News Column

Building a better world through connected devices

June 19, 2014

Naushad K Cherrayil Staff Reporter



Dubai

With the development of high-speed broadband internet, the widespread availability of smart devices and region-wide support of digital initiatives, the Middle East is currently one of the most adaptable region's supporting smart device technology integration.

Additionally, the rising penetration of connected devices in the region is leading more governments to adopt more e-Government initiatives, making the transformation into digital economies with the initiation of smart city technologies.

"Connectivity is becoming an increasingly important way of life in the Middle East. ICT technologies represented by mobile broadband, the proliferation of smart devices, big data, the €˜Internet of Things' and the rise of social networking are expected to reshape the world and introduce a new wave of technological development," Ashraf Fawakherji, vice-president of device business at Huawei Middle East, told Gulf News.

Over the past several years, he said that mobile broadband has been developing rapidly, now covering more than two billion people. More and more individuals, businesses, and organisations are joining a more connected world. This is certainly true for the Middle East, which is one of the fastest adopters of next-generation mobile broadband networks.

According to Ericsson's latest mobility report, the number of mobile subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region will grow from 1.2 billion in 2013 to 1.9 billion in 2019, while mobile penetration in the Middle East is currently at 107 per cent, with 365 million mobile subscriptions.

By 2019, 50 per cent of handset subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa will be for smartphones, which will drive data traffic growth. There is an expected 11-fold increase in data traffic in the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) between 2013 and 2019, second only to growth anticipated in the Asia Pacific region.

Fawakherji said that mobile subscriptions are expected to exceed world population in 2015.

As a result, the relationship between connected technology and physical work is undergoing a profound change. Work and life is made easier thanks to connectivity. By incorporating connected items into various exploration activities, true human potential can be unleashed creating untapped business opportunities. But this is just the beginning.

"We have already seen it happening, glasses, watches and health monitors are now becoming connected as we move toward a wearable technology trend. In time we will see cars, roads, homes, shoes and even toothbrushes becoming €˜intelligent', being connected in ways we never imagined possible," he said.

The UAE is seen as the "main driving force" behind these kinds of initiatives, with its innovative Dubai Smart Initiative and Abu Dhabi e-Government, which has changed the way citizens interact with government through the availability of online interactive services.

Huawei forecasts that by 2025, the world will have eight billion smartphone users and 100 billion terminals interconnected by the internet. It follows that the next decade will see ICT embedded more deeply in everyday life and across all industries.

"With convergence of ICT a developing trend in the region, we believe that the digital transformation of the information society presents immense opportunities for the ICT industry, and that the convergence of the digital and physical worlds will usher in an era of big data, more real-time big data platforms, and an enormous volume of connected things," he said.


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Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)


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