Category Archives: In focus

In focus

Increasing control of the Internet in Turkey

Turkey’s parliament passed a law increasing the powers of state to control the Internet. The new rules give it, among others, the right to block websites without judicial decision and the right to access browsing history of chosen citizens.

With the new regulations, the Turkish Telecommunication Authority will now be able to block a website without the court’s consent, if it considers that necessary for “national security, restoration of public order and crime prevention”.

The Turkish Telecommunication Authority will also have access to the history of online activity of selected persons.
The law still requires the signature of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The current Internet law in Turkey belongs to the most restrictive ones, anyway. On its basis there have been blocked thousands of websites from sites deemed conducive to the Kurdish separatists to gay men dating sites. In February there were introduced the first changes in the Internet regulations. Critics were then accusing the government led by Erdogan of trying to lock in this way corruption investigations against him and his ministers.

Internet is the leading source of information and entertainment for the Poles

If the Poles were to choose only one medium of information and entertainment,  82% of them would choose the Internet. Only every 10th person would choose TV and 3,6% would choose the radio and 2,5% prefers the printed press.

SW Research survey results indicate the respondents’ age does not significantly affect preferences for selecting the key medium. In each age group the predominant answer was “internet” over other media, which seems to be very significant.

Internet’s advantage in marketing is a matter of conscious choices of the recipients. It is obvious that it is no longer effective to communicate brands without  participating in online media. Even only through blogs, which are one of many available Internet communication platforms, the marketers can already reach almost 10 million of Poles. Facebook provides even greater reach.

What is coworking and how is it affecting SEEMEA region

Coworking is a concept of working in an open office, developed in 2005 by Brad Neuberg. With the modern, faced paced, way of doing business more and more large companies implemented the principle of distance working for their employees. This allowed workers to work from homes, and while this has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Working from home comes with a lot of distractions, and a non-work focused approach, so a lot of these people started working from coffee shops or rented offices. The same applies to freelancers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and everyone working from their own home.

Coworking concept allows you to work in a shared office space, with all the resources of the office with much less expense. You get the work environment, inspiring atmosphere, people around you with who you can network and socialize, and still get the work done.

75% of coworkers claimed working in a coworking space increased their productivity, 80% claimed they had an increase in business, while 92% claimed to have expanded their social circle, as researched by Deskmag, coworking magazine.

Another amazing fact is that coworking is growing exponentially in the past few years around the world, with 160 coworking spaces in 2008, 600 in 2010, 1130 in 2011 and 2150 spaces in 2012 worldwide.

As coworking spaces attract freelancers, startups, small business and other similar profiles, it is only naturally that we would see these essential focal points popping up throughout countries where freelancing and startups are becoming more developed. SEEMEA region for that matter has been a fertile ground for spreading the coworking concept and culture.

Still regarded as pioneers, several coworking spaces are opening throughout this region, paving the road for all those who will come after them and becoming much more than just offices where people work. Coworking spaces in SEEMEA are becoming the places to be if you are working online, developing your business or expanding your business network.

Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Jordan and much more countries have coworking initiatives or opened spaces. Check out this Coworkingmap project and visit a coworking place near you.

SEEMEA Region premiere – Arab Mobile App Challenge

The Arab Mobile App Challenge was held for the first time ever during January 2014. It gave the opportunity to everyone from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Jordan, UAE or Qatar to take part and show of their skills in designing and developing new innovative mobile apps.

More than 150 teams from participating countries took part in the challenge and developed interesting and amazing apps focused on the assigned segments.

Apps needed to be focused on education, entertainment, health or entrepreneurship,  and the top ranked teams will have the opportunity to participate in the Mobile World Congress Finals in Barcelona at the end of February.  Apart from this, the chanllenge also awarded three first place app winners valuable cash prizes.

Three main winners were Loujee, the first ever Arab iOS app powering an educational toy for children ($50,000); Crowd Analyzer, from the UAE, automated Arabic social media platform covering Middle East and North Africa ($30,000); Markabaty from Jordan, helping car owners find workshops and troubleshoot problems ($20,000).

The teams who will go on to the World Mobile Congress are:  ICAPS (UAE), Baharat (Saudi Arabia), EduTechnoz (Qatar), The Pen (Jordan), and Grant Fit (Tunisia).

The Arab Mobile App Challenge was organized by Silatech and Ooredoo from Qatar, as well as the Applied Innovation Institute from the US.


Bitcoin bans continuing, Russia joins the wave

Virtual currency Bitcoin had its ups and downs since it was first created, but even when things started looking up financial and sustainability wise, Bitcoin faces another threat. It is being banned by more and more countries, claiming financial safety concerns.

Face it or not, Bitcoin is probably here to stay. Well not according to some countries including China, Denmark, India and several others.The newest addition to this group is Russia, which imposed a full ban on Bitcoin, first declaring it a hazard to the property rights of the citizens. After the warning of the Russia’s Central Bank about the use of virtual currency and the danger of it financing terrorism, Russia issued a full ban on the use of any such currency.

On the other hand there are countries that endorse the use of this virtual currency. One of them being the US, where Bitcoin was declared a regular currency by one federal judge and should be regulated no different than the dollar or Euro.

So while some countries are banning the use of virtual currency and firmly clutching their local currencies, some are announcing laws and procedures to certify and regulate it.