Going national on tech is a priority

Going national on tech is a priority

Today’s trade wars suggest each country must have local options on tech needs

Ahmed Al Zarouni, Special to Gulf News

Sustainability and food security dominate global headlines.

But it is important to highlight technical sustainability in ensuring the easy availability of local apps and the most important e-services that form the the foundation of people and nations. Taking note of the spats between some countries and the negative impact on technology and advances in devices, apps, and systems, it becomes clear that we need to develop a roadmap through which we adopt and develop alternative local tech systems.

And which will allow us to dispense with, at least to some extent, with apps from elsewhere. Here, we mention some of the most important apps we need to develop in line with our requirements:

Operating systems

There is no doubt that creating operating systems is one of the most complicated matters, but we can benefit from open-source systems such as Android, Linux, Chromium, and webOS, as they have have gone through extensive research and development. Our mission is to develop an alternative plan in case of non-availability of popular systems for whatever reason.

Nations must create a national intranet that replaces the global network as a backup system for deployment in extreme conditions.

Test out options

Institutions that have not yet caught up with the digital transformation need to accelerate the pace and verify that all internal systems work through the web without the need to use a specific operating system. This is important as it makes institutions flexible and eliminates need for any one operating system to support remote work.

App availability

There is no doubt that it is one of the biggest blessings, by providing a single platform that includes millions of apps for various uses and innovations. Unfortunately, the greed of some, various restrictions on use, and theft of ideas is strongly observed in those who control app stores. Even in the choice of content, you find certain apps being placed on a pedestal and others obliterated.

The availability of alternative app stores must be a requirement… and a challenge in itself. Therefore, many people decided to adopt ‘web apps’ instead of ‘store app’. But disunity thwarts many of these attempts.

Chat platforms

Among the most important apps that need localization relate to messaging and chat applications, whether in writing, audio, or video. It is necessary to provide alternatives that are identical – but better than the available and offered. And everyone should adopt these national platforms to be effective.

Mapping out

The existence of alternative systems for maps and navigation tools should preferably be provided by service providers due to the size and accuracy of their database. And given the possibility of providing it to everyone without the need for an internet service. Support it by following up on traffic situation, road conditions, and connecting them to the infrastructure systems of cities.

At the same time, develop realistic plans in developing transportation networks and the distribution of stores, services, clinics, pharmacies, and other abundant information can be mapped out. In some developed countries, you find most citizens use only their local apps.


Strangely, there are no national systems to make payments over the smartphone, such as the Samsung Pay, which is the most flexible among its peers. The app can add all your bank cards at the touch of a button, and this is what I have not seen on Apple Pay or Google Pay so far. We need a national alternative for all payment methods, harmonization between banks, and adopting it as the main means of payment.

Connected devices

One of the biggest challenges with this type of device is that it needs a master server to connect to for executing orders. In China and other countries, we find hundreds of national platforms that enable any device to connect to, which created an universe of connected devices compatible with all services such as Google, Alexa, Apple Home, and others.

We lack in such platforms, and they are important especially with the amount of data that we waste and goto others. What is important is that they save substantial amounts of data and privacy.

Machine learning

It is important to reproduce machine learning systems, or what is called in the media as “artificial intelligence”, and provide them locally. Indeed, it is one of the most important to implement given the many uses.

Always on centrestage

Industry is the cornerstone of a nation’s sustainability, and our need is to provide the most important parts and networks. Even if they are produced with licenses from international companies, we have to learn the craft, develop it, and provide it nationally.

– Ahmed Al Zarouni is a Dubai-based tech specialist.

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