Hasan Iqbal - Innovation is the primitive need for development and economic progress around the world without which technological advance is impossible. Given the information age we live in today, the use of smart solutions is not merely a want but has become a prominent need. From health care systems, education and all the way to monitoring law and order, having an IT infrastructure is essential to have information updated. Its importance eventually cannot be ruled out as far as maintaining accuracy and ease of access are concerned.

It is the need of the hour; in elections, government systems to the point of running daily chores. The preceding year has been a prolific year for Pakistan given the technological advance taking place in various industries and the rapid rate of acceptance as far as emerging trends are concerned. It is estimated that 28% of the population in Pakistan is expected to have internet access . The internet enabled population calculated at 30 million users is expected to rise to 56 million by 2019.

The country’s IT industry also seems to be on the rise with Pakistan being known as the favoured placed to go to in order to fulfill needs associated with services provided by software coders, app designers, and IT programmers. Given the boost in this field, there are now about 10,000 IT grads entering the market on an annual basis, thanks to the existing 1,500 registered IT companies in Pakistan that are facilitating employment. Freelance programmers, on the other hand account for USD 850 million of the country’s software exports and are expected to continue growing at a decent pace ; in the fiscal year, 2015 alone, their services in terms of export accounted for $100 million . Given the services extended overseas, this amount is part of the 88% of IT revenue that comes through exports and altogether this revenue adds up to an annual $2.5 billion .

Estonia has recently emerged as one of the leaders in the area of innovative digital initiatives being undertaken, especially those related to digital public service delivery. Their government is therefore one of the most tech-savvy governments in the world; to name a few achievements, their X-Road interoperability platform, online voting platform, online tax filings, mobile ID, and unparalleled e-residence initiative top the list. This is why the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends presentation has considered this country’s ICT development and their smart solutions as a benchmark in the global context. This will also involve participation by the private sector leaders, and the Estonian government itself meanwhile inculcating their experience in the World Bank activities for the benefit of developing countries.

The ICT sector development and growth are of utmost importance to the progress of a developing country such as Pakistan and for the sustainable development for various sectors including the enhancement of the human development index. This is where companies like SI Global play a crucial role, not just in the IT sector itself but using smart solutions for the benefit of the nation in its entirety. Through its innovative stance in providing data center solutions, e-governance, smart cities, cloud services, and services rendered for the telecom sector, the company has made a mark in the industry as an emerging leader.

Through its smart approach, SI Global ensures intelligent and efficient use of resources, thus leading to cost and energy saving, improved service delivery and quality of life. The company’s environmental footprint supports innovation with a low-carbon economy. For instance, the Smart Parking Solution to solve traffic issues, city surveillance to fight crime, smart number plates and integrated solution for automating ministry and department workflows are among the leading tasks being initiated for citywide development. Meanwhile, the consultation services rendered strategise businesses into taking a leap ahead of time, thereby, being able to maintain a competitive edge.

IT is no longer a support function but has become an intrinsic part of every organization of this era which is why maintaining pace with the evolving needs of time has become a priority for sustainable development.