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King Saud University has recently organized 5th National Symposium entitled, ‘Towards Smart World: Challenges and Solutions’ at College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS).

Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry at Saudi Arabia has inaugurated symposium and he also presented his working paper entitled ‘Towards a Smarter World’ in this event. He informed re-engineering procedures in scientific and practical fields, and developing them through the use of modern technical tools, and through looking ahead to search for new devices.

Moreover, Minister Al-Rabiah has confirmed that the ministry has raised the level of satisfaction of the beneficiaries of its services from 25% to 75%. He said this achievement was thanks to God, and then also thanks to the availability of the ministry’s services electronically via its website and smart devices applications.

Further, Minister Al-Rabiah said the Ministry is keen to provide services to users based on their location and the time of their request and is keen as well on the uses of bio-authentication technology employing "digital" finger print and eye impression, as a substitute for civil identification cards. He pointed out that the ministry assesses the consumer’ satisfaction with a brand or an industry of offered service, to assess the quality of the goods on the market.

In addition, Minister Al Rabiah stressed the importance of relying on the e-assessment to know the performance level of any service, through available technical applications. He also reviewed the results achieved by the Ministry through the use of its electronic applications, such as the huge economy in paper. He said the Ministry has economized 36 million papers, used in the past to provide services manually. He said the Ministry now accelerates its daily procedures in an orderly manner such as the mechanism for the issuance of an electronic record, the brand, and industrial license. He indicated as an example that the electronic record issuance period has decreased from seven days to 180 seconds, which made the number of electronic records issued in the Kingdom jump in one year by 114%.

KSU Rector Badran Al-Omar also addressed in the symposium. He said that Saudi Arabia has seen many national initiatives that contributed to the construction and development of a knowledge-based society. He quoted as examples the National Telecommunications Plan, the Information Technology, the Economic Knowledge City Project which will become a global cornerstone of the information industry and economy in the Kingdom. In addition, he quoted as examples the completion of the main infrastructure for the communications project and the computer networks in the past two decades, and the great progress made by the banking sector in its use of information technology.

Moreover, Rector Al-Omar stressed that King Saud University has moved in parallel to the national and social move towards technology, making it a key component in its teaching and in all administrative dealings. He pointed out that the College of Computer and Information Sciences in KSU has reinforced this trend and cooperated with the Electrical and Electronic Engineers Institute (IEEE) to hold this seminar. He said this was one of a series of seminars organized by the College to support scientific progress of the kingdom, and to establish the concept of the smart world in different sectors.

In addition, Rector Al-Omar lauded the academic standards of the speakers in the symposium. He said they gained their specializations in the US, Europe and Asia, and their contributions will enrich the symposiums topics and deliberations. He added that the symposium will transform its theoretical recommendations into practical beneficial solutions.

CCIS Dean Hassan Mathkour said in his speech responsibility for building the smart society and achieving its objectives falls on several components of society, ranging from decision-makers and the various sectors of society, such as universities, research educational, information and economic institutions, and companies, telecom service and information technology providers, to the citizen.

Dean Mathkour also said that CCIS provided scientific contributions and shouldered the responsibility for education and staff development and for the dissemination of information literacy, within the scientific colleges system at King Saud University. He said the College of Computer and Information Sciences held national conferences and seminars and provide research and studies for advanced sectors of Saudi society in the computer and information technology fields, and organized four major national symposia similar to this symposium, and they were all related to the areas of information technology and scientific aspects instrumental in providing informational progress.

The basic aims behind this symposium was to encourage scientific research that contributes to building the smart community, and raising community awareness of scientific progress. It aims also to identify difficulties and scientific and practical obstacles that hinder progress in this area, by taking advantage of foreign expertise in setting up innovative solutions to scientific and practical IT challenges.