Omantel, the leading and first telecommunications company in Oman and a key role-player in MENA, officially launched its path-breaking Innovation Labs on January 10. Along with the Labs, the Company also inaugurated its 5G experience center, the Omantel Innovation Oasis, and E-Dukkan, Middle East’s first unmanned convenience store.
The launch event was presided over by Guest of Honor His Highness Sayyid Dr Fahad bin Al Julanda Al Said, Vice Chancellor of Sultan Qaboos University and witnessed the presence of representatives from various ministries and local start-up support entities and partners.
The Omantel Innovation Labs have been launched to leverage Omantel’s expertise, partnerships, reach and access to technology to contribute to Oman’s Vision 2040 and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in new and emerging technologies namely 5G, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Customer Experience technology and Big Data.
Omantel Innovation Labs initiative is based on three broad goals – Ecosystem, Innovation and Investment. It aims to create an ecosystem of partners that can catalyse the rapid growth of technology start-ups in Oman; develop a platform that can identify and support relevant innovations in Oman to maintain Omantel’s prominent position as the leader in technology and identify and invest in a portfolio of start-ups that are strategically aligned with Omantel’s strategic growth plan.
Participating start-ups benefit from a 1,100 sqm space that inspires and promotes knowledge-sharing and co-working within themselves and with Omantel teams. The space has nine well-equipped meeting rooms, a community square, a hardware lab, co-working space and individual offices. The space will not just host the tech start-ups but also be the venue for multiple ecosystem activities that engage and link them with corporate partners, academia, investors and government entities.
The Omantel Innovation Oasis is a showcase of uses of 5G technology and other frontier technologies. It complements the Omantel Innovation Labs as a place where incubated tech start-ups can potentially showcase their innovations in the future.
The Innovation Labs will organize, participate in, and host multiple activities to support Omantel’s internal innovation agenda by providing systematic spaces, approaches, events and activities that can accelerate product conceptualization, prototyping, testing and deployment of solutions to Oman and Omantel-centric challenges. Both the Innovation Labs and the Omantel Innovation Oasis will unable and empower Omani tech entrepreneurs and pave the way for Omani companies to lead the digital transformation in the sultanate.
E-Dukaan at the Omantel headquarters is powered by artificial intelligence and IoT. It brings queue-free, cashless, grab-and-go shopping experience and is an example of how important sectors of the economy can function seamlessly and efficiently using IoT. Shoppers can walk out with their items, without having to get their purchases scanned for prices at the counter or having to deal with physical money or bank cards. AI sensors automatically detect items in the shopping basket and bill the customer directly from his virtual wallet through an App. The store has no billing counters or cashiers.
His Highness Sayyid Dr Fahad bin Al Julanda Al Said commented, “I congratulate Omantel on these path-breaking launches. They are yet another step towards realizing Oman’s digital future and economic diversification objectives and align with Oman Vision 2040 objectives. Seeing these start-ups harness frontier technologies under Omantel Innovation Labs and contribute towards national growth while being examples of entrepreneurial spirit gives us immense pride. I have complete faith and confidence in the sharp young Omani minds. They have the talent, and Omantel is playing the enabler by guiding and shaping their ideas into successful, profitable ventures.”
His Highness Sayyid Dr. Fahad bin Al Julanda Al Said further said, “The parallel launch of Omantel Innovation Oasis and E-Dukaan underscore their symbiosis and synergy with Omantel Innovation Labs. While the Labs incubate, the Oasis showcases the potential of frontier digital technologies while the smart store is a real-world application of innovation. I once again congratulate Omantel as well as the start-ups.”
Talal bin Said Al Mamari, CEO, Omantel said, “We are excited and proud of these launches. The Omantel Innovation Labs are a platform that will channelize the Company’s resources in a way that they are invested in the growth of Oman’s tech entrepreneurial domain. We are aligned with the goals of Oman Vision 2040. The Labs are a vital component in our journey towards a digital future. They will put expertise in the right and deserving start-ups that are looking to push the boundaries of economic growth through self-reliance, riding on technology. We wish the start-ups the best and I am sure that it will be a symbiotic relationship where we learn and gain from each other. We look forward to more local innovation through Omantel Innovation Labs.”
He added, “We want the world to know that 5G has more applications than perceived. E-Dukaan is an initiative Omantel is very proud of as it is the first smart store in the entire Middle East. Omantel provided the necessary smart technologies while OOMCO introduced a mix of products compatible with the technologies used in the store. We are certain that shoppers will enjoy the experience.”
Five Omani start-ups are already honing their market preparedness under Omantel Innovation Labs’ Accelerator Program designed in collaboration with local and international partners. The program is tailored to the needs of each participating start-up to ensure that they commercialize, grow rapidly, and scale effectively, while ensuring the technical feasibility, market desirability, and financial viability of their products and operations.
The companies are Autoplant an AI and IoT solutions for the farming industry to improve agricultural decision making, Lamma, Oman’s first super app, a unified communication platform with payment integration, Mamun, an embedded credit, payments & insurance platform, Pixel Tech, a subscription-based tool that allows sellers in the GCC to easily set up digital stores and sell their products online and Remedy.om, a platform that connects patients with clinics and therapists. In addition, 3 new start-up winners of the last edition of Upgrade program will be incubated within Omantel Innovation Labs.
These companies are eligible for perks worth over USD 250,000 in cloud computing, legal services, accounting and other areas as well as hands on support from local and international mentors.
Omantel is the Sultanate’s first and leading integrated telecommunications services provider,
enabling the digital society to flourish, allowing new ways of doing business and delivering a world of information, news and entertainment. While striving to ensure optimum customer satisfaction, Omantel plays a key social role to provide the required support and subsidy to all sectors of the Omani society.
Source: Omantel Press Release