The 'Innovation Day' gathered the best of the industry experts to discuss the issues related to eGovernance and smart cities in the region.
The theme of the event was 'Exploration, Lights the Way Forward'. It witnessed more than 1,000 companies. A number of Omanis were also present during the event. Big names from the industry included Ugo Valenti, CEO of Smart City Expo World Congress; Dr Mohammed al Amer, chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Bahrain, Edward Zhou, vice president of Global Affairs, Huawei Technologies and Li Xiangyu, vice president of Public Affairs and Communications, Huawei Middle East.
Dr Amer addressed the duty of governments in the region to work to create an environment that enables the digital economy to grow and flourish, identifying the need to foster digital education, enact proper regulatory framework, and in unifying the concepts of IT and ICT.
A new research report titled, 'National Transformation in the Middle East – A Digital Journey' by Huawei-Deloitte shed light on the digital transformation initiatives being undertaken by government entities in the GCC region.
Valenti said, “The 21st century is fast becoming the century of cities. The growing universality of the cloud, AI [artificial intelligence] and blockchain are nothing short of a revolution in the way we live. This transformation is allowing us to build smart cities, but to truly reach our potential we have to empower cities to be as sustainable, mobile, safe and healthy as possible.”
Jawad Abbassi, head of MENA, GSMA said that the mobile is already playing a significant role in driving efficiencies, productivity and economic growth across the Middle East and North Africa region, contributing to employment as well as innovation.
“However, it is crucial that governments put the right regulatory frameworks in place to encourage competition, investment and innovation so that everyone can benefit from the digital age.”
Li said, “It has been fantastic to gather such a diverse and knowledgeable group of experts and leaders to discuss the key issues and challenges of digital transformation in the region. The Middle East is a historic centre of exploration and innovation, and we are incredibly excited to leverage this heritage and tackle the challenges faced in order to realise the full spectrum of digital realities here.
“Huawei remains committed to driving the digital ecosystems, and to continue to push for active and open collaboration with local partners in order to serve the region’s national visions and deliver on the promise of digital transformation.”
“ICT innovation is at the heart of Dubai Municipality’s mission to build the most advanced, sustainable city in the world. Developing a smart, integrated IT infrastructure depends on experimentation and exploration, which in turn depends on building effective partnerships,” said Ahmed Kajoor, IT director at Dubai Municipality. Other key themes addressed were importance of the rise in urbanisation to the digital project, the importance of industrial digitisation and open collaboration, and the state of digital development in the GCC.
Abdullah Alansi, general manager of United Solutions in Salalah said, “We are happy to be here and pleased to meet people and discuss ideas to offer eSolutions in Oman.”