The Ministry of Culture is working to enhance their services through communication and information technology, says Mohamed Farid, the Ministry of Culture counsellor for information technology.
He explained that the development will go through two main phases: one internal and one external. The internal changes include developing all sectors within the ministry, such as the administration system and personnel affairs, as well as improving the services provided by the ministry and its affiliated bodies using information technology.
The internal development will involve 17 parties affiliated with the ministry. Moreover, the ministry will receive a new technological system introduced for the first time in Egypt known as “institutional communication”. This system will enable the recording of incoming and outgoing transactions between the ministry and its affiliated bodies instantly, saving time and effort. The project is scheduled to be completed in all sectors of the ministry by the end of 2016.
The external development plan is focused on providing access to the ministry’s products to all users through the conversion of various cultural content into digital content that can be accessed through websites and mobile applications.
Providing electronic content will help attract cultural tourism to Egypt and could overcome the economic problems that have resulted from the decrease in tourism, said Farid.
The development and mechanisation of the Ministry of Culture and its bodies is conducted through collaboration with the Ministry of Communication in accordance to a five-year cooperation protocol signed between both parties in 2014, mentioned Farid. Active projects for mechanisation of the ministry are estimated at EGP 100m collectively.
He added that the ministry launched a smartphone application last month for the Cairo Opera House, which bears its name. The application provides all performance schedules at the opera for a full year.
The application will soon offer the option to book tickets through the phone, said Farid. The ministry is currently in talks with mobile operators and electronic payment companies to promote performances and offer ticket booking services. The agreement is expected to be signed before the end of this year.
Farid mentioned that electronic voting was first introduced for the State Awards in which the votes were cast on special devices held by the voters. Additionally, he noted that the ministry is currently focusing on building an electronic archive of documents at the Cairo Opera House. Once successful, the experience will be circulated across all of the ministry’s affiliated bodies.
Among the most prominent challenges seen in the Egyptian market is finding and providing trained labour to implement the mechanisation and automation projects, said Farid.
He called for the support of international organisations to benefit from their expertise and creative solutions in heritage conservation, whether documents, pictures, or video, in addition to benefiting from their expertise in the field of restoration of footage and audio materials.
According to Farid, the ministry has implemented five websites and three smartphone applications over the last five months.