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Exclusive: Osman Sultan on the Future of Connectivity

Osman Sultan, CEO, EITC (du), shared his views on the transformation enveloping the Middle East; the need to stay innovative; and the future of connectivity.

"The pace of change is such that sometimes we do not have the time to adapt to this. So, we're living this as 'disruptions'" "Everything we touch will be able to sense, and send data. Once aggregated, it becomes information. Then it becomes 'smart'." "It's fundamental that we bring all the stakeholders together, that we establish the headlines of all these new conversations"

"This world never ceased to transform, but the pace of changes and disruptions is such that sometimes we do not have the time to adapt to this. So, we're living this as 'disruptions'. In addition to this, it just happened that we live in a region where these transformations induced by technology are empowering such new behaviors, enabling such changes on top of leadership that has taken initiative – you see several countries, and the UAE has been at the forefront of that, but other countries in the GCC, now – are going into this huge transformation. So, this combination is creating this perfect storm from a positive point of view," said Osman Sultan, CEO, EITC (du), while speaking exclusively to AMEinfo about transformation enveloping the Middle East region, on the sidelines of the Diversity Council MENA launch in Dubai.

The the CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company also shared his insights on the future of connectivity, breaking down the buzz words such as Internet of Things, machine-to-machine, cloud, 5G, Big Data, Blockchain, and AI, that are floating around the industry. "Everything around us is going to be sensing. Everything we touch is going to be able to sense, and to send data. From things that we are wearing, or even things that are injected in our body that could have extremely helpful use in medical applications and our well-being; to everything that we touch in our home – the fridge, the window, the door; to things that we have in the streets – the streetlights etc. — imagine everything sensing. We're talking hundreds of millions of these senses. This is the Internet of Things; this is even machine-to-machine because machines will be talking to other machines, not necessarily sending this to humans. Now once everything is sensing, everything is connected. Here you have things like 5G. Once it is collected, it is aggregated – here you have the Big Data. Here you have blockchain – if you have a distributed architecture. Once your data is aggregated, your data becomes information. And then everything becomes "smart". You add intelligence to your data that you collected. Here you have data analytics – the real meaning of having Big Data. Here you can even have an extra layer of intelligence capabilities through Artificial Intelligence – the ability to predict etc. So, the combination of these – that ecosystem – is making all of these things fundamental," he said.

Speaking about the necessity to stay innovative and adapt, Osman Sultan added, "Generally speaking, every time there has been disruptions induced by technology – from the industrial revolution – societies, humankind adapt. Maybe, the fact that, as I mentioned previously, that the changes and disruptions are so rapid; maybe, it will be difficult to adapt at the same pace. So, it's fundamental that we bring all the stakeholders together, we establish the headlines of all these new conversations – and I'm not sure we have all the headlines lined up, we have all the questions, we have all the framing that has been done – in these conversations between technology, economy and society. So, we create this platform for conversations – and you need to have international organizations; you need to have decision makers; you need to have policy makers around that; you need to have industrial players; you need to have the young men and women who are you know making all these changes and disruptions theirs and coming with ideas and all these new 'experience-applications' that are changing our lives — you need to involve them. You need to bring them all together."