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UAE High-Tech Oasis: From Real Time Communications to Mars Satellites

May 07, 2015

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a federation of seven kingdoms, possess the fourth-largest oil reserves in the world. However, the country is working to make a name for itself in technology, including telecommunications and a just-announced effort to launch a Mars probe.

For UAE residents broadband is not the "Internet of Things" but the "Internet of Life," says a recent post on Emirates 24-7. Statistics indicate the country had 9.2 million users at the end of June 2014, translating to 95.7 percent of the population being online, the second highest percentage after Bahrain, while the UAE government is the second highest user of Internet in the world after Singapore. 

There's plenty of opportunity in the UAE as well.  Business IT spending in the country was predicted to run in the neighborhood of $4.6 billion last year, according to IDC figures, as local governments continued to spend on upgrading infrastructure.   Over a five year period from 2013 to 2017, IDC expects total UAE IT spending to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent, totaling up to $8.06 billion in 2017.

The Real Time Communications 2015 conference in Dubai taking place this week, sponsored by Fleming Gulf, and with GENBAND's Kandy as a strategic partner, is examining applications of RTC to energy and utilities, government services, banking, health care, digital business, and --- of course -- applications to oil and gas industries.

Digital health technologies are being called a "game changer" for the country, with a number of smartphone apps being rolled out in Dubai in the weeks to come. Anyone will be able to access their own medical records and check on doctor appointments as a part of a larger Smart Government initiative to move to a paperless environment.  "Muscle car" ambulances are loaded up with the latest technology, including solar panels to power onboard diagnostic equipment capable of passing on information directly to hospital doctor.  

Even the mundane task of health inspections is being digitized with a smart phone app, combining digital signatures, the ability to capture evidence with images and video, and QR code scanning to speed up the process.  Violations are immediately put on line with fines issued on-the-spot.

via Shutterstock

Real time communication is bound to play a key role in the Emirates Mars Mission probe.  The Hope prove is expected to be launched in July 2020 with an arrival in 2021 as the UAE celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain.  Its mission is to gather data to build a global picture of the Martian atmosphere. The satellite will be built and managed by an all-UAE team, involving the country's universities and research institutions, leveraging it to build up space and science expertise and provide a "catalyst" for a new generation of Arab scientists and engineers.

Data gathered by Hope will be shared freely with 200 universities and research institutions around the world, giving the project global impact.  RTC will provide the means for the UAE Space Agency to distribute information and discuss findings via virtual conferences with the country's schools and the world's research community.   NASA and SpaceX, both with big Mars plans, are likely to want a front row seat to Hope's data.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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