The Ease autonomous self-service store extends AI possibilities in some of etisalat by e&'s consumer-facing services. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Want to trade-in your smartphone without having to talk to anyone?

Then, try the new ‘Ease’ store and its AI-powered terminal trade-in machine, from etisalat by e&.

The UAE telecom-tech company is debuting the autonomous self-service store - and trade-in machine – at its Al Kifaf location in Dubai. In fact, this is the first such by a telecom service provider anywhere. And the Ease stores will be completely unmanned.

AI and technology takes care of all the customer needs, removing any need of a human interface in the transaction. What this does is go way beyond the self-checkout processes that major retailers have introduced in the UAE and extend it to other consumer requirements.

“Autonomous technologies has been present on our stand in Gitex every year,” said Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO. “The showcases have been about convenience, accessibility, personalisation, efficiency and - finally - a sustainable shopping experience.

“This year we have take a major step in this direction by launching our own AI autonomous store experience. This is a significant milestone in our journey of becoming a digital telco.” - Masood M. Sharif Image Credit: Supplied

On Sunday (October 15), the holding company e& Group announced its foray into EV charging networks in the UAE, as it extends its reach into new and aligned areas. All of which builds on its technological knowhow and investments.

“Ease stores leverages our technological capabilities to align with future customer needs to offer a unique shopping experience,” said Mahmood. “With access to all consumer products and services including mobile devices and accessories at their fingertips, the store incorporates AI, machine learning, sensors, smart gates, digital touch points, and autonomous device and trade-in machines.”

How the trade-in works

The trade-in is effected through exchanging e&’s ‘smiles’ points (the rewards program). And get the invoice for the new gadget the shopper wants. It’s as simple as that.

5G is making things happen

For etisalat by e&, the steady investments and expansion of its 5G operations are starting to show up in multiple ways. An obvious one is the take up rates for the high-speed networks from business and retail clients. But the new service add-ons show there is a lot more that 5G can drive, most notably the customer experience part of it.

“In the age of 5G, consumers today expect technology to enhance every moment of their lives,” the CEO said. “We have just done with that by making sure we have enriched our services to meet these varying demands of changing lifestyles.

“The smart living service today is first of a kind in the region that has integrated the latest smart home devices (by partnering Amazon). With the introduction of GPT chatbot in GoChat, this has revolutionised the way customers can stay in touch with loved ones.

5G ‘private networks’

“In 5G, we recently achieved a global industry milestone with the successful pilot deployment of mmWave over 10 kilometres,” he added. This sets up the ‘foundation for commercial 5G private networks and accelerating digital transformation journey for customers and businesses’.

“The step aimed at addressing the demand of consumers and enterprises to have a solution following the highest standards of data security and digitalisation over mobile network. And which also delivers large amounts of data reliably and securely.

“The solution demonstrates the ability of 5G networks to enable uplink heavy video and real-time data transfer scenarios over a specific geographical area, effectively paving the way toward the digital transformation of industries operating over vast areas.”

Going over and above delivering voice and data
“In our journey of transforming to a digital telco, the focus has been on moving beyond providing voice and data services to being a holistic digital-first provider.

With the changing dynamics of the telco landscape, it is imperative for telcos to also look at new areas to generate new revenue streams at the same time putting in maximum efforts to create a world where everyone has access to reliable connectivity, as this the foundation for economic growth, social development, and personal empowerment.

As we set ourselves for long-term growth, it was about focusing on most critical facets of the business, mainly continuous investments in infrastructure, develop new services to use 5G and other technologies to improve people’s lives, invest in sustainability initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the company’s operations and collaborate with the government entities to build the next generation of innovators”.

- Masood M. Sharif Mahmood of etisalat by e&