In 2016, the Middle East saw noticeable growth in its IT, technology, and telecom sectors.
In addition to this growth, large scale projects such as the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Hyperloop and Morocco’s enormous concentrated solar plant show that the Middle East’s technology industries are dreaming big and confident in the region’s potential.
In this post we will be sharing several trends that will impact the region in 2017 and the coming years.
Mobile and Internet of Things Make Strides
A recent report released by GSMA showed that the mobile industry generated over $150 billion to the Middle East and North African economies last year. They also anticipate that this figure will continue to increase in the coming years reaching nearly $200 billion by 2020.
Meanwhile, mobile voice-activated technologies such as Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri emerged as the dominant interface for smart homes and other hands free technologies. Expect voice to see considerable expansion throughout 2017, especially as more languages are introduced and optimized.
On the roads, you can expect to see the effects of autonomous vehicles on transportation across the region. The rollout will be limited at first, but the infrastructure is already starting to grow enabling more connectivity and data sharing within the autonomous vehicle industries.
Private Messaging Takes on Social Media
2016 saw the shift from public social media to private messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
There are several reasons as to why social media is being used less and less for communication, but privacy is certainly a big one. Many people say the public nature of social networks puts them under too much social pressure. Private messaging apps allow for more meaningful conversations away from the burden to show off how ‘amazing’ your life is.
While this may be better for consumers, this shift will impact marketers in a big way. Brands will need to rethink their whole approach to digital marketing as this trend continues, both in terms of the content they produce and how they can encourage meaningful organic conversations.
Egypt Technology Sector Starts to Recover
In Egypt, a number of innovative platforms, both local and regional, are reshaping the way people work in the country.
The taxi service Careem is growing rapidly and has secured substantial funding to keep that grow going. GetMumm has transformed the ways cooks can connect with potential customers. Tutorama is expanding education and providing new ways for students to get additional support in virtually any subject.
All these platforms are changing the definition of what it means to work and be employed all while creating innovative opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people.
What trends do you think will shape 2017? Are there any major ones that we missed? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll do our best to incorporate them into our upcoming posts. And if you’re looking for more information be sure to follow us on Twitter.