A tsunami of tech gadgets and acronyms hit the Middle East

It used to be that online banking with HSBC or some other major multinational financial institution represented the ultimate in tech-savvy cool, the pinnacle of internet interaction among the unenlightened masses. Let’s face it, at the time, and we’re only talking a few short years ago, being able to access your local bank via a few simple clicks of a mouse, no matter where you happened to be in the country, was nothing short of revolutionary. How everything has changed. Now our consumption of all things digitally connected has become almost insatiable. We can’t seem to get enough of the latest gadgets making up the currency in this brave new technological world.

And with every passing month it appears there are more platforms and a tsunami of gizmos to tempt the technology palette of even the most passionate follower of the luddite philosophy, matched only by the growing number of acronyms which either test, confuse or simply sail over the heads of the technologically challenged – which, to be honest, is about 99.999 percent of the planetary population. Or is that too conservative a figure? Better enter the data again into the smart phone app, just to make sure.

A recent offering from Informa is a case in point. In case you are unaware, Informa is one of the world’s leading knowledge providers, creating and delivering a swathe of highly specialised information through publishing, events, training, market intelligence and expertise to individuals, businesses and organisations around the world.

From its research, Informa says, connected TV is rapidly evolving in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), with providers, broadcasters and manufacturers such as STC, OSN (Orbit Showtime Network) and Samsung already offering consumers increased access to content through smart devices.

This growing saturation of the market provides the backdrop for this year’s TV Connect MENA, which has developed in recent years to focus on IPTV, OTTtv, multi-screen and cloud TV services for regional service providers.

Kind of getting it, well sort of. So is this about accessing TV on your smart phone and the like which appears to be popular in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and other countries in the Middle East? Informa goes on to explain it further by saying the number of connected devices, particularly tablets, is fuelling demand for OTT, cloud and multi-screen services in MENA, and is expected to dramatically increase over the next five years.

Right, it’s at this point the acronym-fuelled droplets begin to coalesce into something a bit more substantial than Scotch Mist. It becomes a full-blown pea-souper of a fog when Kamelija Stefanova, the conference director of TV Connect MENA, says, “The event will explore OTT and IPTV convergence; offer presentations about developing content monetisation strategies; look at the business of CDNs and data centres for telecom operators; assess the role of advertising agencies in the connected media space; show best practice OTT and IPTV projects; and see how multi-screen services are becoming part of the digital home.”

Yes, it all sounds…interesting. Thank goodness for Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia and the font of all knowledge and wisdom.

OTT –  in the fields of broadcasting and content delivery, Over-The-Top Content (OTT) describes broadband delivery of video and audio without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content itself.

IPTV – Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet protocol suite over a packet-switched network such as the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.

Hopefully, the acronyms are demystified and it’s all just a little bit clearer now? Well, maybe not. Surely there has to be an app in all of this, somewhere. See what you make of the full Informa story here.


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