-New competition attracts over 100 entries from across the region-
-Region takes center stage in cloud arena, with winners spanning wide range of industries-
-MENA cloud market to grow nearly 25% from 2012-2013 to USD 462 million-
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Cloud computing took centre stage at GITEX Technology Week today, with a series of cutting-edge projects and innovations recognised at the inaugural Cloud Awards.
A highlight of today’s Cloud Confex, the region’s largest integrated cloud exhibition and conference, the Cloud Awards celebrated winners in five distinct categories based on innovation, integration, functionality, value, usability and scalability credentials.
The winners were selected from a strong field of over 100 entries by an expert panel comprising Todd Thibodeaux, President and Chief Executive Officer of IT Industry Association COMPTIA; Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director EMEA, Cloud Security Alliance; and Kuldeep Bhatnagar, IT Advisor, Environment Agency, Government of Abu Dhabi.
Winners from across the Middle East spanned a wide range of industries, including Gulf Air for Best Big Data Solution Project. Other winners include Mubadala Development Company for Best Cloud Security Implementation, National Bank of Abu Dhabi for Best Data Center Infrastructure Project, Abu Dhabi Police’s GIS Center for Security for Best Government Implementation of Cloud Solution, and the UAE General Civil Authority for Best Virutalization Solution Implementation.
Bahrain’s Gulf Air triumphed in the Big Data Solutions Project category, with Qatar First Bank and Qatar’s Supreme Education Council claiming the runners up spots.
Kuldeep Bhatnagar, IT Advisor, Environment Agency, Government of Abu Dhabi, praised Gulf Air’s achievement. “It is incredible that Gulf Air implemented Big Data technology so effectively, embracing open-source software with an in-house team, building rich competency and saving considerable expenditure,” he said.
Best Cloud Security Implementation was won by the UAE’s Mubadala Development Company, with runners up from Axa Insurance and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily).
Todd Thibodeaux, President and Chief Executive Officer of IT Industry Association COMPTIA, hailed Mubadala for effectively dealing with one of cloud users’ biggest concerns. “Mubadala is taking the security challenge head on, creating an iron clad infrastructure to tools to eliminate a major adoption barrier,” he explained.
Emad Ali Maisari, Head of Information Security & Risk, Mubadala Development Company, said: “We are delighted to accept this Cloud Award in recognition of our continued commitment to cloud security innovation.”
National Bank of Abu Dhabi claimed the top spot in the Big Data Infrastructure Project category ahead of runners up Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) and Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority. “The thing that really stands out to me about the National Bank of Abu Dhabi initiative is how green and sustainable their solution is. Providing great customer solutions in an environmentally sound way is a big win-win,” said Thibodeaux.
Hossam M. Elkobrosy, Head, IT Infrastructure, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said: “It is a pleasure to win this Cloud Award for the Best Data Centre Infrastructure Project, as it recognizes the last three years of our hard work in implementing leading technology across different functions inside our Data Centre to achieve our target in building this resilient, secure and environmentally-friendly solution for our business. We look forward to driving cloud innovation that continues to enhance our IT services’ experience and make an impact on our business.”
Abu Dhabi Police’s GIS Center for Security emerged as the winner in the Best Government Implementation category. Oman’s Information Technology Authority and the UAE’s Masdar City were runners up. “Abu Dhabi Police’s GIS Center for Security has put in place a very extensive, integrated solution that facilitates effective and efficient utilisation of police resources, emergency management, crisis simulation, as well as GIS-based information systems. Its technical implementation is commendable,” said Bhatnagar.
Major Mohammed Saleh Al Mansouri, Head of GIS Center for Security, Abu Dhabi Police, said: “The UAE Ministry of Interior’s GIS Center for Security, at Abu Dhabi Police GHQ, is delighted to receive the Best Government Implementation of Cloud Solution award. This Cloud Award recognises our efforts in developing and implementing geo-spatial security services that ensure security and safety to support the UAE Smart Society, fulfilling the vision of Dubai Smart Government that was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai.”
The GIS Center for Security is dedicating the achievement to H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Ministry of Interior for his leadership, and to H.E. Major General Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi for his support and commitment towards achieving the Government’s mission of “Smart Government in Smart Emirates”.
Major Mohammed Saleh Al Mansouri, Head of GIS Center for Security, Abu Dhabi Police, added: “We would like to thank the organizers, exhibitors, jury, and the media for this Cloud Award. From the private sector, we would also like to thank Etisalat, EMC, Esri, GISTEC, Secure, and InfiniByte for contributing to the implementation.”
The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority was crowned champion in the Best Virtualisation Solutions Implementation category ahead of runners up GASCO and the UAE’s Ministry of Economy. Bhatnagar described the winning entry a “mammoth” project that had been well optimised for operational efficiency and that had achieved “huge” Capex and Opex savings.
Thibodeaux was equally impressed. “Using virtualised systems, the General Civil Aviation Authority has created a world leading robust network to ensure an efficient cog in the regional economy,” he said.
Part of GITEX Technology Week’s GITEX TRENDS segment, Cloud Confex has been the region’s largest integrated cloud exhibition and conference for the past four years. Cloud Confex features Etisalat as a Diamond Sponsor and Accenture and F5 as Platinum Sponsors.
Today’s Cloud Confex featured a packed roster of leading international speakers, including a keynote by Cloud Awards judge Todd Thibodeaux, President and Chief Executive Officer of IT Industry Association COMPTIA.
Other speaker highlights included Fayyaz Alam, VP, Emirates Group IT, who advised attendees on preparing their networks for changes in cloud computing, based on his experience managing the data centres, operations centre, global networks, and end user devices for Emirates Group. Another Cloud Awards Judge, Daniele Catteddu, Managing Director-EMEA, Cloud Security Alliance, also featured prominently, presenting the latest tips on how companies can audit their cloud in order to reduce risk.
Other speakers on the day included Rajeev Lalwani, Partner, Deloitte Consulting, who heads its Technology Consulting Practice in the MENA region, and Dr Jassim Haji, Director Information Technology from Cloud Awards winners Gulf Air, who has implemented key innovations at Gulf Air with their World Wide Contact Centre and Cloud Computing.
Later this week, Cloud Confex officials are expecting strong attendance from IT departments of large enterprises at the Cloud Governance, Risk and Compliance Workshop on October 23-24, led by cloud expert Peter HJ van Eijk. Participants in this intensive training course will receive a practical working knowledge on governance, risk management and compliance in cloud computing.
This year’s Cloud Confex comes as IT research and advisory company Gartner predicts the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is projected to experience one of the highest global growth rates for public cloud services, increasing from 2012 to 2013 by 24.5% to USD 462.3 million. The UAE’s cloud market in particular is primed for annual compound growth of 43.7% until 2016, according to a recent report from technology-focused market intelligence firm IDC.
Across the globe, the cloud has exploded in popularity over the past few years, as companies utilise it for backup, storage, network, security and management systems. Key benefits include enhancing their IT costs and scalability, and enabling employees to access technology and data while on the go.
More than 80% of companies worldwide now use cloud solutions, according to a recent study by IT Industry Association CompTIA. The global cloud market is expected to grow from USD 40.7 billion in 2011 to USD 241 billion in 2020, according to a recent study by financial advisory firm Deloitte.
Cloud computing has been especially boosted by the rapidly-growing trend of employees bringing their own personal mobile devices to work. Gartner Inc. predicts that nearly 40% of enterprises will stop providing devices to their employees by 2016, according to a recent survey.