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Du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), showcased and demonstrated some of its cutting-edge innovations and solutions that are helping enterprises achieve their digital transformation objectives at the recently-concluded GITEX Technology Week. Du's strategic vision is clear and that is to help customers embark upon digitalization. Du has been a pioneer for championing revolutionary technology that has the capabilities to transform enterprises and industries and the operator is a key enabler in the UAE's quest to accelerate its 'smart transformation'.

Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with Farid Faraidooni, deputy CEO, Enterprise Solutions at EITC, and under his dynamic and innovative leadership the telco has become the go-to company for businesses and government entities seeking digitalization.

In a compelling and forthright interview, the Deputy CEO outlined the importance of some of the major announcements and solutions unveiled by du during GITEX, its strategic vision for the future and how its increased focus on emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and blockchain will ensure it remains the main driver of the digital future in the UAE.

Can you tell us more about the incredible GOV2071 Guidebook Experience unveiled here at GITEX?
We've been a strategic partner of the World Government Summit here in the UAE for several years and we've been very active in this partnership. EITC worked with them closely in order to build a structured and realistic timeline regarding the 'Government in 2071' vision. We actively participated with leading global futurologists to produce this comprehensive guidebook. It's a fantastic initiative and we are very proud to be part of it.

This guidebook really points the way in relation to how emerging technologies will impact and reshape our future societies. It really highlights the impact of technological trends and some of the megatrends that are being projected which will fundamentally transform the way we live, work and play. It's an exciting glimpse into the future and provides you with the opportunity to imagine what the UAE will look like in 2071.

What major announcements and solutions has du made during GITEX Technology Week?
I want to highlight Dubai Pulse. We've been in partnership with the Smart Dubai Office for the last number of years and together we've built the Dubai Pulse platform. Du has been the strategic technology partner to them in terms of building the platform, which was built over a year ago. This year, we were very happy to announce a couple of other government entities that joined the platform.

One of the partnerships we announced was with the Dubai Health Authority. As part of the five-year partnership agreement du will be providing the authority with virtual solutions to cater to web, application, database and shared services. In addition to this, we also announced a new partnership with Dubai Future Foundation. They will migrate all of their IT back-ends and applications that they're developing onto the Dubai Pulse platform. In addition, administration and management of all infrastructure components, along with troubleshooting and problem resolution, will be at the core of the relationship agreements. Dubai Community Authority is also migrating to Dubai Pulse to have precise and relevant information published via dashboards to assist important business functions. So these are three great customers on top of the existing customers that joined the platform last year.

Dubai Pulse is a data platform so we're hosting most of the Dubai government's data on the platform and I'm extremely happy that so far we have 300 government data sets of various government entities that are hosted on the platform. We're creating various dashboards by correlating all of this data. The Dubai Pulse platform has dash-boarding capabilities and data science capabilities. This provides valuable information to the leadership to make decisions and to set future strategies to continue to propel the city's 'smart transformation'.

At GITEX, we also announced a new partnership agreement with Microsoft. We signed a MoU with Microsoft on ExpressRoute, which is a solution which provides more efficient connectivity to the Microsoft Azure cloud services.

We also made a significant announcement with RTA. We are enabling free WiFi in over 10,000 taxis that are deployed in Dubai - and this fits in perfectly with our overall strategic vision which is to keep people 'connected' at all times.

Du is really driving the digital future here in the UAE. What is it that differentiates du from its competitors?
I think what differentiates us is that we have a clear vision for enabling our customers to embark upon their digitalization journey. It is well-known now and recognized by enterprises and the government that digitalization is a must. The digitalization of the customer journey, the digitalization of the process and the digitalization of their internal services are all necessary for enterprises, as it's the new way to do business.

We've built capabilities and will continue to invest in building capabilities that will allow our customers to do that. This is a distinct competitive edge that we have in the fact that we can consult with our customers, help them to embark on their digitalization journey and realize their vision.

Over the past couple of years we have invested in building the foundations and the capabilities that will allow us to do that. We are building capabilities on some of the leading technologies like AI, machine learning and blockchain as a service. We have also signed an agreement with one of the leading blockchain technology providers, ConsenSys. Together with ConsenSys, we will build the first blockchain platform as a service (BPaaS) in the UAE. These are some of the capabilities in our product portfolio that really differentiate us from other operators.

What are your primary goals and objectives for the next 12 months?
In the next 12 months, we're going to strengthen our capabilities around these various industry verticals and areas that we've discussed at length throughout this interview. Our primary goal in enhancing our capabilities and improving our solutions is to make it easier for our customer to embrace change and integrate these emerging technologies into their existing operations and business processes.

You're going to see a lot more capabilities around blockchain as we want to enable enterprises in the UAE to adopt machine learning and AI capabilities. We will continue to invest in the infrastructure required in order to enable enterprises to adapt to these transformative technologies. We don't develop AI applications ourselves but we make the infrastructure available which allows the customers to do that. We're excited about the future, and we're uniquely positioned to continue to play a lead role in driving the digital future here in the UAE.