Wikipedia becoming a must in today’s life

Updated 18 January 2016

Wikipedia becoming a must in today’s life

Can you imagine the world without Wikipedia? Ponder upon this question for a minute, if your answer is something else than “no, of course not!” then you must be living on a different planet, not on Earth!
It is hard to say that something has “changed the world as we know it,” but in the case of Wikipedia, it comes so easy and effortlessly, it is not an exaggeration, it transcends to the status of a fact.
The mega encyclopedia platform that is observing its 15th anniversary these days provides free access to more than 38 million articles, edited by around 80,000 volunteers, and written in 250 languages. It is a huge storage of human knowledge.
It is one of those rare platforms that started with a specific mission and ended up achieving its goal.
When Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started it in 2001, they wanted to create something to sum all human knowledge and make it available to every single person on this planet under one condition, it should be free!
A crazy vision, some might say, but they made it. In a sense, Wikipedia could be named the only project in history in which thousands of people participated in creating it and pushing it to success. The word “wiki” has all new meaning today in the language we use, and in our understanding.
How this project financially survived throughout the years is a success story in its own. Wikipedia’s business model is strikingly unique and successful.
The website kept running based on volunteer driven donations only. The website features no ads and no sponsored articles although such an approach could have provided it with some decent money given the huge number of visitors the site is receiving on a daily basis.
“The organization has always been dead set against the idea of advertising or sponsored pages or links on the site, even though this could easily keep it afloat based on the number of visitors to the site.
But going forward, Wikipedia will keep the donor model, despite being a hard slog,” wrote Madhumita Murgia in the Telegraph.
However, Wikipedia is planning to introduce a new initiative to keep its non-for-profit model afloat; the additional money will come from a new endowment created for Wikipedia and overseen by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, as reported by Mashable.
“The Wikimedia Endowment will start with less than $1 million donated by the estate of Jim Pacha, a software engineer who died in 2014, and then build toward a goal of accumulating $100 million by 2026. Wikipedia won’t begin drawing money from the endowment after it’s fully funded,” the report said.
It is one of those websites that defines what the whole Internet is all about; connecting, sharing, and enriching human lives. It is important for Wikipedia to stay and get bigger and better.
“We stay very mission-driven,” its co-founder, Walles says.
“One of the things that we are focused on is the idea of having an encyclopedia available to every person in the world in their own language. As you go in that direction, these (requests for money) are some of things you need to do to build that long-term dream.”

Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

Updated 20 March 2019

Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

  • 5G will be used in 30% of big cities in Saudi Arabia by 2020
  • 90% of KSA has 4G technology coverage, including remote centers and villages

RIYADH: Information and communications technology (ICT) is one of the main drivers of development in today’s world, a Riyadh forum on “Digital Transformation for an Ambitious Country” has been told.

In his opening speech to the annual Communications and Information Technology Indicators Forum, Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais, governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission, said the ICT sector stimulated productivity, enhanced competitiveness and encouraged innovation.

On Wednesday, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology, Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, joined regional and global leaders in the ICT sector, telecom executives and government officials at the forum.

Al-Ruwais said that ICT has been used to “develop strategies and regulatory policies that can guarantee the availability of infrastructure, basic apparatus and services in all regions of the Kingdom.”

“In order to facilitate the mission of researchers, experts and those interested in telecommunication services indicators, the Communications and Information Technology Commission established an electronic platform that allows the user to have access to indicators and statistics related to the sector. This platform enables the user to view the indicators in the form of tables and detailed graphs,” he said.

Al-Ruwais said the commission has achieved 90 percent coverage of 4G technologies in the Kingdom, including remote centers and villages.

He said the authority has issued temporary licenses for fifth-generation networks, equipping 153 sites with 5G in nine cities. So far, 680 trials were conducted for 5G.

He said that ICT services achieved high indicators during the 2017 Hajj season, with local and international calls totaling 439 million through 16,000 base stations.

Mufarreh Nahari, director of Market Studies at CITC, said: “It is expected that by 2020 the experimental uses of 5G will be fully completed and they will be ready to launch the official 5G sim by then. By the end of 2020 we expect that 5G will be used in 30 percent of the big cities in Saudi Arabia.”

The past three years have seen an increase in internet usage. In 2018, two-thirds of Internet users in the Kingdom used the internet for more than four hours a day, said Nahari.

Ammar Al-Ansari, department head of Country Digital Acceleration at Cisco, said: “The agreements signed by the crown prince during his overseas visits led to the introduction of a number of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, including virtual schools and smart classrooms.” 

Seven schools in Saudi have a live stream for teachers to connect with their students. They may be 250 km to 300 km apart, but an active learning session takes place between students and educators.

Al-Ansari displayed a video from a teacher in Jeddah giving lessons to students in the northern region via a smart board. AI was used to monitor and analyze students’ attention spans. 

The analysis will help educators update traditional teaching methods.