How Ericsson Supports the UAE’s Digital Transformation

Wojciech Bajda, Ericsson’s Vice President & Head of Gulf Council Countries, about the importance of 5G for the UAE national strategy for the industrial sector.

At the heart of the future of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is long-term strategic planning and ambitious visions powered and driven by skilled Emiratis, technology, and innovation. From Operation 300bn, the UAE national strategy for the industrial sector to Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, the future of the nation will be transformed through talent and technology.

Critically, the country’s long-term goals need strong supporters from the private sector and as a company Ericsson has long stood alongside the nation’s continued development. Since our establishment in the UAE in 1980 we’ve achieved significant milestones to help the economy develop through communications networks and technology. Our introduction of a 3G network in the UAE and the accelerated roll-out of 4G, Cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) has been followed up with our 5G initiatives with the country’s communications service providers (CSPs).

However, the next step in the country’s development is about how best to tap into emerging technologies such as 5G. Fundamentally, how will such technologies contribute to the innovation that the nation has steadfastly committed to?

Of course, the vast potential of 5G is yet to be fully tapped and we are truly on the cusp of a new era in terms of networks and communication. At the same time 5G and a company like Ericsson are able to help societies and nations by leveraging the technology to found new markets, establish new vehicles for innovation, as well as enhance human capabilities.

A new technology like 5G has a huge impact on markets and market dynamics. This has always been the case, but in the digital age this is happening faster than ever before. Over the last decades we’ve seen how digital technology has disrupted many different markets. With 5G many new capabilities and possibilities emerge, such as network slicing, ultra-low latency, lightning fast speeds, and extreme reliability to mention a few. And these capabilities are enabling many new use cases: from remote controlling vehicles in a mine to small sensors that can track the growth and prosperity of mangroves. These technology features will transform the current logic in many businesses and create new markets for those who see the possibilities.

When new technology becomes established in our society it also drives new behaviors among people and their role as consumers, and these new behaviors represent potential new markets. The same thing happens in industries: when a new technology becomes available organizations can possibly change areas within their business, such as value chains and operations, but also whole business models and the entire market itself.

5G has the power to fuel IoT and other technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI) that will further open new markets and market niches in many industries. In turn these create efficiencies not yet fully realized such as the automation of business processes in digital and physical tasks. Many businesses in the UAE are already turning to AI to assist with efficiency and effectiveness in their current business logic.

At the same time, innovation and technology are closely linked. Two very notable ways technology propels innovation forward is that it boosts research and development which in itself accelerates innovation processes.

Not long-ago experimentation with new technologies was only possible by multinational corporations or government-funded research labs. Today, affordable technology – digital and other – makes it possible for most enterprises – big and small – to experiment with ideas and concepts in whole new ways, and also in reality instead of only in test labs.

For example, it’s now possible to test products and services online at a very low cost, as well as test out updates, alterations, and tweaks. Prototyping has become available to all through easy to use software and 3D printing. AI can simulate various market scenarios based on available real-life data. Virtual reality makes it possible to create completely new types of blueprints that actually make products and services come alive and make them possible to evaluate prior to building or manufacturing them.

Digital technology and the new technologies that it enables (like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and AI) cut the traditional industrial age innovation process short. What used to take years of planning, testing, and executing can now be accomplished in months and sometimes even weeks.

Another way emerging technology can speed up innovation, is by removing obstacles of uncertainty or lack of information. Continuously identifying and ruling out hypotheses at a quick pace will no doubt make the innovation process more focused and effective in generating strong solutions.

This kind of digital transformation has great potential in that technology can give people, businesses, and innovators in the UAE an extra push towards a greater innovative capacity.

Take design for example. The designer today has a completely new set of possibilities and tools for designing and prototyping. In manufacturing, time-consuming modelling can now focus on open source and 3D printing technologies for physical prototyping and production.

We genuinely believe in the transformative impact of 5G as a technology that can fuel innovation. So much so, we have established the Ericsson Innovation Hub in the UAE to tap into the talent here in the country to create and spur ideas and solutions that will evolve the nation’s digital landscape.

It is vital that companies like Ericsson can continue to partner closely with the UAE to maximize the potential of technologies like 5G and to build the vision of the country’s leadership. And it is through these technologies that innovation can truly take place for established and new enterprises as well as the nation’s entrepreneurs.

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