Huawei Digital inCloud inTouch Cooperation Forum expanding ties between telecom operators, content and service providers
Dubai, UAE - May 28, 2015: With the region’s digital media and entertainment industry forecast to expand rapidly in the coming years, an assembly of leading telecom operators, content & service providers, internet hosting business and ICT companies from around the world came together this week to explore new collaboration and partnership models through which to better serve Middle East consumers with online content and services offerings aimed at accelerating the region’s digital economy.
Taking place in Dubai, UAE, the “Digital inCloud inTouch Cooperation Forum”—hosted by global ICT solutions provider Huawei—welcomed over thirty telecom operators from the MENA region as well as over 100 content and services providers from around the world.
Participants came together in support of the Huawei inTouch Partnership Program, a cooperative alliance empowering local telecom operators to pioneer original content, communication & entertainment services for the public. The first of its kind initiative brings together gaming, video, music and communication content providers from around the world to the Middle East. The program further aims to establish partnerships between content, application and handset providers, constructing a win-win value chain through end-to-end value added service.
“Within the Middle East there is great enthusiasm behind digital services, although some organizations may not be fully equipped with the in-house resources necessary to transform their ideas to reality,” notes Justin Chen, Director of Middle East Hosting Department at Huawei. “By providing support tools and facilitating new service partnerships, we can help bring to life the creativity and passion of the Middle East.”
“Welcoming content and service providers from around the world, the Digital inCloud inTouch Cooperation Forum has showcased many of the exciting innovations planned for consumers in the Middle East,” adds Mac Taylor, Chief Consultant of Digital Services Product Line, Huawei. “To power this future vision, the Middle East ICT community is now embracing a more open industry value chain; one that fosters the integration of capabilities across borders and across platforms.”
The market for digital media and entertainment services in the Middle East has been marked by rapid growth in recent years. According to a recent report by PwC, the total entertainment and media spending on digital within the Middle East and Africa is forecast to grow at a 12.2% compound annual growth rate between 2013 and 2018, accounting for 65% of global entertainment and media spending growth during this time period. Experts at Strategy& have separately noted gaming as the fastest growing media segment in the Middle East, expected to nearly triple in size in the coming years — from $1.6 billion in 2014 to $4.4 billion in 2022.
To date Huawei’s inTouch Partnership Program includes over 2100 partners worldwide collaborating across eight global Hosting Centers. Last year Huawei opened the company’s first Middle East Hosting Center to support the technological requirements of the inTouch Program. The center is a regional hub for all research and development efforts led through the program. These include access to open developer interfaces, app development tools, technology support staff & trainings, and testing environments to speed up the commercial progress of new services.
Alongside the Middle East Hosting Center, Huawei also launched in 2014 its own dedicated entertainment portal for the region known as Wakti—meaning “My Time” in Arabic. The online portal houses the various services developed through the global inTouch Program and will ultimately help regional telecom operators to provide more content service ahead of major events like the Expo 2020 Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. One of the operators already using the service is Zain, which recently unveiled an alliance with Huawei in offering the Wakti app to both its prepaid and post-paid customers.
New Products for Digital Era
During the forum, organizers Huawei unveiled two new platforms expanding the opportunities offered to users through the inTouch Partnership Program. MuchTV is a new on-demand video streaming service that offers TV shows and movies to viewers across the Middle East directly to mobiles, tablets, TVs, and computers. MuchTV offers unlimited viewing of a rich library of content from any internet-connected device, including Arabic, Hollywood, Bollywood and a variety of kids content.
Additionally, the Huawei Payment@ Digital inCloud System was unveiled as a new payment system that provides smartphone users with easier purchasing tools for apps, games, videos, music, and products from e-commerce websites. The system bridges the requirements of digital content providers and e-commerce merchants through telecom operators’ own billing channels, providing more efficient and safe transactions supported by Huawei professional staff in the Middle East.
A new memorandum of understanding was further signed between Huawei and service providers Mobvilla, Jiaxing Changhe, iFree, Movius and iReader to be part of the Digital inCloud Services portfolio.
This year’s forum builds on the success of the first event held last year which garnered fruitful discussions and agreements targeted at pushing the innovation of new services and applications in the Middle East.