KEYNOTE SPEAKERS & PANELISTS

Dr. Salim Sultan Al-Ruzaiqi
CEO, ITA

As CEO of ITA, since its inception in 2006, Dr. Salim is leading the implementation of the Digital Oman Strategy (e.Oman). Throughout his 28-year career, Dr. Salim has held a number of different technical, diplomatic and leadership roles in the Sultanate of Oman.

Prior to ITA, Dr. Salim was leading the IT initiatives at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1987. During his service at the ministry, he joined the Sultanate’s Diplomatic Corp as the First Secretary at the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in Washington DC, from 1998 to 2003. Read more

In addition to his responsibilities, Dr. Salim is the Chairman of the Omani IT Association and member of the board of directors of;

  • Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA)
  • Public Authority of Manpower Register (PAMAR)
  • National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI)
  • UNESCWA Board of Governors
  • International Advisory Board of ITU-IMPACT
  • The Advisory Panel for the World Development Report 2016: Internet for Development

He is also a member of the Executive Committee of Oman University Project, member of the Executive Committee of the Science and Technology City and member of the GCC eGovernment Executive Committee. In addition, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Omantel and Oman Mobile for four years.

Dr. Salim was awarded the IT Man of the Year 2011, by the Pan Arab Web Awards Academy, having been selected for his outstanding achievements promoting the Arab digital world and for his unwavering commitment to the Digital Oman Strategy (e.Oman) and to developing the IT industry in Sultanate of Oman. He also received the Pioneer of Achievement Award of the 8th Arab Telecom and Internet Forum 2006.

Dr. Salim holds a Doctorate of Science degree in Information Systems and Communications from Robert Morris University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a Master of Science in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University, in Washington DC, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

Said Al-Mandhari
CEO, Oman Broadband Company

Said Al-Mandhari is the first Chief Executive Officer of Oman Broadband Company since January 2014, responsible for running the overall business of the company including setting and leading the implementation of the organization’s strategy and objectives, and overseeing its operating model. Oman Broadband is the National Broadband Operator in charge of deploying telecom infrastructure across the Sultanate, to be wholesale to service operator and government for their provision of FTTH services to general public. Since joining, he has led Oman Broadband through a period of significant growth, which has contributed significantly to achieve the infrastructure roll-out goals set in the National Broadband Strategy.Read more

He has established an in-house professional team managing a wide national broadband network empowering the future for smart applications and systems.

Prior to be chosen as Oman Broadband CEO, Eng. Al Mandhari was General Manager of MDS-Oman for six years, managing more than 250 professionals in the ICT sector, and before this held senior roles at the Government of Oman in the ICT field.

In addition to his current position, he is working as an advisor for The Research Council (TRC), and a member of multiple Industry Advisory Board in different universities and colleges.

Graham Colclough
Chairman, Smart Cities Council Europe

Within his position as Chairman of Smart Cities Council Europe Graham Colclough is committed to transforming the cities market globally. After many years leading the Global Cities business at Capgemini, Graham co-founded UrbanDNA where he collaborate and his team with progressive cities and industry partners internationally, to identify and deliver better solutions – faster – to common urban challenges. Graham is presently driving the global smart cities agenda through positions within the European Commission (EC) Smart Cities & Communities Innovation Partnership (EIP); UK Ministerial Smart Cities Forum; ‘6-Nations’ Smart Cities Forum; ISO Smart City Strategic Advisory Group; and board of the UK Cities Standard Institute. Read more

He advises, shapes, leads, and delivers programmes and solutions for (groups of) cities and industrials seeking to make step-change improvements in cities.

Graham brings leadership, innovation, and dynamism to his work – with a passion for seeing delivery of better client, business and societal outcomes as a result.

Sheikh Talal Said Marhoon Al Mamari
CEO, Omantel

Mr. Talal Said Al Mamari is the Chief Executive Officer of Omantel since 29th June 2014. He has 23 years of experience in telecom sector working for Omantel. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he held several leadership positions and the last one was Chief Financial Officer of Omantel. Talal Al Mamari played instrumental role in different initiatives and projects carried out by the Company including the IPO in 2005, the restructuring of Omantel by bringing the mobile and fixed operations together, the full legal merger of Oman Mobile with Omantel, the second divestment of Government share in Omantel. He sits on the Board of different Authorities, Companies and Investment Funds such as Oman Corporate Governance & Sustainability Centre, Worldcall Telecom, and Al Amal Fund. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania.

Sheikh Saif Hilal al Hosni
Regional Director SMSP for Public Sector – Microsoft Gulf

Sheikh Saif Hilal Al Hosni is the regional director SMSP for Public Sector – Microsoft Gulf since June 2015. He looks after business of Microsoft for Public Sector in Small, Medium Enterprises and Partners in Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar and UAE. He first joined Microsoft as public sector lead in 2009 and was appointed Business Development Manager in 2011. Al Hosni earned his degrees in MSc in Information Systems at University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth – U.K, and B.Eng. (Honors) Information Technology at Staffordshire University Stafford – U.K. He has extensive experience and education in the areas of IT management, e-Government, IT projects management, and strategic planning as well as strong relationships within the IT community in Oman and the various government organizations. Read more

Prior to his role at Microsoft, Al Hosni was the Director of the Computer Department at the Ministry of Finance, managing the complete daily operation of the department and all the ministry’s critical IT platforms and operations.

Prior to that, Al Hosni was the Director of Computer Centre at the College of Sharia and Law, responsible for the complete operations of the computer department and all its units and services. He also worked as System Analyst at Oman International Bank where he designed and developed different software applications using RGP language and SQL.

Among the projects he has undertaken, Al Hosni was a member of the technical team responsible for reviewing the portal specifications of UbarPortal – Oman Government Service Portal, E-Visa and visitors system, E-Tendering, E-payments Gateway. He was also the Project Manager for connecting the Ministry of Finance to the government network and connecting various government bodies accessing the ministry systems remotely.

Ian Charles Dench
CEO, Ooredoo

Ian Dench joined Ooredoo Oman in January 2017. He previously worked for Ooredoo Qatar operations, joining in 2006 as Executive Director, Corporate & VIP Accounts. In 2012 he was appointed as the Chief Marketing Officer. He was a key member of the Ooredoo Qatar leadership team and had significantly contributed in building Ooredoo’s market share in Qatar through developing and maintaining strong product and service portfolios. Ian is also a Member of the Board of ICT Company NavLink and an advisory board member for the Asia Pacific Internet Group. Ian has over 25 years of experience with leading telecommunication companies across Europe, Asia & Middle East. Prior to joining Ooredoo he was the Head of Sales & Marketing operations for Batelco. He also held various senior leadership positions with O2 & British Telecom.

PROGRAM SPEAKERS

Ghazi Atallah
NeXgen Group

Ghazi has over 20 years of experience in the IT and Telecommunications industry. He is the CEO of neXgen Group, a smart city services provider and technology consulting company focused on helping Telecom and Smart City customers realize business value out of technology investments. Ghazi Received the Telecom leadership award at the 8th Arab Internet and Telecom conference in May 2006. He was also named among most influential ME IT leaders in Al Idari magazine’s special issue of TOP 100 ME business leaders in Feb 2006. Ghazi was the MD/VP for Cisco’s Service Provider (SP) business in the Emerging Markets theatre that covers Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa as well as Russia and CIS countries, a $1.1B business for Cisco. Read more

He was responsible for defining the strategy and Go-To-Market plans for Service Providers business-both fixed and mobile operators-in a region that includes Cisco’s fastest growing markets worldwide. Ghazi also sat on Cisco’s Corporate SP Business Council that is tasked with shaping Cisco’s SP technology strategy worldwide.

He was also GM of Cisco’s MENA operations for 3 years, built and lead one of the most effective GTM organizations in the region, Cisco’s highest growth region worldwide. Expanded the business from $100M to well over $500M. As well as being GM of Cisco Saudi Arabia for 2 years. Prior to that in Canada, He was the head of multimedia ATM access technology at General Datacom’s R&D labs in Montreal, Canada. Leading a team of engineers in R&D to develop a new product line. Previous to that, He was Chief Network Architect in the network planning group for Teleglobe Canada, Canada’s international carrier.

Ammar Sabbagh
Smart Sustainable City

Executive Manager in ICT strategy and solutions with business acumen in IOT, M2M, vertical solutions; Experience in industrial market focused on the Energy/Utilities, Transportation and Public Safety verticals. In his current role, Sabbagh is driving Ericsson strategy and business development for Smart City/Cities Globally. Lead teams in creating value from ICT solutions/applications and securing contracts with cities across the globe.Smart City – Smart cities – Smart communities – Smart Energy – Smart Mobility – Smart Transportation – Smart Buildings – Smart Services – Smart Infrastructure – Smart Solutions. Sit on the FTTH MENA board and lead the Smart City Advisory group. Read more

Prior to joining Ericsson, Ammar held different positions with Marconi in Middle East as Director of Professional Services responsible for 350 professional and delivering several contracts in Middle East. Before that Ammar was responsible for telecom and ISP network operations with Telecom Operator (Time Warner Telecom) in Western USA.

Sabbagh is from the US where he earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, USA, and his MBA from Marylhurst University, also in Portland.

Ahmed M.Raafat
Microsoft

With more than 12 years of experience in Information Technology and security , Raafat has a wide experience across multiple industrial verticals like Government, FSI and Oil& Gas. Raafat is working in Microsoft for the last 6 years and he is currently Technology Strategist in Microsoft Gulf based out of Oman. During the last 4 years Raafat had been a trusted advisor for a lot of organizations in the local region helping them through the cloud journey starting from Private to public and building hydride cloud. And as we are now in the four-revolution industry recently Raafat focus area is Digital Transformation, where he help organization and Microsoft partner to build their digital transformation strategy plan using technologies like Cloud, Big Data, Hadoop, analytics, IOT and Microservices.

Dr. Ali Al Shidhani
Research Council Oman

Dr. Ali Al Shidhani is the director of Research Centers at the Research Council in Oman. He manages existing research centers and leads the development of new centers. In addition, he manages Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Research. His mission at work is to push the ICT research and innovation agenda forward through several programs and initiatives. Dr. Ali was a visiting researcher at City University London where he researched the topic of information security in future cities. Previously, he was a full time Assistant Professor at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University where he was teaching, conducting research and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate projects. Read more

Dr. Ali developed and taught several courses in Digital Logic Design, Embedded Systems Design, Systems Design for Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computing Systems and Programming Languages. His research interest is in wireless security and has published 17 papers in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences in addition to a book chapter. He received B.Eng in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Sultan Qaboos University in 2001, Masters of IT in Data Communications from Queensland University of Technology, Australia in 2003. Dr. Ali received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2010. Dr. Ali is a member of several national ICT committees and has delivered numerous presentations in ICT in national and international conferences and forums.

Ammar Al Kharusi
Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran)

Ammar Al Kharusi is a Director of Development in Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran). After obtaining a B.Sc in Civil Engineering from the University of Sharjah, he started his career as a site engineer in Sharjah. Moving swiftly between employment opportunities in UAE, he joined Turner International Middle East, one of the most reputable project Management firms in the region and one of the oldest construction companies in the world. During the tenure with Turner, he worked on iconic projects such as The Discovery Gardens, The Dubai Mall, and Al Raha Beach Development. Read more

He joined Omran and was part of the team that delivered the award winning Alila Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, the first LEED certified project in the country. Ammar is PMP certified by the Project management institute (PMI) and a certified LEED Accredited Professional by the United States Green Building Council. Currently a team member on Madinat Al Irfan Urban Development.

Saud Al Nofali
National Centre for Statistics and Information

Saud Al Nofali, Director of Spatial Information working with Oman National Spatial Data Infrastructure, is responsible for development of Centralized National Spatial Information, and make it available for all Sultanate of Oman. Geospatial technology is central to providing a technology platform that forms the backbone of a Smart city – enabling better city governance through greater automation, better asset monitoring, Public Safety, sustainable urban planning and intelligent routing and transportation services.Read more

National Centre for Statistics and Information is mandated to implement “Oman National Spatial Data Infrastructure” with a mission of “Providing geospatial information and services for all groups in Oman society through a unified and standardized geospatial infrastructure built using comprehensive framework of integrated policies, standards and legislation”.

Dr. Oualid Ali
GUtech and Future Cities Council

Dr. Oualid Ali has obtained a bachelors degree in Management Information Systems (MIS), in 1998, from the “Institut Superieur de Gestion” (Higher Institute of Management), in Tunis, Tunisia. In 1999, he moved to Canada, Laval University, Quebec, to carry on further studies and obtained a Master degree in Computer Science in 2001, and PhD in Computer Science in 2006. After his PhD study, in 2006, he moved to UK to work as senior research assistant because he has received a 2 years- MARIE-CURIE prestigious scholarship to work in bot York University and Hull University. In 2008 he moved to the University of Sharjah (UAE) to work in the MIS Department in the College of Business Administration. In 2010, he became the Head of the MIS Department in the College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah. Read more

In 2015, he has moved to Muscat to hold the position of Director of the Training and Smart Solutions Center (TSSC) in the German University in Muscat, Oman and he has become responsible of research, innovation training and consultancies. Dr. Oualid Ali is a research leader in the following areas: Smart, sustainable and future cities; Digital transformation; Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Digital Leadership, Business Analytics, Big Data, Open Data, GeoSpatial Technologies (especially GIS), Management Information Systems (MIS), Business Information Systems (BIS), Business Intelligence (BI), Location Intelligence (LI), etc. He has published several papers in renowned international journals. He has participated in many international and national events such as conferences, symposiums, etc. as a guest or keynote speaker. He has participated in numerous projects around the world, either as a researcher, trainer or consultant.”
In the field of Smart, Sustainable and Future Cities, Dr. Oualid is considered as one of the international well-recognized expert. He has participated in several smart (future) cities projects as a researcher or as a consultant. He was involved in the planning and implementation of future cities in many domains such as Smart mobility and transportation, smart tourism and destination, smart energy, smart healthcare, smart logistics, smart waste management, smart parking, smart water management, smart education, smart security, smart policing and law enforcement, etc. He has given several training and capacity building courses related to that field. Moreover, he is a member of several organizations related to the area of Smart Cities or Urban technologies. He has been invited in several occasions in local, regional and international events as a guest or keynote speaker in order to deliver talks about future cities and its domains. Recently he founded two organizations: The FutureCitiesCouncil.org and the ArabFutureCities.org where he is the president.

Engr. Mohammed Shamsher Ali
RESTART Company Riyadh

Engr. Mohammed Shamsher Ali: is presently the Director (Marketing & Planning) RESTART Company Riyadh (Saudi Arabia): He is an Electronics & Communication Engineer, spent his professional career mostly in the specialized field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) domains, SCADA and GIS Projects in various respectable positions in India and now in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 1995. Decades of his professional involvement on Planning, Designing, Implementation and Project management having close association and committee members to various Govt, private and public sector utilities, Telecom Operators, Telecom Regulators and manufacturers has placed him to a strong platform for planning and designing the state of the Art ICT domain for the FTTH & Smart City Projects.

Christine Beylouni
FTTH Council MENA

Christine Beylouni is the Director General of FTTH Council Middle East and North Africa since 2011 and President of the FTTH Councils Global Alliance for 2015. She helped, since July 2011, increasing the strategic evolution, the member’s platform and the council’s portfolio in terms of technology, international relations and regulation in the MENA region and globally. In addition she contributed in the four committees’ development and deliverables especially training and related reporting. Over the last years, she headed the strategic regional and international affairs within mobile operators and organizations and increased their international revenues by expanding their regional and global business through the development of international services such as international roaming, interconnection, etc. Read more

She also concluded several partnerships and agreements with technology and international solutions providers and associations worldwide with regards to international connectivity and general matters.

In addition, Christine handled the internal and external regulatory affairs and ensured the regulatory compliancy in terms of commercial & consumer affairs, numbering plan, spectrum & frequencies allocation.

With around 15 years of international experience in the ICT industry and continuous focus on the regional business and regulatory issues for mobile and fixed sectors, Christine continues acting as ITU and GSMA representative for different topics such as broadband, regulatory and international affairs with strong involvement in its regional and global activities.

In addition to her international management experience she has fulfilled her professional background with telecommunication and leadership courses as well as mini MBA from London Business School and other international global organizations.

Bill Nelson
Rose Associates

Bill Nelson is the Managing Partner of Rose Associates. A former Lt Col in British Military Intelligence with broad domestic and international operational intelligence and security experience, he has worked in the private sector for over 17 years. His commercial experience includes corporate security management with Mobil Oil and Bechtel; security service provision and business management with G4S; and latterly he led the Arup Resilience, Security & Risk consulting practice in the Middle East and N Africa. He lived and worked in the Former Soviet Union for 5 years and has been in the Middle East for over 13. He speaks fluent Russian, and proficient French and German. He is an acknowledged SME on Counter Terrorism, Terrorist Methods and Tactics and Urban Security Master Planning. He is a regular speaker at international conferences.

Naoufel Kraiem
Sultan Qaboos University

Naoufel Kraiem, is an associate professor at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in Oman. He is also Coordinator of Research. He have a PhD in Computer science from University of Paris VI, France on 1995, HDR from University of Paris I-Sorbonne, France on 2010 and since then he have been working in many universities such as University of Paris 1-Sorbonne (France), University of York (UK), MBA Institute (France), University of Manouba (Tunisia), etc. During these years, I occupied several academic and administrative positions. He is a research leader in the following areas: Smart, sustainable and future cities; Digital transformation; Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Digital Leadership, Business Analytics, Big Data, Open Data, Software Product Lines(SPL), Management Information Systems (MIS), etc. Read more

I have published several papers in renowned international journals. I am participated in many international and national events such as conferences, symposiums, etc. as a guest or keynote speaker.
In the field of Smart, Sustainable and Future Cities, I am considered as one of the international well-recognized expert. I have participated in several smart (future) cities projects as a researcher or as a consultant. I’m the co-founder and co-president of www.FutureCitiesCouncil.org (http://www.futurecitiescouncil.org/) andwww.ArabFutureCities.org (under maintenance), Head of the Smart Cities Research Group (SCRG), SQU Oman and member of IEEE smart cities Initiative.

Caesar Moussalli
Ministry of Manpower

Caesar started as a Software developer sience 1999 , he built software applications for industrial and commercial sectores and implemented numerous projects for small, medium and enterprise customers and also invented a new hard lock system for software applications. Caesar is specialized in creating soloutions for enterprises and he is a certified MCP, MCITP, MCPD & MCT . Side by side with his IoT blog he is also delivering an online video courses for the Arab world. During his journey as a consultant in the Ministry of Manpower he is developing his OpenSource IoT Platform to fill a specific gap in the market.

Keith Miller
Salience

Keith brings over 40 years of experience in the Telecommunications industry with particular experience in Smart City and IOT initiatives. Keith has particular interests in how cities prioritize their Smart city/IOT strategy and has advised KAEC in KSA and Pune in India which, is one of the leads for the 100 Indian Smart city initiatives, where he provided support as the Master Smart City integrator. Prior to Salience, Keith conceived and launched the Smart City practice for Atkins Middle East, advising governments and Municipalities. This follows an extensive career with the likes of BT and as CEO of an ICT solution provider. Keith also advises VC’s and company Boards on product investments, restructuring and market sizing.

Mohammed Najwani
Ooredoo

Mohammed Najwani, a Business graduate who spent most of his career –aka life- between nerds and telecom engineers but managed to survive a little over a decade –so far. He lived to see the Nokia’s raise and fall, sweet Blackberries and Apples suddenly leaving valleys to change the world while Oranges grew under the sea saying TATA to old marine life*. Watching that action from the telecom room –among other drama- have been quite thrilling and sometimes horror especially when Evolutions don’t seem to live Long Term and Life starts to End so soon**. Luckily Mohammed managed to ping himself between mobile, fixed, B2C and B2B with minimum latency -keeping his pockets full of learnings without dropping many- to finally direct himself a Sci-Fi prospect on the many Things that have invaded our Internet lives.

Richard Jones
VenturaNext

Richard Jones is a strategist who has led cutting edge telecoms and smart cities projects. He is a member of the Ultra Broadband 2020 (UBB2020) advisory council alongside global industry leaders in telecoms and smart solutions and founder of the Smart Cities Committee at the FTTH Council MENA during his advisory term to the board. After having led the business case and strategy for the world’s first 1 Gbps everywhere FTTH incumbent network and what became a full National Broadband Network, Richard co-founded Ventura Next which delivers smart solutions for cities, municipalities and developments. The company provides world leading, open access solutions over fibre networks. Read more

Customers have real choice of different types of services from multiple operators and can include more sophisticated access control and video services as well as gigabit symmetric broadband. Ventura Next has experience in the team of creating/running 120+ open access networks across three continents (soon to be four).

Richard chairs a number of industry events such as Broadband World Forum, FTTX and FTTH events and dedicated smart city events. He is the author of:

– Project Management Survival (2009) – published by Kogan Page but also available in Chinese, Polish and Latvian)
– One Day MBA- Skills for Succeeding in Business Today (2012)– published by Icsa
– The Strategy Book published in 2015 for Hodder and Stoughton.

Richard has a degree in electronics, a masters equivalent in engineering, a MBA with distinction from the University of Warwick and completing a doctorate in the strategy of technology and smart related companies.

Dr Paul W France
Oman Broadband Company

Paul is a specialist in FTTH networks, and broadband IP services in general, currently as Operations and Technical Advisor with Oman Broadband, and previously with BT, as programme director for FTTH and ADSL2+ services. Paul has extensive experience working with as an independent consultant across the globe including the FTTH programme in Saudi Arabia, architecture and costs of an FTTH network in New Zealand, Quality Audit of the FTTH programme in Malaysia, FTTH strategy for Indonesia, FTTH transition strategy in Thailand, and National Broadband Strategy for Serbia. Paul is the author / editor of three books within the field of telecommunications, including ‘Local Access Technologies’ published by the IEE. He holds the Queens Award to Industry, the Redstone Prize in Glass Technology, and the Award for Science and Technology offered by the WC of Glass Sellers, all for work within the field of optical communications.

Talib Al Rashdi
Oman Broadband Company

Talib Al Rashdi is a business relation manager in Oman Broadband, since joining in Feb 2016. He started his career in 2003, initially with the Ministry of Defense, working on technologies such as transmission, until 2013. He also has experience with Oman Gas Company, and the Teejan group of companies as Business Development Manager, before finally joining Oman Broadband.

Ali Kashoob
Omantel

BSc in Information Systems, SQU and MBA from Strathclyde Business School, Mr. Ali Kashoob has a total of 12 years of experience in telecom industry. He is result oriented, solution-focused professional with a decade of deep exposer in Marketing, Technology and Project Management, which requires an outstanding business mindset. He has demonstrated expertise in building and directing top-performing teams with track record within a challenging and a competitive telecom market. He has Lead and developed multimillion projects from initiation to closure within time and budget. He has an MBA focusing on Strategy and have held managerial positions in both telecom service providers in the country. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at Sultan Qaboos University and Strathclyde Business School.