In­side du’s new Idea Hub

In­no­va­tive ideas to make the UAE the smartest coun­try in the world is the goal.

Comms MEA - - Contents -

In­no­va­tive ideas to make the United Arab Emi­rates the smartest coun­try in the world is the goal.

IN­NO­VA­TION STARTS WITH AN IDEA.

du is ramp­ing up its dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion ef­forts, with the launch of its Idea Hub.

Launched on a typ­i­cally sunny Dubai day to a crowd of sev­eral dozen on the 35th floor of du’s head­quar­ters in the Me­dia City area, the event kicked off with a video pre­sen­ta­tion high­light­ing du’s de­sire to use the hub to help make the UAE “the smartest coun­try in the world.”

The me­dia launch fol­lowed a visit by H.E. Oman Bin Sul­tan Al Olama, the UAE’s Min­is­ter of State for Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, who was ac­com­pa­nied by a num­ber of du ex­ec­u­tives and lead­ers.

The Min­is­ter said: “Our goal is to use AI to strengthen ser­vices and com­pletely trans­form how UAE res­i­dents con­nect to the gov­ern­ment.”

He said more. “It is im­per­a­tive to not only re­fine cur­rent strate­gies, but also to in­vest in fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties. AI will al­low us to of­fer a num­ber of in­no­va­tive use cases, in­clud­ing aug­mented and vir­tual re­al­ity, the In­ter­net of Things, smart city ap­pli­ca­tions and re­mote surgery, amongst many oth­ers, as part of the UAE’s Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence Strat­egy 2031.”

Os­man Sul­tan, du’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said some­thing sim­i­lar. He said: “We believe that ICT is our big­gest op­por­tu­nity in the fu­ture to en­hance the UAE’s po­si­tion as a global hub for tourism, com­merce and, more im­por­tantly, as a happy place to live.”

He added: “We are heav­ily in­vested in lever­ag­ing fu­tur­is­tic tech­nolo­gies and plat­forms, build­ing and de­ploy­ing the Dubai Pulse plat­form, and col­lab­o­rat­ing with a va­ri­ety of part­ners and push­ing ahead with smart city use cases, de­ploy­ments of in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies, and push­ing the bound­aries of dig­i­tal adop­tion and dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion in gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties,” Sul­tan said.

Ji­had Ta­yara, du’s VP of ICT, ex­panded on Sul­tan’s words and the pri­mary pur­pose of the new Idea Hub. “We’re em­bark­ing on a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion story,” he said, adding du has been in­volved in more than 25 smart ser­vices projects in Dubai’s Silicon Oa­sis, a 100% gov­ern­ment-owned free zone that fa­cil­i­tates and pro­motes mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy­based in­dus­tries.

Ta­yara said ICT is the fastest-grow­ing part of du’s busi­ness – and that it’s ex­pected to con­tinue to grow. “We’re build­ing the dig­i­tal back­bone of the city.”

The tim­ing for open­ing the hub was right, Ta­yara said, be­cause cus­tomers were con­tin­u­ing to ask what du was do­ing in the ICT and smart cities space. “The main out­come is about en­gag­ing cus­tomers,” he said.

“It’s not just about in­no­va­tion. It’s about show­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion. In­no­va­tion is the fruit of that col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

Part­ners for the Ideas Hub in­clude Vir­gin, WiFi UAE, Data­mena, Smart Dubai, and more.

Said Ta­yara of the im­por­tance of col­lab­o­ra­tion, in­clud­ing with other tel­cos: “It’s re­ally be­yond tel­cos. We’re com­pet­ing with all the dig­i­tal sys­tems in­te­gra­tors. And we’re part­ner­ing with them. It’s about col­lab­o­ra­tion.”

The launch also in­cluded a demon­stra­tion of Pep­per, a robot which can show videos make hand ges­tures while speak­ing, and an­swer ques­tions – and also be in­ter­viewed.

Said Pep­per: “I can tell you many things.”

Our goal is to use AI to strengthen ser­vices and com­pletely trans­form how UAE res­i­dents con­nect to the gov­ern­ment.”

- UAE Min­is­ter of State for Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence H.E. Oman Bin Sul­tan Al Olama

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