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The ICT sector in Oman continues to expand on both local and international levels. The modernizations in e-commerce and e-government have enabled private and public organizations as well and brought a lot of benefits. The Sultanate provides a fertile environment to leverage new technologies, and Artificial Intelligence applications, targeting to attract foreign investments to the sector, through supporting these technologies, and accommodating their initiative testing, supporting its digital transformation and globalization.

One of Oman’s main fields in this advancement is Cloud computing.

Instead of acquiring expensive technology equipment — and with it the accompanying complications of installation, maintenance and operation — cloud computing is the right solution. It can be defined by the ability to provide technology information and solutions easily over the Internet.

The Omani National Data Center Program has set a clear vision for a cloud-ready, centralized infrastructure that allows the government to scale operations certainly, drive innovation securely and save material amounts. In addition to that, the government deployed the second cloud last year and announced its ability to move business-critical workloads to the cloud and enable operational efficiency. It also provided the possibility and capability of migrating the IT systems to the cloud infrastructure while retaining physical control of their data and hardware at the same time.

In this context, the fortunate government policies, key factors dedicated to enhancing progress and development, such as tech parks, Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) and the presence of Oman Data Park (ODP), which hosts services for public and private cloud products.

On the other hand, in order to solve the lack of an independent central market, Omani researchers have developed a repository of centralized cloud services. This development of technical solutions for cloud computing has served both institutions and individuals and has created a central electronic system for all available offers on various websites of diverse service providers.

A leading data and analytics company expects an annual growth of ICT spending in Oman from around US$3.2 billion in 2019 to US$5.6 billion in 2024. This growth will be driven by ongoing developments in cloud services and e-commerce, as well as the expansion and development of e-governance and the requisite legal framework and policies. In the coming years, e-commerce in Oman will witness promising demand for cloud services and data centers, along with collaboration between the government and private sectors in anticipating new opportunities in the markets ahead.

In terms of cloud computing, revenue is expected to reach around US$1 billion by 2024, accounting for 17.9% of overall ICT spending. This, coupled with the removal of outdated on-premises software and the provision of more flexible services, will initiate a significant change in current industry trends.

However, the sector in Oman faces many of the same challenges experienced around the world. The surge in demand for data and mobile market satisfaction is reflected in the tremendous and numerous innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI), which pose new challenges and opportunities.

AI has many benefits, including the saving of time and satisfying customers' needs for developed services, data management engineering, and task automation. But it also faces wide-ranging challenges like the investment required, regulation and procedure implementation, and even cybersecurity attack mitigation. Today, Oman is working hard on updating its regulatory and legislative frameworks to match and advance technological development.

While competition is becoming more fierce in the field of data centers and cloud services globally, the mitigation of cybersecurity threats continues, and the focus of specialists becomes both a necessity and of great value.

The ICT sector in Oman is evolving quickly, and telecom providers and IT companies are working hard to survive and grow in an atmosphere of great competition.

The innovative mindset of the sultanate’s authorities has established a distinct ICT roadmap by building global connectivity all over the country, ensuring broadband stability and reliability. Oman is also planning to digitalize some of the key public services through the implementation of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) financing model. Furthermore, accelerating service delivery will become a core focus and crucial objective for organizations and will drive investments in cloud-based technologies as well as the development of pre-integrated cloud platforms. In other words, Oman has laid the groundwork for a successful industry and an appealing platform for many coming years.

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