company, Motorola proved our readers’ choice, while a firm that set up its Dubai office just six months ago, Netgear, won the Newcomer award. One of the most popular sections was for the ICT services companies, with Itqan scooping the coveted Best Services Company Award, Etisalat Best Specialist, and Integrated Business Technologies (IBT) scooping the plaudits for Best Newcomer. IBT’s partners include HP ProCurve, Juniper Networks, Avaya and Trend Micro. Of the individual awards, our first award was for Outstanding Contribution to Information & Communications Technology. For this award we wanted to recognise the truly remarkable contribution one man has made to the development of the ICT community here in the Middle East. The winner was a man that has already received his fair share of accolades, having received the Microsoft High Distinguished President Award in 1998. He was also a member of the Microsoft Middle East and Africa Leadership Programme. However, today he is the CEO of Tecom Investments and is currently driving the organisation to new heights. The winner was Abdullatif Al Mulla. The final award of the evening was for Life Time Achievement. This year’s winner has spent a large portion of his life bringing IT solutions to the region, and encouraging local enterprises to embrace information technology and reap its benefits. Today, the recipient of our lifetime achievement is busy ensuring Nokia Networks becomes the first port of call for telecoms companies in the region when it comes to infrastructure, as well as continuing to spread the word about the Middle East’s burgeoning technology and communications industry — the winner was Dr. Walid Moneimne, senior vice president for Nokia Networks Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). That concludes our Awards for 2006; we think you will agree with us that we had some very worthy winners indeed. ||**||

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