Gitex Tech Week: Breath-taking to brilliant... and bizarre

It’s tech-fest time in Dubai, with Gitex Technology Week 2015 starting with a big bang yesterday.

From drones that help keep an eye in the sky for vessels crossing the creek to virtual marketplaces at Metro stations.

From driving simulators that allow new drivers to hone their road manners to virtual reality headsets that transport you to another world.

From smart bus kiosks to ‘live’ 5G demos amidst Hollywood characters, it’s all happening at the Dubai World Trade Centre this week.

Below we bring you a quick round-up of major Day 1 announcements and unveils at Gitex Technology Week 2015.

Dubai Now: 1 app for Salik, Dewa, immigration, Rera, DHA, taxis… you name it

Dubai Now, a unified hub for smart government services, was launched yesterday. The new hub app enables customers to access multiple government services and conduct transactions through their smartphones.

Dubai Now contains most commonly used services such as paying traffic fines, Salik, Nol, Etisalat, Du, Dewa, some of Dubai Municipality and Dubai Customs services, donating to Al Jalila Foundation and Dubai Cares, getting flight information, booking taxis, accessing health services, searching for the closest pharmacy, obtaining GDRFA visa services, religious services including prayer timings and mosque locations; Rera rental increase calculator, knowing types of business activities, inquiring about and renewing trade licences, booking trade names, accessing emergency and business services, inquiring about public services including weather reports and postal services and getting familiar with educational services; among others.

Dubai Now was designed with active customer engagement at DSG’s Customer Experience (CX) Lab. It is a very comprehensive hub for the public to communicate and interact with Dubai government entities, considering that it combines 22 government entity services under one app.

All customers who have existing accounts with mPay app or MyID will be able to use their login to access Dubai Now easily and take maximum advantage of an array of the service packages that have been created based on customers’ interests.

These service packages are classified under 11 categories: payments and bills; housing and public transport; security and justice; health; driving; visas; educational services; Islamic services; business; and public services.

Dubai Now contains an interactive, smart dashboard that can be customized to have most used services in one place. It can then analyse the transactions and provide timely reminders and notifications, among other useful settings.

“In line with DSG’s strategy, which seeks to ease the lives of people and enable them to access services easily at any time, and as we work as a connected and collaborative government to meet the needs of our customers and ensure that our services and policies conform to their requirements; we are pleased to announce the launch of Dubai Now,” said Ahmad Bin Humaidan, DSG Director General.

“This one hub will spare much of the time and effort of those dealing with Dubai government entities, thereby enhancing satisfaction and happiness in their daily lives,” he said.

Meet Dubai’s very own RoboCop

Dubai Police is showcasing a plethora of smart services, including the Smart Police Officer at its pavilion.

Besides shaking hands and saluting, the Dubai Police RoboCop offers several of Dubai Police’s smart services, like accessing accident reports, certificate of traffic records, and a traffic awareness game, among others.

Dubai Police is showcasing a number of other innovations, including the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid car that can go from 0 t 100kmph in 4.4 seconds, and boasts of a top speed of 250kmph.

But that isn’t its claim to fame – the Dh500,000 i8 supercar boasts zero emissions when driven in electric mode.

Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, Commander in Chief of Dubai Police, noted that Dubai Police participation comes under the authority of Dubai Smart Government to highlight the upgrading of services provided to the public, and the providing of smart services in the easiest and fastest way possible through its applications.

Colonel Khaled Nasser Al Razouqi, Director of Smart Services, explained that the new services are now available for the public, within Dubai Police Smart Applications, in addition to Apple Smart Watch.

Cars, homes, offices and smartphones that talk to each other

Microsoft showcased an interactive demo to illustrate the future of Internet of Things (IoT) and its capabilities in driving the growing trend on smart cities around the world.

The demo showcased how IoT devices, cloud, and analytics come together to build a safer, smarter city and leads to happier people.

The main character in the demo is Jad, a city resident whose movements between his home and workplace are guided by a smartphone and his car, both connected to cloud and linked to the entire city infrastructure through sensors.

From his smartphone, he can get traffic predictions, speed warnings, road toll information, accident updates on the road, car emission details as well as car parking availability and payment options.

The focus of the demo was to present technical solutions that address current and future urban challenges, and also highlight IoT best practice guidelines and proof of concept deployments that can be applied for the success of any smart city vision.

The demo highlighted the capability of IoT in helping reduce road fatalities through real-time speed monitoring of vehicles.

“This demo illustrates how innovative technologies from Microsoft, supported by IoT, can help address key urban challenges and shape the future of regions, cities and municipalities,” said Samer Abu Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf.

It also showed how IoT can help reduce emergency services response time, empower governments to manage transportation more efficiently using a virtual tolling system, and also enable governments and citizens to improve overall resource efficiency and reduce emissions.

5G right here in Dubai: ‘Live’ proof of ultra-high-speed Internet

Extremely fast broadband speed that allows users to download a full-length HD video in a matter of seconds? It’s real, and it’s here.

Augmented and virtual reality services available online and streamed in real-time? It’s real, and it’s here.

Nokia Networks and du yesterday showcased the possibilities of 5G systems for future ultra-broadband and critical machine-type communication for the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city applications.

The 5G radio demonstration featured, for the first time in the Middle East, live, ultra-high-speed communications of up to 10 Gbps over the air in the promising mmWave band.

Network speeds as high as 10 Gbps and with extremely low latency are a driving force for new applications that use massive broadband capabilities. 5G will be the platform to enable growth with many smart city use cases, from IT to automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and entertainment.

“We are very pleased to show a next generation 5G prototype in cooperation with Nokia Networks at Gitex Technology Week, and to continue leading the development of future technologies for the benefit of our industry and society as a whole,” said Saleem Blooshi, Executive Vice President of Network Development and Operations at du.

“We’re collaborating to share our experience, skills and expertise to accelerate developments in 5G and IoT technologies, and the network evolution. This is yet another step forward towards Nokia’s vision of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world,” said Tony Awad, Head of du Customer Team at Nokia Networks.





Connecting small businesses with big dreams

Etisalat announced its partnership with Fujairah Free Zone Authority to provide improved telecom and ICT service experience to the authority’s customers.

As part of the MoU, Etisalat will cater to business customers who are also investors in Fujairah Free Zone, by developing exclusive promotions and packages based on specific needs of the businesses.

The telco said in a media statement that the partnership will make it easier for businesses to set up in the UAE, enabling business connectivity and increasing competitiveness of small and medium sized businesses.

“Small and medium businesses, especially start-ups fuel the economic engine of a nation. Etisalat is committed to making the telecom and ICT connectivity a seamless experience for our business customers,” said Salvador Anglada, Etisalat’s Chief Business Officer at Etisalat.

“Through our partnership with Etisalat, we are keen to provide our tenants and investors best-in-class services and connectivity,” noted Sharief Habib Al Awadhi, Director General (CEO) of Fujairah Free Zone Authority.

Let’s go shopping in the cloud

Redington Value announced the launch of RedCloud, a cloud-based marketplace offering corporate customers a ‘one-stop solution’ for their cloud requirements.

The company said it is in the process of partnering with about 30 to 40 SaaS (software as a solution) service providers to offer its clients a single log-in platform for all products, unified billing and online payments, while offering live chat and agent management among other features.

“The demand for public and private cloud solutions has been growing fast across the Middle East and Africa,” said Ramkumar Balakrishnan, President, Redington Value Distribution.

RedCloud had a soft launch in September and is expected to be officially rolled out during the fourth quarter of 2015, the firm said, adding that it has already tied up with major players including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure for the solution.

Describing it as a work in progress, Balakrishnan says Redington Value with over 40 brands across 27 markets and more than 200 employees is best suited to introduce the various cloud solutions in the region.


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