Du continues to focus on innovation

The UAE’s fastest growing telecom operator focuses on expanding its network coverage and improving energy efficiency

By Muzaffar Rizvi

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Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced chatbot technologies like ChatGPT are expected to evolve further, becoming increasingly integral to both business operations and individual activities. — Supplied photos
Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced chatbot technologies like ChatGPT are expected to evolve further, becoming increasingly integral to both business operations and individual activities. — Supplied photos

Published: Mon 30 Oct 2023, 1:39 PM

Du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), will continue its focus on innovation and customer service next year, aiming to meet the evolving needs of its customer base and contribute to the UAE's ongoing digital transformation, its top official says.

Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Executive Officer at du, said the company also focused on expanding its network coverage and improving energy efficiency, which has helped it become one of the leading brands in the UAE.


“In 2023, du saw strong financial growth, with a notable increase in net profit and service revenues. This success was partly due to investments in key technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT),” Al Hassawi told BTR during an interview at Gitex Global.

Excerpts of the interview:


Tell us about your participation at GITEX 2023. Which products and solutions will you be showcasing at the event?

Du participated at Gitex Global 2023 with a range of innovative products and solutions that align with their theme of "Shaping a sustainable tomorrow through advanced technology." Du's participation at Gitex Global 2023 revolves around building on the UAE's strategic vision and supporting COP28 by providing government entities with a reliable network. Their aim is to inspire a future where connectivity, technology, and sustainability merge to enable the full potential of digital in every organisation. Du is committed to realising the potential of 5G (5.5G / 6G) technology, fostering sustainability, safety, worker satisfaction, and the development of tech skills.

Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Executive Officer at du, said the company also focused on expanding its network coverage and improving energy efficiency, which has helped it become one of the leading brands in the UAE.
Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Executive Officer at du, said the company also focused on expanding its network coverage and improving energy efficiency, which has helped it become one of the leading brands in the UAE.

Du will be displaying showcases such as the future factory, future of farming and agriculture, future of parks, future of education, future of wellness and healthcare, connected recycling, Amina the AI Business Enabler, API fraud detection and identity management, and future of telco. Ultimately, du seeks to amplify technology to contribute towards a sustainable humanity.

What are your expectations from the event this year?

This year, as we align with the global vision of sustainability and net zero by 2050, we aim to leverage the Gitex Global 2023's platform to showcase our innovative solutions and cutting-edge technologies. We are eager to connect with a diverse audience comprising government entities, startups, SMEs, and industry professionals. We also aim to make a lasting impression, foster meaningful partnerships, generate substantial interest, and gain valuable insights through networking opportunities.

Our primary objective is to forge significant partnerships that will support our customers' needs and contribute to the realisation of the sustainability vision. We understand the immense potential that lies within collaborative efforts, and we are excited to explore the latest technological advancements and opportunities for coordination with other entities. By staying informed about the latest tech trends, we can ensure that we are at the forefront of innovation, setting the groundwork for future collaborations that will drive impactful change.

How will AI continue to be an integral technology for key industrial sectors as we gear towards 2024?

As we approach 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to continue its significant role in driving changes across multiple industrial sectors. The technology's capabilities are not confined to theoretical frameworks; they have practical applications that are already having a tangible impact on various industries.

• Healthcare: AI is instrumental in enhancing diagnostic accuracy, interpreting complex medical images, and tailoring treatment plans to individual patient needs. Furthermore, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are making strides in telemedicine, offering immediate medical guidance and support.

• Manufacturing: AI serves multiple functions. It enables predictive maintenance by analysing sensor data, thereby reducing machine downtime, and enhancing operational efficiency. Additionally, AI-driven vision systems are employed for quality control, ensuring product integrity throughout the manufacturing process.

• Agriculture/ Precision Agriculture: AI's role in agriculture is multifaceted. It powers precision farming through IoT sensors, optimizing both crop yields and resource utilisation. AI algorithms can also detect early signs of pests and diseases, allowing for timely interventions. AI-enabled robots and drones are automating labor-intensive tasks like planting and harvesting.

• Energy/Renewable Energy: In the energy sector, AI contributes to predicting renewable energy generation patterns, facilitating the seamless integration of solar and wind power into existing grids. AI-driven systems are also being used to enhance energy efficiency in both buildings and industrial processes.

As we approach 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to continue its significant role in driving changes across multiple industrial sectors.
As we approach 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to continue its significant role in driving changes across multiple industrial sectors.

As AI technologies continue to mature, they will undoubtedly catalyze efficiency, spur innovation, and open new avenues for growth across these key sectors.

How do companies like du continue to drive talent to the UAE ICT sector?

At du, we are committed to being more than just a telecom operator; we aim to be a catalyst for technological and sustainable advancement in the UAE. Our focus on real-world applications of emerging technologies like 5G, AI, and IoT offers professionals a unique platform to apply and grow their skills. Our initiatives in sustainability, from solar-powered mobile towers to connected recycling solutions, resonate with those who want their work to have a meaningful impact. We also prioritise the continuous development of our team through targeted training programs and opportunities to collaborate on projects that are shaping the future of various sectors. This multifaceted approach not only elevates the work we do but also makes du an attractive destination for top ICT talent, thereby enriching the entire UAE tech ecosystem.

What are some of du’s key plans in terms of 5G network deployment? In terms of percentage, how much UAE area covered under du 5G coverage now?

We have achieved an impressive 98.5 per cent population coverage with our 5G network, across the UAE. Du is now focusing on deep indoor wireless access to augment its fixed footprint nationwide. While fiber extension remains a sustainable long-term strategy, the agility of 5G provides a timely competitive advantage. We are also fostering collaborations with manufacturing and other sectors to accelerate their digital transformation, supported by 5G capabilities. The imminent launch of our 5G standalone solutions will further enable the development of specific use cases. All these advancements are underpinned by robust cybersecurity measures, ensuring data protection and privacy as we continue to enhance our network infrastructure and customer experience.

Do you see any challenges for telecom and ICT sector in coming years?

The telecom and ICT sector faces a set of challenges that require careful navigation. Cybersecurity continues to be a pressing issue, given the increasing sophistication of digital threats. The fast-paced evolution of technologies like 5G and IoT also demands ongoing infrastructure updates and workforce development. At the same time, the shift toward digitalisation calls for new business models and partnerships to maintain competitiveness. These challenges, however, also open doors for innovation and strategic collaboration. du's approach to these challenges involves a focus on network expansion, customer experience enhancement, and the exploration of new revenue avenues through strategic alliances. By balancing these elements, du aims to continue its role as a leader in the sector, offering innovative solutions and personalised experiences.

Technologies will continue to drive the industry

Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced chatbot technologies like ChatGPT are expected to evolve further, becoming increasingly integral to both business operations and individual activities. These technologies have moved beyond the stage of mere emerging trends to establish their practical utility in real-world applications. Here's a brief overview:

• 5G Technology: The deployment of 5G networks is poised to redefine the communications landscape by facilitating high-speed, low-latency connections. This advancement is catalyzing innovations in fields such as augmented reality, telemedicine, and autonomous transportation.

• Blockchain: Extending beyond its initial application in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is finding utility in areas like supply chain optimization, the execution of smart contracts, and the secure sharing of data.

• Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies: Solutions focused on renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and eco-friendly materials are increasingly vital in addressing the pressing issues of climate change and sustainability.

• Robotics and Automation: The adoption of robotics and automation is transforming sectors like manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare by enhancing operational efficiency and productivity.

• Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR): These technologies are not only innovating in gaming and education but are also finding applications in professional training and remote collaboration across various sectors.

• Cybersecurity: In a landscape where digital threats are continuously evolving, cybersecurity measures are indispensable for safeguarding data, infrastructure, and individual privacy.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com



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