Habib Mahakian Vice President, Gulf and Pakistan and Samer M Saber Country Manager, Kuwait
Habib Mahakian Vice President, Gulf and Pakistan and Samer M Saber Country Manager, Kuwait

KUWAIT: EMC is participating in the third E-Government Forum (EGOV3) that is being held in Kuwait from Nov 15-17 to discuss the future of effective and secure government services. Held under the patronage of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the third edition of the largest e-government event in Kuwait brings together over 3,500 prominent senior dignitaries, ministers and government officials in addition to visionary heads of enterprise, decision makers and CEOs from across the region to share ideas and best practices to build a sound foundation for the advancement of government services.

Hosted in collaboration with the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT), EGOV3 features a series of keynotes and presentations by a series of prominent speakers to offer insights that are aimed at helping government entities in Kuwait reinforce service strategies in an era of digitization and heightened connectivity.

Kuwait Times spoke to Habib Mahakian, Vice President, Gulf and Pakistan, and Samer M Saber, Country Manager, Kuwait.

Kuwait Times: How do you view EMC’s participation in the third E-Government Forum (EGOV3) in Kuwait?

EMC: We are very excited to participate as a diamond sponsor in this event, because a lot of government services need to go to the next level and EMC is offering solutions. I believe this platform is the best place to present the new transformation happening in IT. Our participation here is mainly about smart cities. We discussed that a lot of cities, especially in the GCC region, are leading the way in the Middle East and even outside the Middle East when it comes to smart cities’ initiatives, and in this forum we can help show governments and cities across the region and in Kuwait what to do in a different way to incubate such ideas.

KT: What is EMC’s role in the creation of smart cities and how is it going to help Kuwait government in its efforts to build a sound foundation for the advancement of government services?

EMC: Firstly, we tell them what is the best way to plan for this, which has three perspectives – infrastructure, the platform and the application layer. This is where we can help the Kuwaiti government, followed by the implementation of the project. Hopefully we will be announcing certain new initiatives very soon about smart cities inside and outside Kuwait.

KT:  What are the cornerstones of smart cities and how are they helping local governments’ needs for innovations?
EMC: The main thing is to have the right strategy and laws to help the government put the right data laws and how to share the data, so this is the first milestone in setting up the right platform or the blueprint of the platform, and then the execution. The three main layers of the platform as mentioned are the infrastructure layer, the platform layer and the application layer, and the three should work together, which EMC provides for.

KT: What are the potential challenges enterprises face today in building smart cities?
EMC: Having the right laws to regulate all what has to do with smart cities, because it has to be smart but also has to be controlled. It has to have the right discipline, and these are related to security, so we have to be innovative. In addition to this, you have to have the right infrastructure in the country or in the place where you want the smart city initiative. You have to have the telecom infrastructure, connectivity infrastructure and the IT infrastructure, so it’s a mix between communication and IT infrastructure.

KT: How do you look at the impact of growing social media adoption in this context?
EMC: Social media is a great source of data, and smart cities mainly depend on how big the data that is available is and the diversification of the data. According to IDC reports, by 2020, you will have 40+ zettabytes coming from different sources like traditional systems and from social media, so all this mix of data is the main base for taking the decision in a smart city, like healthcare and transportation. All of these are connected and communicated over social media, so our role here is to help the government and the cities because of this data, whether it’s coming from official transactional data of the organizations of the citizens in that city.

EMC in Kuwait took the decision long time ago to give more dedication and investment in Kuwait, and we have a big team and all kinds of EMC services serving our customers here. We work with different sectors, whether government or private, and EMC decided to be more committed to Kuwait as a market to see the potential in Kuwait. We see that Kuwait already took the decision to grow the IT business. That’s why a company like EMC has opened its offices in Kuwait and with a good amount of resources with the best quality of people in the region.

By Islam Al-Sharaa