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Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 winners announced

Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 winners announced

December 04, 2014

Winners of Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment 2014 announced yesterday evening in the Award Ceremony held at the Sultan Qaboos University Cultural Centre Grand Hall, under the auspices of HE Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning, in the presence of some senior officials and representatives from participating government and private institutions vying for the honor to win one of the prestigious Awards. The ceremony guest of honor Mr. Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, attended the Award Ceremony in which he delivered a keynote speech on the occasion.

Award Winners

Organized by the Information Technology Authority (ITA), the Award Ceremony witnessed the announcement of winners in 13 categories, 9 categories for the government sector and 4 categories for the private sector including 2 for SMEs, which are participating for the first time this year. The government sector winners in each category are: the Best eContent Award was granted to Ministry of Education for their project, E-Content of the educational portal, while the ROP eReadiness of Royal Oman Police won the Best eReadiness Award. In the category of the Best eService – G2G, the Award went to Integration with government entities and UAE for the Royal Oman Police. The Award for the Best eService – G2B, was given to the E-Spectrum Services for the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. The Best eService – G2C Award was granted to Muscat Contact Center in Muscat Municipality. The Award of the Best eService – G2E went to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for their project Trading System in Centralized Fish Market.

The award allocated for the Best eService Mobile category was granted to Naamal Mobile App for Ministry of Manpower. The Award of the Best eProject Interoperable was given to Maidan Project for the Public Authority for Consumer Protection, while the Best eProject Collaborative went to Wage Protection System for the Ministry of Manpower.

The private sector winners in the 4 categories are: the Best Public eService Award went to Bank Muscat eChannels. The Award for Best Public Mobile Service was granted to Bank Dhofar Mobile Banking. The two new Awards dedicated for the SMEs were withheld, as no submitted project complied with the Award criteria.

HE Dr. Ali Al Sunaidy Speech

On the occasion of the Award Ceremony, HE Dr. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, the ceremony Chief Guest, said: “It is with a great pleasure that I have the honor be part of the fourth edition of the Sultan Qaboos Award Ceremony for Excellence in eGovernment. The Award is developing every year, and it’s of interest to all government institutions and private within the Sultanate, as it is becoming one of the most prestigious Awards at the regional and international levels in the provision of eServices.”

ITA Speech

On his speech at the Award Ceremony, HE Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Futaisi, Chairman of the ITA Board of Directors, said: “Since its first edition in 2010, the Award has undergone a series of updates and developments. The main update in this year’s version is the addition of two separate categories for SME. The addition was not with the aim of increasing the number of categories only but to assure the important role played by the private sector to work closely with public sector institutions in order to provide excelling e-services which live up the aspirations of the Omani citizen and contribute in implementing the national strategy of e.oman and the e-government.”

He continued to say: “As we know, credibility and transparency is a salient feature of Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in e-government services, which is translated in the independency of the jury panel and the absolute authority it has. The jury members are qualified for their experience in ICT field and specifically in upgrading e-government. Not only that, but they have also been part of the jury members in other similar awards internationally. One important and significant addition in this year’s edition, two Omani members have joined the jury panel for the first time, which helped in the decisions and recommendations of the jury panel that focused not only on developing the projects in the future but on developing the award as well”

On the eTransformation plan, HE Dr. Al Futaisi said: “The ITA is exerting great efforts to accelerate the steps towards eTransformation, through creating the basic infrastructure for IT sector, adopting central initiatives such as establishing the National Center for Electronic eCertification to be entrusted with the task of establishing and operating infrastructure for eCertification. This translates the law of electronic transactions and its recommendations issued by the Royal Decree 69/2008 to support the electronic transactions and the eTransformation.”

HE also added: “The first phase of cloud computing has been launched to provide hosting, operation and security services for applications of services bodies’ providers as well as supporting the integrated environment with database, which will be a major supporter to facilitate the task of providing integrated electronic services to citizens.”

Concerning the follow up with the participating projects, Dr. Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, said: “The ITA will follow up with the winning projects as well as the other participating projects to further develop them, aiming to achieve excellence and compete regionally and internationally.”

Founder of Wikipedia Keynote

Jimmy Wales Presentation
The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales gave a presentation on Harnessing the Power of Social Media & Wiki Future at Lecture Theatre 1 at SQU in which he stated “The original vision of Wikipedia is to imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge ... To create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language - That's who I am. That's what I am doing. That's my life goal.”

Mr. Wales also highlighted some statistics about Wikipedia in terms of number of uses, visitors and articles up to date, saying “We have 550 Million visitors for Wikipedia so far, and 232 Million articles available in Wikipedia, 341.000 of which are Arabic articles.” He also talked about ways of internet reaching people and how mobile is developing the world with some examples worldwide. He thinks that massive there will be a massive connectivity after 20 year from now. When asked about entrepreneurship and his recommendations for Omani in this field, Mr. Wales said: “The problem is not having a good idea because it might blind the entrepreneur to go forward. However entrepreneurship is about experiment.”

For more information
The Information Technology Authority (ITA), as the authority responsible for establishing and managing the Sultan Qaboos Award for Excellence in eGovernment, advises potential applicants from the three target segments to contact the Award Management Team at ITA for more information via email: HMaward@ita.gov.om; or by telephone: +968 24166800; or by fax: +968 24166604. The Award website www.ita.gov.om/hmaward also serves as a resource of valuable information related to the Award program.