Huawei: Experts say expanding 5G will boost regional economies during COVID-19 recovery

Published: 11 July 2020 - 7:35 a.m.

Telecommunications leaders and experts from the region and across the world recently gathered at the SAMENA Telecommunication Council Leaders’ Summit to review plans for unleashing the potential of 5G networks to boost economies and societies in a post COVID-19 environment. Held virtually for the first time due to social-distancing requirements, the Summit was hosted by Huawei for the seventh consecutive year.

This year, the SAMENA Telecommunications Council Leaders’ Summit welcomed H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, Founder of World Childhood Foundation; H.E. Houlin Zhao, secretary general of the ITU; Mats Granryd, directorg GSMA; Isabelle Mauro, head of telecommunications at the World Economic Forum in the USA and other distinguished speakers. Summit attendees also included senior executives from telecommunications service providers, local regulatory authorities, global NGOs, and other ICT industry professionals representing decision makers for different verticals and government entities in countries from across South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe, and beyond.

The Summit was held under the theme “5G-X: Harnessing 5G Across Industries for Investment Revival” and highlighted how technology and ICT infrastructure play a significant role in our societies and economies. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the need to strengthen digital infrastructure to better prepare societies for future crises and to make systems more resilient and sustainable, guaranteeing a better and more effective outcome. A shift to cloud, IoT, and better integration of AI into the public health response was also spotlighted, in addition to harnessing of other technologies for smart service delivery, which should be a key priority moving forward.

SAMENA Telecommunications Council Leaders’ Summit stressed on topics which are more societal in nature than business-focused, but are essential to industry dialogue. Attending speakers shed light on the impacts of collaborative efforts when deploying technology in the Middle East region to overcome digital transformation challenges. The Summit also explored how ICT stakeholders can work together with industry verticals to turn their vision into reality at the local and regional level.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges we are facing, governments, regulators, and operators across the globe have spared no effort to maintain social stability, protecting peoples’ livelihoods and helping the entire society fight against COVID-19. The applications of 5G will speed up enterprise digitalisation in the Middle East and greatly stimulate the economy. The Middle East in particular is already expected to become a reference in 5G commercialisation around the world, and together, we have ensured the normal utilisation of network services during the pandemic. Looking ahead, Huawei has the responsibility and confidence to work with operators, partners, and vertical industries to achieve 5G business success—promoting the development of the 5G ecosystem to help enterprises to improve their competitiveness,” said Ryan Ding, executive director of the board and president of Carrier Network Business Group at Huawei.

Summit highlights included a dedicated Huawei 5G Ecosystem Conference held for the third consecutive year under the theme “Unleash 5G potential, build a better world”. Participants reviewed 5G ecosystem cooperation in the Middle East, and how 5G paired with complementary technologies such as cloud, AI, and AI-driven autonomous and BVLOS commercial drone applications, can inspire new vertical industry applications. Today that ranges from improving SME competitiveness to the digitisation of oil & gas operations in the Middle East and globally, all of which boost economic potential by enhancing industrial processes and productivity.

With more economies becoming digital today, the Summit also explored business resilience strategies in a hyper-connected world. Andy Purdy, Chief Security Officer for Huawei USA, was one of the experts leading the discussion on what regulatory frameworks will be needed to help vertical industries as well as governments to leverage cloud environments for future efficiency.

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