The signing of Digital Oman
ME's PlayStation Zone at e-Games

e-Games, "the Gulf's official console, mobile, online games and location-based entertainment event" (, is scheduled to run 2 - 3 May 2005, at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel. According to Hisham Al Zubaidi, Head of Marketing at KOM: "This year's event will see telcos, programmers, graphic artists, animators, producers, game designers, audio professionals, ISPs, educators and others involved in the development and use of interactive games gather to exchange ideas, network and debate the shape of tomorrow's interactive entertainment industry."

e-Games will feature seven in-depth workshops that will cover the various gaming platforms, including: handheld devices, mobile phones, gaming consoles and PDAs. Workshops will be delivered by industry veterans and luminaries from Sony, Nokia, Sun (Java), Arabia Anti Piracy Alliance,, Macrospace, GameLab London, RealityCG, Immersive Education and the Infocomm Group.

It's set to be an exciting event with many of the world's most innovative gaming companies demonstrating and talking about "where the gaming industry is, how it's evolving as well as what'll be on the store shelves two to three years from now."

Mohammed Al Ghassani, Director, KOM adds that e-Games is "well timed, happening at this rapidly moving point in the gaming industry as new gaming consoles, gaming enabled mobile phones and Internet gaming start to really hit the Gulf"s consumer market. A recent Wireless World Forum report valuing the mobile games market at US$1.9 billion in 2006, rising from US$520 million in 2003.This clearly illustrates the enormity of the global gaming business, one good reason why we've launched e-Games, an event we intend to run annually."

e-Games is also hosting a three-day Sony PlayStation Zone (1-3 May) that is intended to attract the entire family, where the suits battle it out with the kids. The PlayStation Zone is sponsored by ME, Oman's sole authorised distributor for: Sony, Supra, Ricoh, Daikin and Chigo. ME General Manager, Mr. Bijlani says: "The company's commitment to Oman's gaming community is full on. Over the past 12 months PlayStation has emerged as a strong growth category for ME with even stronger prospects for growth with the soon-to-be-launched PSP (PlayStation Portable). Plus, ME's PlayStation Zone will showcase the latest titles in PlayStation's arsenal."

To get more info on e-Games, contact Hisham Al Zubaidi on

e-Games is a two-day conference that has been designed specifically by KOM, Oman's newly-launched Technology Park - to serve the needs of Gulf-based companies and professionals involved in producing interactive edutainment software and hardware for video game consoles, mobile phones, PCs and the Internet.

Each of the event's seven workshops - delivered by: Siemens, Nokia; Sony; Sun; Arabia Anti Piracy Alliance; Macrospace; Al; Immersive Education; GameLab London; Gamer t.v.; Infocomm Group; and RealityCG - will have a strong emphasis on interactivity.

Today's gaming industry is big business. Recent figures confirm that the worldwide gaming market is valued at between US$30 and US$35 billion. To put those figures into context, the size of the gaming industry is now approaching the music business, which is worth around US$38 billion and has already surpassed the motion picture industry in terms of box office revenue. In brief, gaming has emerged as a critical form of entertainment and leisure for the majority of 15 - 30 year-olds across the globe.

Hundreds of millions of consumer gamers use a variety of gaming platforms: more than 200 million play PC games, more than 140 million play console games, another 100 million play handheld games. Mobile and online gaming is now emerging, mainly through PCs, console devices and mobile phones. In addition, more than 60 percent of gamers are now over the age of eighteen. This widening age distribution means that gaming is not, as some may perceive, for Gen Y-ers only. Indeed, analysts predict that games will move very much into the mainstream - something that will see ordinary people playing games much more, particularly using mobile phones and TV sets.

Says Mohammed Al Ghassani, KOM's Director: "Sponsored by Siemens, Oman Mobile, Nokia and Huawei e-Games offers delegates the opportunity to take part in a two-day interactive event on mobile, handheld and online gaming. It'll be an informal and lively event where the entire games value chain comes together to discuss the burning issues at the very heart of the industry."

Leading industry players will guide and stimulate discussions to provide delegates with an insight into what is driving and hindering the gaming industry as well as focusing on how to generate more revenue from the creation and provision of games, both now and in the future.

Should you wish to attend e-Games contact Hisham Al Zubaidi on:

ISACA Muscat is Best Medium Chapter in Asia

Info rmation Systems Audit and Control Association’s (ISACA) Muscat Chapter earned the 2004 K.Wayne Snipes award for the Best Medium Chapter in Asia.

Competition was particularly intense last year. The award, established in 1989, provides recognition to those chapters who meet or exceed special service goals by actively supporting local membership, and thus the IS audit and control profession. Chapter performance is assessed based on the following criteria. Membership growth; member service projects; sponsored educational events; meetings attendance; involvement in association committees, or with association activities; involvement with other professional organisations; and, compliance with headquarters (Illinois, USA). ISACA began in 1967, when a small group of individuals with similar jobs "auditing controls in the computer systems that were becoming increasingly critical to the operations of their organisations," sat down to discuss a centralised source of information and guidance in the field. In 1969, the group formalised, as the EDP Auditors Association. In 1976 the association formed an education foundation to undertake large-scale research efforts to expand the knowledge and value of the IT governance and control field.

Today, ISACA's membership numbers more than 35,000 worldwide, with members in more than 100 countries from a variety of professional IT-related positions. There are over 160 chapters, in 65 countries worldwide. The Muscat Chapter was established in 2000 under the sponsorship of Central Bank affiliate the College of Banking and Financial Studies (CBFS). Muscat has a membership of about 150 professionals, from the accounting, IT, auditing, consultancy, finance professionals, banking and regulatory field. For more info see, or

ROP & Nawras lead the way for e-government in Oman

With the recent growth in e-government services, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) and Nawras - the newly launched mobile operator - have joined forces to develop a digital link between the two entities that enables Nawras to activate lines over the phone by using the customer's civil ID number to verify personal information. This is done without disclosing sensitive information. The customer must explicitly approve Nawras Terms and Conditions which authorise such checks, clearly indicated on the Nawras package.

This e-initiative is seen as an important step in helping to shape e-government practices in Oman, one that has redefined traditional business conduct for both the ROP as well as the Sultanate's telecommunication industry. With Nawras, photo copying ID cards becomes a thing of the past, instead, relevant personal information is checked instantly through the ROP's civil ID database, making it easier to multiply sale channels to 450 outlets across the Sultanate with minimum logistical and overhead requirements.

Colonel Dr. Sulaiman Al-Harthy, Director General of Civil Status of ROP, says: "From our position, supporting e-government initiatives through this electronic integration, is a positive move in the right direction, which is likely to pave the way for other integrations in the future within the e-government framework". Ross Cormack, Nawras CEO added by saying: "We're very pleased that customers can now register and activate mobile services by using their ID number 24/7 without being restricted by physical boundaries or the paperwork that's generally associated with obtaining a mobile phone line. Our approach has all along been to provide an excellent customer experience."

It's a mini-revolution in the way mobile business is conducted in the Sultanate - by increasing reach and speed to the Omani people - as well as a significant leap forward in Oman's e-government era.