Huawei Innovation Day highlights GCC digital transformation

Huawei’s Innovation event on day one of GITEX Technology Week drew in technology leaders from across the region to highlight the increasing need for enterprises in the Middle East to digitally transform.

Edward Zhou, Huawei’s vice president of Global Public Affairs opened the proceedings. “The theme for this year is exploration,” he said. “And Huawei is committed to enabling the Middle East to reclaiming its historic reputation of being at the heart of exploration and innovation, and we will do this through the continued development of the region’s digital ecosystem.”

He noted that the region’s Joint Innovation Centres and Dubai’s OpenLab were crucial in Huawei maintaining this vision.

Li Xiangyu, vice president of Public Affairs and Communications for Huawei Middle East, reinforced this commitment from Huawei to drive the digital eco-system, by continuing to push for “active and open collaboration with local partners.”

Visiting from Bahrain was H.E. Dr Mohammed A. Al Amer, chairman of Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. He emphasised the need for governments to foster an environment of collaboration between organisations, and encourage the growth of SMEs in the region.

H.E. Al Amer also noted that government leaders in the region needed to invest in creating a “digitally-fluent” population, if digitisation efforts were to succeed. “Having a digitally-equipped infrastructure is no longer enough,” he said. “The people need to be given the opportunity to gain the skill set they need for this region to capitalise on digital transformation initiatives.”

Ugo Valenti, CEO of Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, praised the Middle East as a region prime to adopt digital strategies. “The vitality and commitment of the governments here are enabling us to pursue digitalisation at an exciting pace,” he said.

This was later confirmed by the findings of a Huawei and Deloitte white paper, which was launched at the event by Safder Nazir, Huawei Middle East’s vice president of Digital Industries, and Emmanuel Duro, partner and TMT leader for Deloitte and Touche Middle East. The paper found that while there is room for improvement in the GCC in terms of the national ICT index, the technology-dependent government visions of each country are spearheading the region’s digital journey.

The event concluded with a panel discussion with influential IT leaders from across the region.