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Research conducted by Ciena explores how sustainability, connected industries, and always-on connectivity drive the digital landscape in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A sample size of 1,000 adults from the two GCC countries has participated in the research survey where more than half — UAE (54%) and KSA (57%) — believe that the future of the internet will be driven by the desire to become more energy efficient.

94% are already considering doing more activities virtually to reduce their carbon footprint, with working remotely being the most popular. New technologies, including IoT and 5G, also have the potential to increase energy efficiency and the research shows that the two GCC countries are ready to embrace more connected devices.

Over 90% of respondents in the KSA and the UAE see IoT and smart devices are contributing to a cleaner and greener planet while bringing an easier, more convenient, and more efficient lifestyle.

Azz-Eddine Mansouri, general manager at Ciena Middle East, said, “The UAE and KSA are ahead of the curve in adopting new technologies such as 5G and connected devices. Sustainability goals and ecological concerns drive internet user behaviour in the Middle East. There is a deep desire to create an energy-efficient world through smart devices, connected industries, and new applications. This is underpinned by the local governments’ sustainability agendas as part of the UAE’s Vision 2021 and KSA’s Vision 2030.”

As a pathway to improving internet connectivity and gaining better network performance and speed, three-fourths of adults in both GCC countries confirmed that they are planning to upgrade their internet within the next 24 months. In fact, a whopping 85% in the KSA and 74% in the UAE believe that when 5G is widely available, they will have better access to the internet.

Furthermore, Jürgen Hatheier, chief technology officer and vice president of strategic sales for the EMEA region at Ciena, commented that network has never been important than now, with mobiles being mostly used as the medium for internet access.

The desire for reliable connectivity, ultra-low latency, and improved speeds underscores the need for networks that can handle the growing pressures of new applications, services, and tools. Not to mention that aside from faster connections, privacy, security, and reliable access are the most important requirements considered by the respondents in the UAE and KSA.

“Rethinking our approach to the way networks are built and managed is key to supporting the growing digital landscape,” explained Mansouri. “The pandemic has ushered in a decisive shift in the user behaviour, with a majority of UAE and KSA employees keen to work remotely even after the pandemic subsides. As they find themselves spending more time at home with their connected devices, they will continue to discover and seek new ways in which digitalization can ease their lives. In this new era, network providers will have to keep pace by getting closer to the end users and swiftly delivering an exceptional customer experience.”

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