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du showcased some of its cutting-edge innovations and solutions at the 40th edition of GITEX Technology Week. In its mission to help enterprises achieve their digital transformation objective, the company announced the launch of its digital platform, newly-formed partnerships, and opening of data centers in the region. As always, du's strategic vision is clear and that is to help customers embark upon digitalization.

In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Fahad Al Hassawi, Acting CEO, du, outlined the importance of humanizing experience and simplifying technology so that it does not overwhelm the consumer.

Can you tell us about what du is showcasing at GITEX this year?

The 40th GITEX Technology Week has provided us with the perfect platform to showcase our latest next-generation solutions and technologies under the theme: ‘Enabling Digital Now’. These include our new digital platform that provides the foundation for building an intelligent organization, upcoming data centers in Dubai Silicon Oasis and Kizad Abu Dhabi, Dubai Hospital platform that offers state-of-the-art and best-in-class e-Health solutions and applications, and du Blockchain Edge.

As GITEX is the region’s premier technology event, a host of leaders, influencers, investors, and public and private sector enterprises are attending. As such, this is great opportunity to network and interact with friends – new and old – and hear their visions for the future, and explore how we at du can assist them in realizing their aspirations.

What is du most excited about exhibiting at this year’s GITEX?

At du, one of our topmost ambitions has always been to drive a better society and transform the communities we serve through partnerships and technologies – and this is why we are most excited to be exhibiting at GITEX 2020. As always, the event is enabling us to highlight our latest innovations that will empower key industrial sectors in the their respective digital transformation journeys. Moreover, we are once again demonstrating our capabilities as a disruptive force that humanizes experience, simplifies technologies, and goes beyond connectivity to a large and diverse audience.

How did du weather the COVID-19 storm when it hit?

Connectivity was already an essential component of society in the pre-pandemic landscape, yet its importance suddenly grew exponentially due to lockdown measures and movement restrictions. Besides remote learning and the education sector moving online, business across a host of sectors also needed to transition their operations to digital and residents required more services to keep in touch with loved ones. As such, our role as a leading national telco provider had perhaps never been more crucial when the COVID-19 storm hit. At du, we supported residents and the education, business, and healthcare sectors in every way possible in line with our corporate social responsibilities, ensuring the population had seamless access to the services they needed to remain connected in personal and professional life.

During this time, the work we had been doing since our establishment in 2005 came to fulfillment as we supported communities, industries, and the country in addressing challenges presented by the pandemic. In terms of the health sector, we ensured hospitals and medical centers were seamlessly connected and rolled out special offerings to support frontline workers and COVID-19 volunteers. We also ensured remote learning and working was successful nationwide, increasing bandwidth and network capacity, providing access to school/university websites, offering collaborative tools for enterprises, and launching a new platform to enable SMEs to conduct simple, secure, and trusted business transactions.

COVID-19 has triggered many changes in the way we live and work. What digital trends are here to stay after the pandemic has passed?

Digital trends have evolved substantially since the pandemic first emerged due the impacts previously mentioned, and future reform projected over the next 5-10 years prior to the outbreak actually transpired within months. As such, reverting back to pre-pandemic practices in their entirety will not occur because of newfound capabilities in terms of speed, efficiency, and effectiveness. Although some recent changes will not persist as we progress towards a fully recovery, other will remain indefinitely and among these are several digital trends. 5G is one, and the accelerated rollout and adoption of recent times will continue due to its power and sustainability. Another is the influence of analytics – a myriad of companies from various sectors have successfully complied data and overhauled decision-making processes through the emerging technology. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain are other technologies that have powered businesses through the pandemic, and implementation of these will also continue when the pandemic passes.

What is next for du in 2021?

For du, 2021 is all about continuing to delight our customers, serve our communities, support the national agenda, be the employer of choice for our shareholders, and drive business excellence, innovation, and widespread transformation. The technologies and solutions previously mentioned that we are currently showcasing at GITEX 2020 will have a prominent role to play in the next 12 months and beyond, as will every internal department and our broad partnership ecosystem. Furthermore, the immediate future in terms of 2021 also entails launching our new data centers, further progressing our 5G rollout at the national level, ensuring the whole of society remains connected, and assisting wherever possible with regards to emerging from the difficulties of 2020.

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