Riverbed, an American IT company that develops products to improve application performance across wide area networks (WANs), recently commissioned a study surveying 1,000 IT decision makers globally to explore the impact legacy and next-generation networks have on cloud adoption and digital transformation. Telecom Review discussed the findings with Charbel Khniesser, Riverbed's Regional Presales Director for Middle East, Turkey and North Africa.

Read more: Riverbed: SD-WAN essential for building next-generation networks

UAE telecom provider “du” (EITC) has over ten years’ experience dealing with multiple partners from various industries. Bundling everything together that those partners bring to the table means du can give its customers the best value for money and significantly improve processes, said du’s chief commercial officer, Fahad Al Hassawi, speaking to Telecom Review.

Read more: Partnerships benefit customers, says du CCO

Saudi Arabia is going through rapid transformation, according to Deemah AlYahya, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s National Digitization Unit (NDU), a government arm mandated to accelerate efforts to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 objectives, an initiative to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil dependence. This transformation, Ms. AlYahya said, will require collaboration, open data sharing and injecting innovation into citizens.

Read more: Saudi NDU CEO: 'We want to inject innovation into citizens'

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Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Director General, H.E. Mr. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori believes that governance frameworks and policies need to be properly established to ensure data is exchanged and shared effectively in order to drive innovation, creativity, enterprise and create new ecosystems.

The TRA hosted the world's first forum on Data Management in conjunction with the International Standardization Bureau (ITU) under the slogan of 'Transforming Data into value expanding the IoT potential with a special focus on 'Smart Cities'. Mr. Al Mansoori gave the opening address at the event which was attended by key decision-makers and experts from all over the world at this unique event.

However, afterwards Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with the TRA Director General to ask him about his thoughts on the creation of this forum, data sharing and 'Smart Cities'. In relation to 'Smart Cities' Mr. Al Mansoori said stakeholders would face challenges in the design phase of data management systems - but he praised the formulation of this forum which is just the first in a series of events that will gather industry experts and key government personnel and key decision-makers to discuss data.

He said: "Smart City stakeholders are facing challenges in the design phase of data management systems. Smart Cities need to be dynamic - so therefore it is important they develop flexible solutions and governance frameworks to account for the growing data streams. This forum is fantastic and it will help key decision-makers and experts to establish and examine how to manage data streams in Smart Cities by creating communities of value data and governance frameworks which will improve trust, security and interoperability within the IoT ecosystem."

The TRA Director General also praised Dubai's vision and said whilst some cities focused on one angle when implementing smart city practices - Dubai has always focused on multiple angles. He did add that Dubai's maturity in relation to infrastructure did give it a big advantage in comparison to other regions.

Mr. Al Mansoori said: "Dubai is implementing different concepts in contrast to other cities - a lot of other cities are focusing on one angle only in relation to smart city initiatives. However, in Dubai you can see them focusing on different angles - and that is also down to the maturity of Dubai's infrastructure, data and systems which ensures it has quite a big advantage. You can see some integrated data inside their system and it is provided for the internal governments - but you will see this kind of integration will change the Dubai concept and business opportunities by being able to gather all data from small sensors and manipulate that data to get a better view of Dubai as a city and study the behaviors of the people in general."

Mr. Al Mansoori then spoke of the importance of data and agreed with Younus Al Nasser's statement on how 'data' was now the 'fuel' of smart city transformation. In addition to this, he said the UAE is a nation that is leading the way in terms of utilizing the data that is being provided to them - in order to create infrastructure, policies, regulations and guidelines to further utilize that data in the correct fashion.

However, he stressed that in order to efficiently implement data systems effectively it was vital that policies are established in order to create a secure and safe way of exchanging data which can be so valuable for enterprise and industry sectors.

Mr. Al Mansoori said: "We have established some exchange data policy and we're focusing on the issue of privacy within that data exchange. Security will be a factor for nations designing Data Management systems - and the other issue will be the privacy of individuals. However, the privacy of individuals changed following the emergence of social media. The most important thing is to ensure that all the data is shared amongst all stakeholders. There is no point finding important data in a particular sector and then not sharing that data - as this does not benefit anyone and the industry will stand still. We need to get data, utilize data and share data- these are the most important things."