With the emphasis on reducing dependency on the oil industry, several Middle Eastern countries are formulating strategies to boost the contribution of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) market to the gross domestic product (GDP). Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Innovative Business Models Spur Growth of Middle East ICT Market, Outlook 2021, finds that governments’ digital transformation initiatives and enterprises’ acceptance of disruptive technologies catalyze the Middle East ICT market growth. As a result, it is expected to reach $95.05 billion by 2025 from $84.23 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4%.
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“Rising demand for technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and internet of things (IoT), will drive market growth,” said Shibapriya Saha, Program Manager at Frost & Sullivan. “5G, classrooms of the future, eGovernance, next-generation healthcare, smart cities, smart mobility, and smart tourism are key focus areas for governments and enterprises.”
Saha added: “As enterprises in the Middle East move to the cloud-based model, the region will become one of the most profitable markets for global cloud and data center providers. Industry and technology convergence is redefining organizational boundaries, and the focus is on developing innovative, cross-industry business models, such as FinTech (financial services), EdTech (education), and MarTech (marketing).”
To tap into lucrative growth prospects, market participants should focus on five key areas:
- 5G: 5G networks’ ability to provide massive machine-type communication will accelerate its adoption in the GCC IoT/M2M (machine to machine) industry and will support use cases such as connected cars, grid management, fleet management, utility meter reading, and track-and-trace systems for logistics.
- IoT: The adoption of IoT will primarily be driven by the manufacturing and industrial sectors as they look toward adopting and implementing concepts such as Industry 4.0 and predictive maintenance.
- AI: Banking, retail, and healthcare are expected to be the forerunners in the large-scale adoption of AI in the Middle East. These are labor-intensive sectors and will provide immense scope for industrial automation.
- Cybersecurity: Business risks associated with cyber-attacks and the consequent negative impact on enterprises’ brand value and perception will drive future cybersecurity investment in the Middle East.
- Gaming and eSports: The growing consumer appetite for on-the-go gaming and the surge in in-app micro-transactions will support the development and the transformation of the eSports and gaming industry in the region.