- Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai office, says they are talking to “strategic partners and the telecommunication industry” to ultimately lift the technology restrictions
- Talks explore how the use of technology can bring greater economic benefits
- Smart Dubai is also rolling out Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects
- It is also implementating several blockchain products, and a paperless strategy
Dubai: Talks are on to explore lifting restrictions on some voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype, Tango, Facetime and Viber in Dubai, according to a senior official.
Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said her office is talking to “strategic partners and the telecommunication industry” to ultimately lift the technology restrictions, with a view to reap greater economic benefits.
“When it comes to telecommunications, we are working very closely with our strategic partners and the telecommunication industry to understand with them how we can lift these kind of restrictions to boost our economy more,” Bin Bishr said in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of AI (Artificial Intelligence) Everything Summit in Dubai.
The demand for cheaper, better telecommunications services is on the rise.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) currently restricts the usage of many applications of VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) in the UAE, such as Skype, Tango, Face time and Viber.
Botim and C’me are the only two VoIP apps authorised in the UAE.
Telecommunications services aren’t the agency's only remit, though.
Smart Dubai office, which was established nearly three years and a half, continues to spread the digital concept on different services and offering more facilities to the business community, she said.
The most recent is targeting the banking systems.
“Today, we are working very closely with the banking system to benefit from the UAE pass... They have been waiting for ages for this,” said Bin Bishr, who has more than 20 years of experience in information and communication technology (ICT).
The UAE Pass is an authentication app, which allows users to securely sign documents digitally via smartphones and other devices. It allows banks to accurately and securely import a client’s personal data into the bank’s IT systems.
Today we are working very closely with the banking system to benefit from the UAE pass. ... They have been waiting for ages for this.
She said some of the recent successes of Smart Dubai include its Artificial Intelligence projects, the implementation of several blockchain products, the introduction of a paperless strategy, and many legislative policies for governing and planning a smart city, she said.
“Today, just by opening the government data, this by itself gives the private sector an insight [into the] position of Dubai when it comes to economy, [and] supporting the business sector by exporting some of their products and services to be implemented across the city.”
She said Smart Dubai works very closely with the private sector by helping them analyse data or even developing new products from this data, such as in retail, by allowing retailers to share their data without compromising it or expose it to the competition and to improve their services. “Decision makers in these businesses will surely benefit,” she said.
Smart Dubai has been collaborating with many partners who “would add value to our strategy and who believe in collaboration,” she said.
Among the strategic partners currently working with Smart Dubai to develop the city’s digital backbone are “IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, with ESRI, you name them, all the big players who already have (regional) headquarters here in Dubai. We work very closely with them.”
At the same time, Smart Dubai is opening its hands to share its experience on both international platforms, such as World Economic Forum (WEF), and with individual governments.
“We are working very closely with Indian and Chinese governments to share with them our expertise when it comes to designing a happy smart city,” she said.