Middle East oil and gas sector to embrace intelligent solutions in 2014: IDC

Oil and gas companies will this year be among the first organizations in the Middle East to deploy services integrating mobility with intelligent solutions such as M2M and unified communications.

Such is one of the headline predictions from IDC about the development of the Middle East’s business network services market in 2014.

The market-research company says the integration of mobility with intelligent solutions will “remain in focus for enhancing process efficiencies”, providing organizations with tools needed to optimize processes, foster employee collaboration and enable faster decision-making.

But it issues a caution that such mobility systems are complex and require integration scenarios with multiple interfaces, technologies and stakeholders.

For that reason, it believes their early adopters will be drawn from among large businesses in verticals such as oil and gas, transport logistics and retail.

It also expects to see burgeoning demand for M2M applications in select verticals, while telecoms operators in the region aim to play a central role in the M2M value chain.

Deployment of M2M solutions appears to have become a key technology focus area among Middle Eastern businesses and IDC advises operators to seize the opportunity to develop a technical ecosystem around M2M that includes devices, innovative applications and delivery platforms.

“Mobile M2M-centric IoT [Internet of Things] applications are becoming more vertically aligned in the Middle East,” says the company. “Operators are increasingly looking for ways to target specific industries such as automotive, healthcare, logistics and transportation, security, smart metering and energy by putting M2M at the center of their value propositions.”

IDC also reckons government programs to improve healthcare, education and governance infrastructure will provide a boost to the ICT sector in 2014.

“Furthermore, the development of smart cities, as well as the expansion of multinational companies in the Middle East, will increase pressure on local businesses to become more mature in their use of ICT applications,” said Paul Black, director of telecommunications and media for IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.