Dubai: The telecom industry can expect to see widespread enterprise usage of 5G in the Middle East by the end of 2020. But consumer adoption rates may not happen until 2025, according to Alaa Elshimy, managing director and vice-president of Huawei’s Enterprise Business Group Middle East.

Huawei has signed 12 contracts in the Middle East to provide 5G technology. He said the real driver for 5G will be the services that enterprises can provide to consumers.

“5G is not only for us to have the 5G phones and to have nice, fast video streaming and games,” he said. “This is part of the equation, but the smaller part of it. Health care, education, oil and gas, and smart grid application — that is where you will most of the application for 5G and that is where customers will be willing to pay for 5G connectivity.”

Safder Nazir, regional vice-president of Smart Cities and IoT, said the company is beginning to see customers ask for 5G in everything from robots, delivery, automobile technology, creating digital cities, and even hologram messaging while “on the go”.

New chip

The Ascent 310 AI chip, which was launched last year, is now fully integrated into all of Huawei’s products “without exception”. Elshimy said a number of use cases of the new technology are already available in the region, including smart power grids, where AI-based drones have been programmed to help identify cables that require maintenance.

“[The drone’s cameras] are already educated on the kind of faults and issues that might happen to the cable. So, the moment there is a fault or any problem or any intrusion or any issue, then the cameras will communicate only that issue to the control room,” he said.

The camera can identify 200 objects per frame. Elshimy said that such technology can save a company 50-60 per cent of its maintenance costs.

Another area where AI is beginning to be used in the region is security. The company is showcasing a robot at Gitex that is capable of facial recognization and recognise behaviours that might be related to a security risk, such as a person running away.