25 digital or tech stories you may have missed, from - or potentially impacting on the Middle East - curated by Damian Radcliffe (@damianradcliffe).
Middle East Stories this quarter include: New data on MENA Internet usage, highlights from the 5th Arab Social Media Report, Arab Media Use: Social networks (and the web) are key sources of news, stats on massive mobile growth in the last 10 years, how mobile is increasingly important to get online, Facebook in 2017, highlights from the 5th Arab Youth Survey.
Wider research includes: Our constant need to be connected, “showrooming”, in Q4 2012, more tablets shipped than PCs, “Project Loon”, McKinsey's 12 Disruptive Technologies, How “Connected” Cars could save lives and whether Facial Recognition for device security will be the next big thing?
25 recent Internet and Technology developments you may have missed
from – and/or potentially impacting on - Qatar and the Middle East
Issue 8: Q2 2013
Contents Issue 8: Q2 2013
1. Recent developments in the MENA region
• New data on MENA Internet usage
• 5th Arab Social Media Report published
• Media Use: Social networks (and the web) are key sources of news
• Massive mobile growth in the last 10 years
• Mobile increasingly important to get online
• In Brief: Content News
• In Brief: Social Media News, Facebook Special
• In Brief: Technology News
• Spotlight: 5th Arab Youth Survey
2. Wider Internet & Society Research
• Social Impact: Our constant need to be connected
• Youth Research: Young people are the most likely to “showroom”
• Emerging Technology: In Q4 2012, more tablets shipped than PCs
• Internet Governance: “Project Loon” launched
3. Coming Up – three emerging issues
• Social Impact: Disruptive Technologies
• Technology: How “Connected” Cars could save lives
• Internet Governance: Facial Recognition for device security?
1. Recent developments in the MENA region
Images: http://bit.ly/16HEQbS , http://bit.ly/127waXW , http://bit.ly/OA8BW7
Includes: - New data on MENA Internet usage
- 5th Arab Social Media Report published
- Media use: Social networks are key sources of news
- Massive mobile growth in the last 10 years
- Mobile increasingly important to get online
- Spotlight: 5th Arab Youth Survey
1.1 New data on MENA Internet usage (via Ipsos Gemius)
A new study covering 11 MENA countries (KSA, UAE, Urban Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan,
Morocco, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Syria) offered fresh insights in online behaviors in
Key insights include:
1. 39.2m of MENA’s 102.8m adults (15+) are online.
2. Penetration is highest in the GCC (KSA, UAE,
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar) at 61%. In North Africa
(Urban Egypt, Morocco) and Levant (Lebanon,
Syria, Jordan, Iraq) it stands at 30%.
3. UAE at 71% has the highest Internet Penetration.
Iraq at 23% the lowest.
4. Saudi Arabia has the biggest Internet Population
at 8.5m. Oman the lowest at 0.5m.
5. 87% access the Internet from home.
34% from work. 8% public places.
Noteworthy country level insights included:
Images: http://bit.ly/14z0ZYK , http://bit.ly/14bNwap , http://bit.ly/18hOIgq , http://bit.ly/14Z9mia
UAE: E-mail consumption, Real Estate and
Business related websites have the highest reach, page views,
visits, and time spent per visit compared to other countries.
Jordan: Highest reach of social networking websites.
Highest reach & time spent per visit for games and news
Egypt: Both religion and dating websites are in the top 5
categories that Egyptians visit and spend time on
per each visit.
Music websites have the highest reach, page views, visits, and
time spent per visit compared to other countries.
KSA: Finance & stock market, Recruitment, Videos
and Governmental websites have the highest
reach, page views, visits, and time spent per
visit compared to other countries.
1.2 5th Arab Social Media Report (Dubai School of Government)
Growth continues across the main social networks.
- Saudi Arabia dominates Twitter in MENA.
- Egypt dominates MENA Facebook usage.
The total number of Facebook users in the Arab world as of end
of May 2013 is 54,552,875 up from 45,194,452 in June 2012.
All data via: http://bit.ly/1716MZ2
Usage of social networks in Arabic continues to grow
Facebook is still the most popular social network in MENA.
UAE is MENA’s most socially networked country.
LinkedIn now has 4,716,515 users in the Arab world.
Up from 4,294,484 in June 2012.
It is still some way behind Facebook and Twitter in user numbers.
1.3 Arab Media Usage Study (Northwestern University in Qatar)
- Social networks (and the web) are key sources of news
- But TV and interpersonal sources also remain important
Source: PowerPoint of Northwestern University in Qatar's new Arab Media Use survey. http://bit.ly/19RCGuW
Data suggested respondents
felt that quality of news
reporting in the region had
improved in the past two
“While respondents across the Arab
world are pleased with journalistic
progress in their region over the
past two years, they demur
somewhat when asked to rate
the reliability of news they
receive from TV, in newspapers,
online and on radio. “
1.4 Massive mobile growth in the last 10 years (GSMA)
From 19m connections in 2002 to 391m in 2012.
• The GSMA noted this growth - an 32 per cent annual average over the past 10 years
– was the second highest growth rate globally after sub-Saharan Africa.
• Looking ahead they called for more spectrum to be made available, noting:
“…mobile broadband connections across the Arab States are expected to increase by a staggering
255 per cent by 2017, rising from 40 million in 2011 to 142 million… Mobile broadband
connections have already outstripped fixed-line connections by over 350 per cent.”
1.5 Mobile increasingly important to get online
Analysys Masson's survey of mobile Internet users
in 2012–2013 in the Middle East and Africa (MEA)
also emphasized the importance – and impact – of
mobile broadband connections.
GSMA Report: http://bit.ly/11nnWz9
“87% of surveyed mobile
Internet users use a mobile
phone as the main means to
connect to the Internet…”
The GSMA noted that:
“Eleven countries in
the region rank
above the world
average in mobile
1.6 In Brief: Content News
http://www.infotimes.org/ bills itself as
the Middle East’s first dedicated data
journalism website – current efforts
are specializing in Arabic infographics.
Yahoo! Maktoob has announced the debut of two
new web series focused on entertainment and
celebrity news for the Middle East: OMG! Nujoom in
Arabic, and OMG! Now in English. http://bit.ly/14XdCA9
Online portal dubizzle entered the
content creation space with the
launch of its first ever web series
and the formation of a content
platform in Egypt: http://bit.ly/1679wXQ
Elmadinah, is a MENA orientated city
simulation game “where you will be able to
build your city of dreams and develop it from
the ground up. As a virtual mayor, find the right
balance between economic development of
your city, population and attractiveness.”
Rapid growth for Facebook in
MEA anticipated to continue
According to new estimates from eMarketeer, MEA (NB incl.
all of Africa, not just MENA) will be amongst the key growth
markets for the social network in the next 4-5 years.
• Their findings noted that Facebook grew by
84.7% in 2011 and 47.2% in 2012. This rate of
growth will drop dramatically, but it will still be
their second fastest growing region 2013-17,
only just behind the more populous Asia-Pacific.
• By 2017 they anticipate 82.6% of MEA Internet
users will be on the network once a month,
the highest global figure – considerably ahead of
older markets, and just ahead of Latin America.
• With 318.9m Facebook users in MEA by
2017, this is almost double the MEA’s 167.9m
expected monthly users by the end of 2013.
1.7 In Brief: Social Media - Facebook Special
1.8 In Brief: Technology News
First GCC produced “anti-distraction” app for drivers
“Salamtek” (meaning Your Safety) is a free Android app which
blocks “distractions” from smart phones like phone calls,
messages and alerts when you drive above a certain speed.
The application was designed by the Qatar Mobility
Innovations Center (QMIC). Download at: http://bit.ly/11LubIL
In late March the Egyptian
military arrested three
scuba divers accused of
cutting an undersea
Internet cable off the
coast of Alexandria. The
arrests followed a series
of disruptions to Internet
c.40% of mobile
users in the
Middle East and
Africa have fallen
victim to mobile
according to a
new study by
Norton / Symantec
Google replaced the term
"Palestinian Territories" with
"Palestine" on www.google.ps page,
following the UN’s decision to award
Palestine observer status last year.
1.9 Spotlight: Arab Youth Survey (ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller)
Discernible changes in ICT habits and attitudes.
The Top 10 Findings are listed (right,) but
perhaps the two topline findings most of
interest to our Digital Digest readers are:
9. News consumption is falling and
newspaper readership is hardest hit
- News interest has waned as events of the Arab
Spring recede, but Middle East youth continue to
rely on TV as their main source of news
10. Social media is becoming
- More young Arabs are getting their news from
social media while trust in websites and social
media as reliable news sources has risen sharply
• http://bit.ly/139GgyY and http://bit.ly/19EbHAd
The 5th annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey surveyed 3,000 Arab men and
women aged 18-24 across UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, Iraq, Egypt,
Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Yemen (during Dec 2012- Jan 2013).
Other Top 10 Findings
1. Majority of Arab youth believe that “our best days
are ahead of us”
2. Arab youth have more national pride since the
3. Fair pay remains the top priority of Arab youth
4. Home ownership is increasingly important
5. Rising living costs continues to be the top
concern among Middle East youth
6. Civil unrest and lack of democracy are the
biggest barriers facing the region
7. The UAE continues to be seen as a model nation
8. Among nations outside MENA, France viewed
most favorably by Arab youth
Five further things to note
• News sources: social media and online are rapidly rising. TV is holding steady. Use of
traditional media news sources such as radio and newspapers are declining rapidly.
• Trust in news sources: Even though TV news consumption is holding steady, trust in
TV is declining. Whereas trust in news from websites - and in particular social networks
- are growing fast.
• Internet habits: there’s not a lot of difference between what young people in the GCC
and in non-GCC countries do online. Listening to music is the most popular activity.
• Almost 50% of young people read blogs: mostly from their own country.
• There’s not much consumption of blogs from other MENA countries of the West.
Fashion is the top topic (52%). Tech is 4th (31%) most popular.
• Twitter and Facebook
behaviors are fairly constant:
people typically follow, or are
friends with, people they know.
Usually from their own country
(90%+ although c.50% also
follow / are friends with people
2. Wider research related to ICT and Society
Images: http://bit.ly/17uFdYC , http://bit.ly/1bID9vZ , http://bit.ly/1cCyxrv
Includes: - Social Impact: Our constant need to be connected
- Youth Research: Young people are the most likely to showroom
- Emerging Technology: More tablets shipped than PCs
- Internet Governance: “Project Loon” launched
2.1 Social Impact: Our constant need to be connected
Children and Adults finding it hard to switch off
And smartphone users interact with their
phone ~150x a day…
Source: KPCP's Mary Meeker Internet Trends 2013 -
15% of 10-15 year olds think they
will be left out if they are not
constantly on social media
Age % who say
Mintel found that
60 % of those
aged 10-15 say
that they use a
website or app.
2.2 Youth Research
Young people are the most likely to showroom
“Showrooming” means going into a store to test or look at a product, before buying it elsewhere.
Data from TNS shows it a global phenomenon, increasingly linked to mobile usage.
Young people lead the way with combining
showrooming and mobile usage.
2.3 Emerging Technology
In Q4 2012, for the first time, more tablets shipped than PCs
2.4 Internet Governance: “Project Loon” launched
• “Project Loon is a network of
balloons traveling on the edge
of space, designed to connect
people in rural and remote
areas, help fill coverage gaps,
and bring people back online
• …Project Loon balloons float
in the stratosphere, twice as
high as airplanes and the
• … People connect to the
balloon network using a
special Internet antenna
attached to their building…”
Google seeking to provide connectivity to the two-thirds of the
world’s population who currently don’t have Internet access.
3. Emerging Issues
Images: http://bit.ly/14FpSll , http://bit.ly/okcmXS , http://bit.ly/11VKrYN
Includes: - Social Impact: Disruptive Technologies
- How “Connected” Cars could save lives
- Will Facial Recognition soon be used for device security?
3.1 Social Impact
“Not every emerging technology will alter
the business or social landscape—but
some truly do have the potential to disrupt
the status quo, alter the way people live
and work, and rearrange value pools…
…Some technologies detailed in
the report have been gestating for
years and thus will be familiar.
Others are more surprising…
…We estimate that, together, applications
of the 12 technologies discussed in the
report could have a potential economic
impact between $14 trillion and $33 trillion
a year in 2025…
McKinsey study identifies the
12 technologies which could
transform life, business and
the global economy
How “Connected” Cars could save lives
One of McKinsey’s 12 Disrupters are autonomous, or semi-autonomous cars. (We mentioned Google’s
self drive cars – and their lack of accidents - in Vol 3.) GSMA and PwC recently argued connected cars
could save one in nine lives through emergency calling services
The European Union
seems to agree having
recently mandated -
that from October 2015
- all new models of
passenger cars and
light duty vehicles must
be fitted with the “eCall”
system (explained right).
It is estimated that eCall
could save up to 2,500
lives a year and reduce
response time by 50% in
the countryside and 60% in
3.3 Internet Governance
Will Facial Recognition soon be used for device security?
“Pulling faces could become the next type of password used to unlock Android
phones and tablets,” says Emma Woodley on ITProPortal, noting “Google filed a
patent for the technology last year, but it has only just been published.”
Phone Image: http://bit.ly/13SuHJ6 Android Image: http://bit.ly/16g4HaI
“Google has previously suggested that specific facial
expressions could prevent their existing Face
Unlock system being hoodwinked by photos.
This is following last year's introduction of a "liveness
check" that required users to blink at their device to
prevent the program from being fooled by a
Although the article notes that even this security was
broken by researchers in tests.
Read more: http://bit.ly/16IRDM3
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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.