InterviewsTech@WorkTelecom

Tech@Work: “Technology Has Been Shaping the Infrastructure of Tomorrow for Decades”

Farid Faraidooni, Chief New Business and Innovation Officer at du, speaks about how technology is shaping the world we live in today

Which products and solutions do you offer for today’s workplace?
Reliance on telco products and solutions has never been higher than recent times due to the pandemic, with businesses from all verticals switching to remote environments to continue their operations. As such, we at du were determined to cater to the enterprise community and all others that we serve. This was the primary reason behind our #WeGotYou initiative, which helped ensure we provided every required service to customers working remotely.

In addition to our pandemic response that supported workplaces, we also help organizations build digital platforms, so they can integrate and orchestrate data between their core and external IT to enhance work processes and practices. Moreover, we provide agile, resilient, secure, and scalable digital infrastructure solutions built on a foundation of hybrid and multi-cloud, in-country data center services, and software-defined enterprise networks. Our portfolio includes Infrastructure Services, Cloud Management, Data Center Solutions, and Connectivity Solutions, all of which support business environments by accelerating digital organizational transformation and streamlining operations.

How do you think technology today helps businesses grow?
Irrespective of industry, technology today has fundamentally transformed the entire landscape and is a critical growth component for every business. Technology enhances processes, creates new value, and streamlines operations and costs. At the same time, it enables businesses to connect with clients and customers seamlessly and pursue expansion-centric strategies. As such, companies that harness technology can explore an array of opportunities, unlock vast potential, and create unique digital experiences for those they serve, which is a sure formula for development and growth.

At du, technology is also helping us to continue growing. In 2020, we utilized our advanced infrastructure and technological capabilities to roll out our fiber network, increase our footprint, and automate inventory management and data. We also built the first site on 5G millimeter waves technology to support specific high-speed use cases in the UAE. These examples also emphasize the capabilities of technology to serve as a force for good and drive organizational growth.

How is tech shaping the infrastructure of tomorrow?
From a telecommunications standpoint, technology has been shaping the infrastructure of tomorrow for decades. Tech advancements through the years have equipped operators with greater capabilities, enabling them to provide new value to customers and communities. However, the pandemic has accelerated years’ worth of reform in a short period, hastening the development of future infrastructure. 5G rollout has been well documented, and this is a prominent technology reshaping the landscape due to unprecedented demands.

The powerful broadband that accompanies 5G is powering a host of new use cases, including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and critical communication. Moreover, 5G provides lower latency, higher capacity, and greater flexibility to progress infrastructure development and transform wireless technology. And then there are technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), both of which are also transforming infrastructure and creating better telco experiences and capabilities.

How according to you, are women powering the tech industry?
Absolutely. We are already witnessing women have an influential impact in the tech industry, and this will only increase in the years ahead. For du, our Gender Balance Council was rebranded in 2020. Since then, tremendous progress has been made as part of our efforts to achieve inclusion and equal representation in the workplace. The Council has created a compelling roadmap, focusing on several key building blocks required for sustainable progress moving forward. These include leadership commitment, culture change, talent cycle, policies, structures, and practices, as well as gender balance communication and dashboards.

Action in this direction has yielded many positive outcomes. For example, we support Emiratisation by creating jobs, offering various learning opportunities, and encouraging growth and development for UAE Nationals – including women. In 2020, Emirati talent comprised 37 percent of our workforce. 50 percent were female – all of whom have contributed to our recent success and future development plans. Furthermore, it is also important to note that two-thirds of the UAE’s recent university graduates are women and almost half ICT specialists. This also emphasizes the significant role they will play in the tech landscape in due course.

How is your company investing in the workforce of tomorrow?
Investing in our people and future workforce is a long-standing principle that remains crucial to success and the ability to uphold our responsibilities. du is part of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC). The EITC University offers a range of corporate learning programs for up-and-coming talent as they begin to embark on a potential career in telecommunications, while our Marketing Academy further enhances our Enterprise teams’ skills that can be utilized in the years to come. At du, we will always be fully committed to future workforce investment.

We proactively recruit for all our business units – from junior through to senior level – and every new team member receives competency-based learning through bespoke training programs. Our workforce investment approach also entails supporting people in an environment that fosters continuous learning, which we believe is a key driver for personal development and meeting organizational objectives in due course.

How do you think tech will shape the 2021 landscape?
As previously mentioned, technology is accompanied by vast possibilities and potential, and its continued evolution could yield remarkable outcomes or bring new concepts to life at any given time. From a telecommunication standpoint, what is apparent is that several trends will unfold over the year, all of which will play a role in reshaping the industry. Already, telecommunication is a vibrant center for innovation and growth. Therefore, the coming period will witness the continued emergence of VoIP technology, AI-driven collaborative platforms, and cloud-based and open technologies.

At the same time, 5G expansion will only accelerate. The coming months will see du expand its fiber network and upgrade the core systems with cloud-native computing foundations, uplifting ecosystem platforms to the highest possible standards. In truth, there will be a wide variety of tech use cases visible in the public domain over the coming months alone, yet it is a near certainty that telcos will increase AI and ML reliability to drive infrastructure operations automation. Operators will also use the Internet of Things more frequently, while the emergence of new business models will drive heightened synchronization of edge servers with telco infrastructure.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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