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Bahrain is poised to benefit from ICT trends says expert

MANAMA: Bahrain being a pioneer in adopting latest information and communication technology (ICT) is poised to benefit from emerging trends, a top industry official has asserted.

  Source Gulf Daily News
  Reference http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=351389

In an exclusive interview to the GDN, Microsoft Middle East and Africa vice-president Charbel Fakhoury said the kingdom has agility by virtue of its small size, which can be a decisive advantage in bringing about transformational change.

"Bahrain can use technology to surpass big transcending geographical limitations to become a key regional powerhouse.

"For Microsoft, Bahrain has been a key market for more than 20 years and the challenge is how to take the country into the new area of cloud, big data, social computing and mobility, creating new economic opportunities along the way," he said.

Elaborating on Microsoft's cloud strategy, the top executive said the hitherto software giant is transforming itself into a cloud, devices and services firm.

"The vision of the company now is how we can deliver continuous cloud services for every person, for every device and for every business.

"Organisations are achieving significant cost savings through the cloud delivery model while gaining access to the latest tools without sacrificing on security or privacy.

"Through surveys over the last few years, we found that governments and the oil industry have been the regional early adopters. Banks and financial institutions are also catching on.

"The ones who stand to gain the most are small and medium businesses (SMBs).

"We are reaching out to SMBs and telling them how they can reduce IT management and data hosting costs, improve collaboration and modernise their technology infrastructures," Mr Fakhoury said.

"The move to Microsoft Office 365 cloud productivity platform will enable manpower to be more efficient while reducing both the company's IT costs and energy footprint."

As for the devices and services business, Microsoft Windows Azure is the bedrock of this strategy.

Windows Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres.

On Windows 8 and touch interface, the Microsoft executive said, although the company was a late entrant in the phones and tablets space, it was seeing good penetration with Windows 8.

"Our enterprise customers had wanted this kind of a touch interface integration between work and life and this is an area we consider good opportunity.

"The low-cost devices coming up are also interesting. With Windows Blue, you are going to get below 10-inch form factors as well.

"Microsoft is unique in that... it has experience in knowing what consumers and enterprises want.

"We are now saying that we have the capability to deliver the experiences that consumers want and the security that enterprises want in one platform and that's the value proposition of Microsoft in comparison to others."

On key trends, Mr Fakhoury said the world was transforming from a graphical user interface to a natural user interface, "which means getting used to using touch, voice, and other sensory interfaces."

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