Amr Salem, Global Managing Director for Smart Cities, Internet of Everything, at Cisco
Dubai has been be aptly chosen as the city where the Cisco sponsored Internet of Things World Forum will see over 1500 global attendees including government officials, business leaders, academia and researchers discuss and share best practices and strengthen their commitment towards optimizing the opportunities and benefits the Internet of Things (IoT) has to offer. The momentum towards the forum has been building and it is a good time to highlight how the region has been making phenomenal progress towards becoming fully digitized while embracing digital transformation strategies that are bringing about positive social and economic changes.
From healthcare, transportation, education, telecommunications, utilities and government services, the region has been a hotbed for digital transformation and Cisco has been at the forefront of this change with several key initiatives that embody the changing approach towards digitization.
Cisco Smart+Connected Communities are being deployed across the Middle East’s leading Smart City projects. A prime example is the Dubai Design District (d3) where Cisco is providing advisory and consultancy-led services as well as a Data Virtualization Platform for the d3 smart city project. Besides an ICT Master Plan for the district we will also build a Cisco Smart and Connected City Infrastructure Management layer which helps d3 leverage innovative technology solutions and services for better quality of life for the residents that will also make it a signature smart city development in the region.
Governments in the region are working relentlessly towards providing quality services not just within city limits but are also focusing on making these services available in remote areas. Our Cisco Remote Expert for Government Services has been instrumental in the launch of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) 24/7 service point terminal that allows customers to do their business registration and licensing transactions at select locations with the capability of face to face interaction with a government agent if required. This displays the initiative of a modern government by taking the point of service closer to the citizen while making more services accessible for longer hours.
The Middle East aviation industry has seen rapid strides in its evolution with new technology being adopted to improve profitability and stakeholder returns. Cisco has been at the heart of this transformation with new operating models, changes in process and improvements in productivity across Data Centres, Mobility, Collaboration, Security, Wireless Networks and IoT. We have been working very closely with regional airports and have deployed solutions which allow them to tackle process change through new tools and information, improved services for passengers and airlines and have also been focused on providing airport security solutions across the region.
Supporting the ‘Smart Oman’ initiative, Omantel a pioneer of total communications solutions in the country has integrated the Cisco Universal Small Cell Solutions into its mobile network for a trial project to support the growing customer base across small, medium and large enterprise buildings to help deliver enhanced mobile connectivity. This will help Omantel to optimize and monetize customer and business services on mobile devices across 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks and the Multi-technology small cells will provide increased voice and data coverage and capacity indoors.
To showcase the role of digitization in education in the region, Kuwait has two universities that have deployed solutions to help students, staff as well as the management. At the American University of Kuwait we implemented the Cisco end-to-end network infrastructure and firewall upgrade. Our switching solutions delivers a consistent and high-quality network experience to the students with higher productivity and satisfaction, reliable access to any resource anytime, anywhere. The firewall upgrade protects unauthorized access and is instrumental in permitting legitimate student traffic which was a key requirement for the university. Algonquin College, soon to be operational in Kuwait will provide students and staff with a more on-line collaborative experience by deploying Cisco IP Telephony, Cisco WebEx and Cisco Jabber. It will enable students to collaborate anywhere, anytime on any device in a manner that is suitable to them.
A key example of an effective Public Private Partnerships of a healthcare programme in the Middle East is the Jordan Healthcare Initiative (JHI) which is a strategic collaboration between Cisco and the Government of Jordan. It improves the efficiency of and access to quality healthcare services for the people of Jordan, particularly those living in rural and underserved areas. Patients across hospitals in the northeast and south of Jordan were connected to a hospital in Amman to gain access to healthcare services through access to specialists. The Ministry of Health Telemedicine Project provides remote consultations between patients and specialists using Cisco telepresence technology and third party medical devices.
Cisco telepresence technology and networking and security technologies facilitates female screening for the Jordan Breast Cancer Mobile Clinics with the mammography images transferred to King Hussein Cancer Centre since 2013. And the Royal Medical Services initiative uses Cisco telepresence technology and a third party mini-PACS solution for remote image transfer or reporting for patient clinical cases. It enables clinicians to communicate between hospitals to communicate and collaborate on clinical cases. A Service Exchange Platform (SXP) went live in 2014 and delivers affordable high-quality radiology to public hospitals including underserved areas with limited or no radiology specialists.
The initiative has already resulted in a series of projects where collaboration and communication technologies were strategically used to transform, enhance and deliver specific healthcare across the nation. To date, over 110,000 patients have benefited from telehealth video consultations or cloud enabled radiology services.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) upgraded its technology infrastructure to support future expansion plans in line with Dubai Smart City goals and was given the Best Practice Award by Cisco for this initiative. DEWA’s migration of its Al Qussais and Jebel Ali data centre network was commended by Cisco for best practice in design, implementation and in completing the migration reliably and securely. The network upgrades will support DEWA’s plan to raise production capacity, upgrade its infrastructure and implement smarter technologies to manage generation, transmission and distribution. The Utility worked closely with Cisco Advanced Services on the network migration, from project management and governance of design through implementation and quality checking.
With so many initiatives that project the digital acceleration in the Middle East, it is not surprising then that Cisco has chosen Dubai to host the IoTWF. We look forward to welcoming the delegates to the forum and hope that with our long term commitment to IoT, we will deliver national digitization agendas to grow GDP, create new jobs and invest in a sustainable innovation ecosystem across public and private sectors.