Video: Etisalat unveils autonomous flying car at Gitex
Etisalat invests in futuristic technologies and services to make lives easier.
The UAE is witnessing the increased adoption of advanced technologies. Etisalat is taking a giant leap by launching the 5G network, investing in futuristic technologies and smart services, says its top official.
On Sunday, Etisalat has unveiled autonomous flying car at the Gitex Technology Week 2018 in Dubai.
Why 5G, AI are game-changing technologies
Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, chief executive officer, Etisalat Group, said 5G will be one of the key highlights for etisalat in showcasing the future of urbanism and mobility at the Gitex Technology Week, starting today.
"5G will be a game changer for the telecom industry with its rich potential, an evolution that would elevate services, performance and enablement. Such new technologies are one of the gateways enabling the UAE's digital aspiration/vision, market trends and etisalat's long-term strategy," Abdooli told Khaleej Times during an interview ahead of the region's premier technology event.
He said etisalat's main theme at the Gitex Technology Week this year is focused on 'Driving the digital future to empower societies'. This is built on the company's vision to provide futuristic solutions and services that will have a fundamental impact on people's lives.
"Our theme this year will provide visitors tangible insights into rapid advancements in technology, network, services and mobility. This will play a key role in building the next generation of smart city innovations and is relevant in driving that change to open doors to the future of urbanism," he said.
Abdooli said etisalat has demonstrated strong commitment to sustaining its technological leadership by investing in emerging and next generation technologies. He said etisalat's investment in 5G technologies is a prime example that has gained relevance because it is considered a major enabler for the next generation of broadband service and the Internet of Things, which is growing exponentially due to the global adoption of connected devices.
"With its implementation, 5G will provide opportunities for economic growth and massive developments in the areas of ICT infrastructure, education, employment, transportation and more. Within that context, we had a successful launch of the first 5G fixed broadband experience in the region. A commercial 5G network was deployed in certain locations within the UAE."
To a question about the group's association with Expo 2020, Abdooli said the fifth generation network would deliver faster speeds and lower latency at the mega event and it will be a critical building block in the UAE's economic competitiveness.
"Expo 2020 is a testimony to our efforts in 5G by becoming the first 5G major commercial customer in Middle East Africa and South Asia through its partnership with etisalat. Such an implementation is a declaration of a new era of digital connectivity and an acknowledgement of 5G's rich anticipated potential."
Abdooli said etisalat has laid a solid foundation in the past year to invest in futuristic solutions and next generation technologies to deliver the best-in-class services while maintaining the company's focus on digital transformation and making a significant impact on the overall customer experience.
"Our results in the first half of 2018 showcased our ability to lead and innovate, amounting to a six per cent year-on-year increase in net profit to Dh4.3 billion," he said.
He said etisalat has always believed in innovation and technology transformation. "Infrastructure investments have been key to this growth and leadership in the market. In 2018, we have continued investing in the modernisation of mobile and fibre-optic networks and infrastructure development through investments in future technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence and 5G.
"Our continuous investments over the years have led to major achievements like the 3G network coverage reaching 99.98 per cent while 4G LTE covering 98.98 per cent," he said.
Referring to the latest international report from the FTTH Council, he said the UAE has maintained its position as a global leader in FTTH by providing fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage to 94.3 per cent of homes across the UAE.
Vision for the future
In the past few years, Abdooli said etisalat has evolved into an ICT service provider by enabling an ecosystem with an advanced network and futuristic solutions like AI and robotics. The UAE ranks number one in digital adoption among Middle Eastern countries by having implemented core digitisation initiatives, he said.
"As a company, our vision 'Driving the digital future to empower societies' is focused on making this digital future a reality by facilitating innovation, creativity and bringing technologies of the future to all our customers across our markets. Our infrastructure plays a key supporting role in the country's ambitions to get digitally competitive and bring in digital transformation."
He said the UAE today leads in the global ICT competitive index mainly due to the continued development and increased adoption of digital strategies in various projects and initiatives implemented.
"Thanks to the vision and efforts of our leadership, the UAE has achieved this global recognition due to the transformation of the country across different sectors."
For instance, he said blockchain technology will transform the way services are delivered and the workplace will become completely paperless. "The adoption of blockchain would help the government prepare for future challenges. Over 50 per cent of the UAE's federal transactions would be powered by blockchain in 2021."
AI, a game changer
Abdooli said AI is going to be the game changer in business, contributing $96 billion to the UAE economy by 2030 - nearly 13.6 per cent of its gross domestic product.
"Artificial Intelligence will also have a major impact on our way of living. Connectivity of people and things will be ubiquitous, and the use of robots and digital personal assistants will become commonplace.
"Etisalat is currently working with entrepreneurs to increase customer adoption of digital self-care channels, thereby enhancing customer experience and reducing 50 per cent calls to etisalat customer care using AI, analytics and insights and machine learning," he said.
Abdooli said the cloud will provide the digital infrastructure for tomorrow's cities, expected to host six billion of the world's population by 2045.
"Smart services, autonomous driving and drone technologies, all will be better managed with the cloud's ability to store and analyse data."
He said the UAE cloud service market will see increased adoption by financial services, hospitality, media and entertainment, oil and gas and retail sectors.
"In the past year, cloud has played a significant role in our business services as well. The new Secure Cloud Wi-Fi delivers the power of visibility and automation."
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