Ali Bahlooq, General Manager for Esharah, during an interview at the Intersec 2019 taking place at DWTC on 20th January, 2019. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News Image Credit:

Dubai: Specialised communications provider Nedaa will roll out 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks for private mission-critical operations in Dubai by end of year, a top official has told Gulf News.

Nedaa provides mission-critical operations and private network services for Dubai Government entities.

Mansour Juma Bu Osaiba, CEO of Nedaa, said phases one and two of the rollout would cover 45 base stations each and, by the end of the year, “We will have about 140 base stations to cover the entire Dubai.”

He said 4G LTE was previously available for commercial use but not for mission-critical use.

“It is difficult to get the bandwidth required to run mission critical applications on commercial networks. So, it has to move to the private networks to get the required bandwidth,” he said.

“The standard for public safety was released by 3GPP, with improvements to some features every year. We are ready for 5G in terms of infrastructure, the network needs minor fine-tuning but we have not yet got the spectrum allocated from the TRA,” he said.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a global body that unites various standard development organisations and sets international telecoms standards.

Nedaa offers Tetra (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) for voice and broadband to government agencies, emergency services, police, fire departments, ambulance, defence, etc.

Bu Osaiba said that Nedaa is moving towards implementing internet of Things (IoT) in their networks in the fourth quarter of this year.

IoT refers to the growing network of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, which enables them to send and receive data over the internet. These devices can include clocks, smartwatches, cameras and home security devices.

“Dubai is at forefront of implementing smart transformation initiatives to enhance citizen experiences. We are showcasing a wide array of sensors, IoT and Machine to Machine (M2M) solutions to strengthen digitalised communications in the emirate,” he said.

Moreover, he said that the data collected from M2M, primarily used for service management applications, can be integrated with IoT devices to provide more streamlined services, intelligent systems and secure network communications that fully realise the competitive advantage for a smart city.

When asked about the security of IoT devices, he said: “When we designed our network, we designed it from a security perspective. Our network is private and not connected to external agencies. All the devices have to be pre-approved before getting into the network and security layer will be added on to the devices and to the network.”

Moreover, he said, Nedaa is studying the use of blockchain technology into its network as an additional layer of security measure.

“We are looking into where we can add blockchain — whether into the device or into the network,” he said.

Demand for IoT moving in a positive trend

There is growing demand for IoT devices from the individual side as well as from the institutions and the market is moving in a positive trend, an industry expert said.

Ali Bahlooq, general manager for Esharah Etisalat Security Solutions, a system integrator unit of Nedaa, said that they have solutions that cater to IoT while 4G and 5G are going to be an enabler.

Esharah is going to launch a shoe to track the movements of children and adults, and install a sensor on light bulbs to detect sunrise and sunset in a bid to diminish or increase the intensity of the light.

“The shoe is going to be made outside of the UAE and will be launched in the third quarter of this year. The solution is ready and the retail has to be through a government organisation,” he said.

Moreover, he said that there is also a proposition to have an IoT button or panic button for the elderly to have urgent medical attention.

— N. K. C