Dubai: Keeping with its ‘Sparking Innovation’ theme, Etisalat is gearing up to take visitors on a journey of a highly digitised and connected smart future at Gitex Technology Week.
“We are introducing concepts and ideas based on strong technologies and bringing world-class solutions and services that facilitate not just end users, but also businesses and governments for a better future,” Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO of Etisalat Group, said in an interview to Gulf News.
“When we say that innovation is at the core of Etisalat’s operations, we do not only mean it in terms of telecom technologies. We are also paving the way for smarter digital solutions and applications that will mobilise people, businesses and the government sector for a better tomorrow,” he said.
Undoubtedly, he said that Gitex is an established and important platform that has become the cornerstone of showcasing the prowess of IT, digital services and telecom providers from world over.
Digital technologies are redefining the way people interact, live and work creating a borderless and inclusive global community.
In the context of this digital outburst, “I see internet of Things as the next mega-trend, connecting billions of everyday devices to the internet — ranging from smart light bulbs to industrial equipment,” he said.
Etisalat sees the new wave of IoT and mobile services such as machine-to-machine (M2M) applications presenting an attractive opportunity for telecom operators to offer B2B services, and huge possibilities in several sectors, particularly health care, retail, banking and automotive.
The journey to realising IoT strategies for businesses requires new capabilities starting from designing new products and services to redefining businesses. The interplay with cloud technologies, big data, connectivity and future networks like 5G have also to be taken into account.
“It is here that Etisalat is building on its strengths to contribute to smart technologies and IoT,” he said.
As a start point, on a national level, Etisalat is helping enable key IoT projects in the country through deployment of “smart” technologies.
The operator has partnered with the government on projects including Dubai Expo 2020 and Dubai Parks and Resorts, bringing together people, technologies and expertise in telecommunications and digital services and solutions for an on-time execution of complex projects.
Telcos are poised for a major change as companies begin to leverage big data analytics for improved targeting and increased profitability.
Keeping with these trends, “we will see a great opportunity to create value by leveraging our network assets and large customer bases. Success here will require excellence in partnering capabilities,” he said.
He said that Etisalat is on track with its ambitious 5G mobile broadband plan by 2020, which will open the door for applications and uses that cannot be imagined today, and the new network will help the group cope with the massive digital content explosion anticipated in the next few years.
“Over the decades, we have built a strong foundation by combining our strengths in robust and resilient communications and infrastructure services with our ecosystem of partners bringing global experience. We have established a team of specialised skills in innovation, technology, trusted delivery and an unparalleled portfolio of services and assets,” Al Abdooli said.
Moreover, he said the take-up of LTE is increasing by 50 per cent and mobile data is growing 14 times, from what it is now globally. This translates into faster growth in the MENA region than the rest of the world. Therefore, there is a great business opportunity out there.
The industry has evolved from the Telco 1.0 phase of voice and SMS, to the Telco 2.0 era of social and customer engagement, and Etisalat too is transforming and thinking beyond connectivity in order to add to the value chain of offerings in this hyper-connected and hyper-programmable world, he said.
“We are redefining our relationship with our customers and digitising our core business for customer friendly business processes, which have potential benefits. By providing compelling online digital experiences as well as service automation and more efficient and straightforward processing of financial transactions, Etisalat is improving customer satisfaction, enhancing revenue streams and saving costs,” he said.
“Enhancing our service portfolio and our customer experience will continue to be the centre stage of our business road map and offerings through 2017,” he added.