The year 2004 brought with it a number of significant developments in Jordan’s information and communication technology scene. We finally got a decent reduction in fast ADSL internet access. Then there was the Jordan ICT Forum. The ICT sector continued to grow, with a new generation of companies joining the party.
So what can we wish for in 2005? Here’s a list of things we’d like to see happen in the coming months:
1. Some serious effort to increase PC and internet usage inJordan:
I am sure that a deal can be made with a local or international PCmanufacturer to supply a mass-market PC for the Jordanian market (withsimple monitor) for below JD 300. And when we consider that mobile phonecompanies are willing to subsidize the latest mobile phone models as partof their effort to lock people into one and two year subscription plans, Ican’t see why our telecommunication companies, ISPs the post and thegovernment can’t help subsidize a JD 300 PC, bundled with a basic internetconnection.
And hey, here’s a tip on how to make the PC really low cost. Load up a version of the free Linux operating system on it instead of Windows, especially if a good Arabized version can be found (I mean, let’s fund a serious Linux Arabization initiative, like what’s been going on at www.arabeyes.org ).
2. Select a simple to do e-government project and just LAUNCH it:
As computer using citizens we’re eager to the see any tangible, usableresults from the much hyped e-Government initiative. So here’s an idea: in2005 just focus on one e-Gov idea and just do it. Here’s a candidate:paying traffic fines online. How about that?
3. Give us some e-commerce (for heaven’s sake!):
Ok. So there’ssome new movement in the market. For example check out adnanpharma.com , a Jordanian online pharmacy. Here’s an idea for an entrepreneur out there to try: office supplies online. Most offices in Amman have PCs and internet. How about an-commerce site supplying things like paper, pens, folders, blank CDs, etc. Worried about the online payment solution? Just ask the Adnan Pharma people how they did it or just use cash-on-delivery.
4. A research and development revolution:
The other day I read inthe newspaper that three Jordanian university students created a chip with 300,000 transistors on it. Now I’m not a chip expert, but such a studentproject sounded interesting. How about letting students build a supercomputer out of a cluster of 1000 old PCs. Or how about challenging someof our young minds to create a technology for a better search engine than Google!
Wouldn’t it be great if we wake up on 1 January 2006, with, say, 10 international patents registered by Jordanians in 2005?! If you’re a leader of one of Jordan’s rich companies reading this, ask yourself: how much have you really spent on real R&D last year (and how much have you spent on corporate gifts or dinners).
5. Let a 1000 wireless hotspot bloom:
From what I’ve been hearing from computer dealers, there still seem to be some regulatory issues regarding the proliferation of wireless internet hotspots. Regardless, let’s hope to see more private and public hotspots in Jordan. Some cafÃ©s and hotels are starting to feature wireless access. Speaking of hotels: one five-star venue in Amman charges JD 8 per hour for internet access in their lobby! Hello!? Get real, will you? Make it free. I assure you I will not come and sit in your lobby for 24 hours a day to browse the web for free.