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Digital Digest Q1 2013


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30 digital or tech stories you may have missed, from - or potentially impacting on the Middle East - curated by Damian Radcliffe (@damianradcliffe).

Published in: Technology, Business

Digital Digest Q1 2013

  1. Digital Digest 30 recent Internet and Technology developments you may have missed from – and/or potentially impacting on - Qatar and the Middle East Issue 7: Q1 2013 us: Twitter: @ictqatar
  2. Contents Issue 6: Q1 2013 Slides 1. Recent developments in the MENA region • Internet easily most used daily media by Arabic Youth • Top Twitter Influentials in MENA • The Most active Twitter users are in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey • Using technology to tackle traffic issues in the Middle East • Forbes unveils Top Media Online in the Arab World • In Brief: Content • In Brief: Social Media • In Brief: Technology • Spotlight: Social Media in Saudi Arabia 3-19 4-5 6 7 8-10 11-12 13 14-15 16-17 18-19 2. Wider Internet & Society Research • Smartphones Leading to Declining Laptop and Desktop Use • Teens and Technology 2013 (USA) • How mobile – and mobile data – changed in 2012 (Cisco) • Internet Governance – IXPs in emerging markets 20-26 21-22 23 24-25 26 3. Coming Up – three emerging issues • Social Impact - Trends from the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show • Technology – Cisco’s mobile predictions for 2017 • Internet Governance – the privacy challenge of Google Glasses 27-33 28-29 30-31 32-33
  3. 1. Recent developments in the MENA region Includes: - Internet easily most used daily media by Arabic Youth - Top Twitter Influentials in MENA - MENA home to the world’s most active Twitter users - Using technology to tackle traffic issues - Forbes’ list of Top Media Online in the Arab World
  4. 1.1 Internet most used daily media by Arab Youth • We’ve mentioned previously (see Digital Digest Sept/Oct 2012) research by Google and Booz & Co. into the Arab Digital Generation. • But two new graphics produced by eMarketer from this data caught our eye. - The first shows just how popular the Internet is with Arab Youth. • 83% of these Internet users reported using the Internet daily. • Once online, many of them use it for a long time, with 70% of daily Internet users spending more than 3 hours online. • This is more than 3 times the number who claim to watch the same amount of TV, the next most popular daily media channel.
  5. • The second chart, perhaps reflecting high smartphone penetration in the Gulf, shows that Arabic Youth in the GCC are accessing the web almost as much on the move as they are at home, or anywhere else. • In contrast home usage and Internet cafes are much more popular places to go online in North Africa, where smartphone penetration is typically lower and PC access a more common means to going online. Source: FuOKv14
  6. 1.2 Top Twitter Influentials in MENA • The Top 100 Arabs website stemmed from an article published on Wamda about the top 100 influential people in social media in the Arab world (mentioned in Digital Digest 3). • Khaled Al Ahmad and Alaa Batayneh have now created an interactive site which uses Twitter, Facebook, and Klout to create a website which allows users to search lists of Top Twitter Influentials in MENA by country, gender or profession.
  7. 1.3 The most active Twitter users worldwide are in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE • A survey of 152,000 Internet users in 31 markets by GlobalWebIndex found that Saudi Arabia has the highest active Twitter user rate in the world. • The survey defined “active Twitter users” as those who used the service in the past month. Between Q3 2012 - Q4 2012 the number of global active Twitter users increased by 39.8% (see below). Read more at and
  8. 1.4 The role of tech in solving local traffic issues EGYPT • Wasselni is a startup specializing in developing mobile and web applications for traffic and transport problems in the region. • In February the first-ever Cairo Transport App Challenge (Cairo TApp) awarded first prize to a mobile app that helps drivers with road assistance and car maintenance. • The team behind Beliaa won US$3,000 at an awards ceremony held at Smart City, a technology hub on the outskirts of Cairo. (40,000 people work in Smart City, 99% of jobs are held by Egyptians.) • The app – which is available on Android and Blackberry platforms - uses GPS location data to help drivers locate road assistance centers and sending car maintenance requests to authorized workshops. The startup is operating from the Business and Technology Incubator (BTI) in Giza, Egypt. Users can find other people near them so they can carpool and reduce congestion. The service will launch initially in Cairo and Amman. Image: Image:
  9. • The competition was sponsored by the World Bank and hosted by The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA). • Other finalists included a GPS-enabled transportation guide called "ArkaBeh" which is used for journey planning and to report harassment directly to the relevant authorities. Image: Writing on the World Bank blog Hartwig Schafer, Country Director for Egypt, Yemen & Djibouti noted that: “This would be an especially useful feature for women, for whom the risk of harassment is the greatest deterrent to using public transportation, which limits their mobility and makes economic opportunities that much harder to reach.” Read more about the competition and the ideas behind it: Image:
  10. QATAR • Local tech website reported that Google had launched live Traffic Updates via their maps service. • The move follows the launch of similar services in September 2012 for Jeddah and Kuwait City and in December 2012 for the UAE. Read more: To use the service visit and click the traffic layer on the top right hand side of the map.
  11. 1.5 Top traditional media online in the Arab World At the end of 2012 Forbes published its third annual list of the region’s biggest online media channels. The report was based on user date from August 2011 - August 2012. Newspaper websites - Unique Visitors 1. Al-Youm Al-Sabe'a (Egypt) 145.11 million unique visitors 2. Al Riyadh (KSA) 35.52m 3. Al Ahram (Egypt) 31.15m Image: 6sPPWW The Top Newspapers Online In the Arab World - Page visits 1. Al Youm Al-Sab'ea (Egypt) 842.84 million visits 2. Al Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) 123.94m 3. Echourouk el Youmi (Algeria) 79.17m Worth noting: Oman's Al Rroya, which ranked last on the overall list of top newspapers online, nonetheless enjoyed the highest %age of new visits at 67.11%. The National from the UAE ranked 15th overall but second for new visits, with newcomers accounting for 60.76% of its total traffic.
  12. Top TV News Channels Online in the Arab World 1. Al Arabiya (UAE) - 306.63m online visitors, 69.05m uniques, and 21.48% new visits. 2. Al Jazeera (Qatar) - 277.89m visits, 55.71m uniques. 3. Rusiya Al-Yaum (Russian based, broadcasts in Arabic) - 50.11m visitors, 26.40m uniques. According to Google Analytics data, the Rusiya Al-Yaum (Russia Today) website is gaining momentum with a new visit rate of 51.37%, the highest of the three TV channels. Read More: Images:, and • Al Jazeera users spend the highest average time on a TV channel website—10 minutes and four seconds. • They also have the highest average number of pages per visit, 3.49.
  13. 1.6 In Brief: Content News The Next Web reports that YouTube has expanded its Partner Program to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The move allows users to generate revenue from their uploaded videos. “Anyone with an account in these regions can become a partner by navigating to their YouTube settings – located under the drop-down menu from the top-right corner of the screen – and clicking on the blue monetization window.” Vodafone Qatar and Weill Cornell Medical College (Qatar) have launched a mobile app to promote exercise and healthy eating. As well as providing a calorie counter, the app also uses a traffic light system to indicate how healthy or unhealthy different dietary choices are. A burger and fries, for example, displays a red light. (Bad!) The app is available in English and Arabic. More at: Image: Qtel has launched an mHealth service for diabetics in Kuwait, Iraq and Palestine. Subscribers can receive personalized alerts and information on exercise and diet. Read More:
  14. 1.7 In Brief: Social Media News • Law 3andak Dam (If You Have Blood) is an Egyptian based online service that matches blood donors with patients in need of blood. It uses social networks like Twitter and Facebook to share emergency medical conditions. • Users can sign up with their location and blood type. • But as Ahmed Gabr noted in a piece for Wamda: “Law 3andak Dam doesn’t offer any guarantees about their users; if they're reliable or even have the right information entered.” He later added: “Without this concrete data and success stories to point to, the platform may have trouble expanding in the region, though this is certainly a much-needed service for users across the Arab world. And with a service as serious as this, it may be a good idea to find a way to verify each new user.” Read more:
  15. • Twitter has launched a new partnership with the Egypt-based company Connect Ads, to allow MENA companies to advertise via a range of 'Promoted Products'. • Initially available to businesses in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, marketers can utilize Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends products. More: Images: Twitter is developing partnerships with operators across the globe, including the MENA region, to put its service on feature phones, according to Bloomberg: In the past year alone, the number of Twitter users in the Arab world tripled, according to Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president for international operations: Source:
  16. 1.8 In Brief: Technology News Dubai launches virtual mall •, (meaning “traditional safe” or “vault”) features more than 40 retailers and brands such as Sharaf DG, Grand Optics and Reebok. • Shoppers can purchase from stores offering Computers & Electronics, Fashion, Furniture, Home & Garden, and Health & Beauty products. • Retailers can have their store up and running in 2-4 weeks. • The National reported online shopping in the UAE was valued at US$281.6 million last year by Euromonitor, compared with $47.8bn in the United Kingdom and $11.1bn in Brazil. "The complete e-commerce infrastructure, payment gateway, customer services, IT hosting and website development are already taken care of by Tejuri,” said Ayaz Maqbool, managing director of “hence, makes it extremely easy and economical for the retailers to go online.” Read more:
  17. Jordanian capital in global list of top 10 cities to launch a tech startup • Rachid Sefrioui, the founder of Finaventures, a California-based venture-capital firm, has published a list of “Top 10 cities to launch a tech startup” - Amman was 10th on the list. The only city from the MENA region. (Dubai was one of the five runners up.) • Rankings are based on the “vibrancy of each city's entrepreneurial community, no matter how small. Using relative terms, a city with $200M in seed and venture capital may achieve a better ranking than a city with more capital simply because other human, legal and infrastructure factors scored higher.” Source: Software Piracy still a problem in MENA • Microsoft recently praised Qatar, reported Doha News, saying its efforts to eliminate piracy “are quite remarkable” despite a 50% rate of pirated software. • This figure is lower than the Middle East average of 58%. • Piracy is highest at 86% and 89% in Iraq and Yemen, and 51% in Saudi Arabia. - In UAE the rate is 37%. Read more: And:
  18. 1.9 Spotlight: Social Media in Saudi Arabia An infograph released by The Social Clinic, an agency based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, revealed how quickly the country is taking up social media. Here’s our Top 10 stats: 1. Facebook use in Saudi Arabia is 90% Arabic, 8% English and 2% the other languages. 2. 2m of KSA’s 6m million Facebook users access via mobile only. 3. Facebook is the 3rd most visited website 4. Twitter is growing faster in Saudi Arabia than any other country. While the global average is 300% growth year-on-year, Saudi Arabia grew more than 3,000% from 2011 to 2012. 5. 50,000,000 tweets per month come from the country. 6. 30% of the global tweets tweeted in Arabic come from KSA. 7. Twitter’s website is the 6th most visited website in Saudi Arabia. 8. More than 90,000,000 videos are watched daily on YouTube on Saudi Arabian soil. 9. KSA has over 840,000 active LinkedIn users, against 5.9 million MENA users. 10. KSA is second, after UAE, in LinkedIn users.
  19. 2. Wider research related to ICT and Society Image: Image: Image: Includes: - Smartphones Leading to Declining Laptop and Desktop Use - Teens and Technology 2013 (USA) - New Cisco data on mobile data - Improving and creating IXPs in emerging markets
  20. 2.1 Social Impact - Smartphones Leading to Declining Laptop and Desktop Use Read More: 1. The proliferation of Internet-connected devices, and in particular the rapid adoption of smartphones, which are substituting time spent on laptop and desktop computers. 2. The take-up of the Internet among older consumers, who typically tend to spend less time online. • New international data from the UK communications regulator Ofcom suggests that time spent online on a laptop or desktop computer has peaked in many countries. • The report authors mention two factors that are affecting the consumption habits of Internet audiences:
  21. As an example of how much smartphones have changed users’ data from the UK was used to create this infographic, which reveals the extent to which smartphones have transformed UK consumer behaviors.
  22. 2.2 Youth Research - Teens and Technology 2013 (USA) New data from Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard has found that smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and that one in four teens are “cell-mostly” Internet users. Read more: Image: “In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population.” Mary Madden, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and report co-author. Key findings from a survey of 802 youth ages 12-17 and their parents include: • 78% of teens have a cell phone, 47% a smartphone. • That means 37% of all teens have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011. • 23% of teens have a tablet computer. (Which is comparable to the general adult population). • 95% of teens use the Internet. • 93% of teens have a computer or access to one at home. • 71% of teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is shared with family members.
  23. 2.2 Emerging Technology - Cisco report on how mobile + mobile data, changed in 2012 Key findings included: • Global mobile data traffic grew 70 % in 2012. • Last year's mobile data traffic was nearly 12x the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. • Globally, mobile network connection speeds more than doubled in 2012. • In 2012 4G connections generated 19 times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection. (Although 4G connections represent only 0.9% of mobile connections, they already account for 14% of mobile data traffic.) • Average smartphone usage grew 81% to 342 MB per month, up from 189 MB p/m in 2011. • Smartphones represented only 18% of total global handsets in use in 2012, but represented 92% of total global handset traffic. • 33% of total mobile data traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through Wi-Fi or femtocell. Image:
  24. Region Mobile Traffic Growth Examples Korea • As reported by Korean regulator KCC, mobile data traffic on 2G, 3G, and 4G networks increased approximately 80% between January and November of 2012. China • China Mobile's mobile data traffic grew 77% from mid-2011 to mid-2012. • China Unicom's mobile data traffic grew 112% from mid-2011 to mid-2012. Japan • As measured by Japanese regulator MIC, mobile data traffic grew 113% from September 2011 to September 2012. Australia • As reported by Australian regulator ACMA, mobile data traffic grew 40% from mid- 2011 to mid-2012. Italy • As reported by Italian regulator AGCOM, mobile traffic in Italy in 3Q12 was up 32% year-over-year. Global • Telefonica's total year-over-year mobile traffic growth was 35% in 1Q12, down from 75% in 1Q11. • Vodafone's year-over-year mobile traffic growth was 34% in FY2012, down from 69% in FY2011. Examples of Mobile Data Traffic Growth in 2012 Read More:
  25. 2.3 Internet Governance Benefits of IXPs A 2012 study by the Internet Society and Analysys Mason looking at the role of IXPs in Kenya and Nigeria argued that: 1. IXPs enabled these countries to save millions in telecommunications costs, 2. They provide a means to raise additional revenues 3. Whilst also speeding up the exchange of local data and 4. They can encourage the development of locally hosted content and services. Read More:, & - gives $1.3m to the Internet Society (ISOC) to improve and create Internet Exchange Points (IXP) in emerging markets. ISOC explains that: “The primary role of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is to keep local Internet traffic within local infrastructure and to the reduce costs associated with traffic exchange between Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In many developing countries, poor connectivity between ISPs often results in the routing of local traffic over expensive international links simply to reach destinations within the country of origin. IXPs can also improve the quality of Internet services in a country by reducing the delays. IXPs also can be a convenient hub for hosting critical infrastructure within countries.”
  26. 3. Emerging Issues dBzMl10 Image: Includes: - Potential trends from the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show - Cisco’s mobile predictions for 2017 - The privacy challenge of Google Glass
  27. 3.1 Social Impact - Potential trends from 2013’s Consumer Electronic Show • The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas can offer insights into emerging technologies and changes in use of ICT. • This huge event is often a source of product launches and prototypes. • The emerging trend of 2013 was IP connectivity. • Alongside TV’s there are moves to connect all devices to the web. • This includes kitchen devices like fridges (long promised) and cutlery (not so long promised). Some ideas are just plain potty. Literally. Ideas which caught our eye: Prototype of Samsung ‘bendy’ phone running Windows Phone 8 Plastic Logic PaperTab - a flexible 10.7” tablet / e-reader.
  28. A few more ideas which caught our eye (some practical, some not so practical!) Spare One Phone - $49 via Uses a single AA battery offers power for up to 15 years and 10 hours talk time. Designed for emergency use for people who don’t need a phone the rest of the time, or who need a direct link to the emergency services e.g. hikers or mountaineers. The “iPotty” which features a slot for an iPad above the bowl. HapiFork - vibrates if you eat too quickly, forcing you to chew your food and eat more slowly. Read More:
  29. 3.2 Technology – Cisco’s mobile predictions for 2017 Alongside reviewing the state of mobile data in 2012 (see Section 2.2) Cisco also reported on how the sector will change in the next five years. Of the 10 trends they discussed, three stand out: Chart: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast by Region 1. Traffic growth will be driven by the continued take up of smartphones. 2. Mobile video will be the single source of most mobile traffic growth. 3. 4G connections will dominate traffic. (By 2017, Cisco predicts that 4G will represent 10 % of connections, but 45 % of total traffic.) Cisco predicts that the Asia Pacific and North America regions will account for almost two-thirds of global mobile traffic by 2017. But the Middle East and Africa is the region which will grow the fastest, with mobile data usage increasing 17.3-fold (a CAGR of 77%) over the forecast period.
  30. Smartphones Lead Traffic Growth Mobile Video Will Generate Over 66 % of Mobile Data Traffic by 2017 4G will be 10 % of Connections and 45 % of Traffic in 2017
  31. 3.3 Internet Governance – the privacy challenge of Google Glasses • The announcement of Google Glass was met with quite a lot of excitement by the Digerati last year (including our Digital Digest Volume 2). • But now that the product is starting to be tested (I’ve seen tweets from people reporting seeing users wearing them on the New York subway and in restaurants) some commentators are asking questions about some of the privacy issues which Google Glass may present. Joshua Fruhlinger - in a piece entitled “The dark side of Google Glass” says: “I'm not so sure that Google Glass is going to be good for us as a society.”
  32. 1. “…People will capture everything and we'll see it all. Some will be amazing, most of it will be unbearable and even hard to watch, if not completely boring.” 2. The risk of theft/muggings. 3. “Glass enthusiasts sitting next to one another yet choosing to communicate via their HUDs. [Ed: Heads up displays] Run. Run away.” 4. “…we'll see a rash of accidents caused by people paying attention to their Glass, making adjustments or trying to execute a command while they should be paying attention to other cars, pedestrians, poles and children….” Fruhlinger suggest five issues to consider including: Read More: , Image:
  33. •Thank you for reading. •Visit our SlideShare channel for previous •Issues and our monthly Tech Top 10: • Disclaimer: all content in these slides is in the public domain and referenced so that you can read the original sources. Any omissions, errors or mistakes are mine, and mine alone. us Twitter: @ictqatar