Dubai – MENA Herald: Huawei 1st Innovation Day in the Middle East, a conference organized on the sidelines of GITEX 2016, saw participation of key decision makers from the local, regional and international ICT and enterprise organizations who came together to discuss how ICT is shaping the future of the region.

Under the theme “Leading New ICT – Shape the Future”, industry leaders discussed the role of ICT innovation in driving the digital transformation agenda, supporting the development of key sectors and contributing to the achievement of national initiatives and visions across the region.

The event kicked off with a welcome address by David Harmon, Vice-President of Global Public Affairs at Huawei, in which he praised GCC governments for setting a clear priority to encourage an entrepreneurial society that helps drive GDP growth, job prosperity and innovative services that solve everyday problems for their citizens.

Ahmed Al Ansari, Acting CEO of Dubai South said: “It is a pleasure to be part of Huawei’s Innovation Day at GITEX, an exciting and relevant platform to showcase Dubai’s outstanding work at the forefront of technological innovation. Dubai continues to pioneer advanced, cutting-edge technologies in the Middle East and one of our government’s most ambitious initiatives is the Smart City project, which sees technology only as an enabler, with the principal goal remaining the happiness of the city’s citizens, residents and visitors. At Dubai South we are pioneering an ambitious smart city transformation guided by people’s happiness, we are steadily reshaping the way services are structured to meet the needs of the customer and enable businesses to grow. We are creating a new blueprint for smart cities around the world.”

The event included a panel discussion titled ‘Leading New ICT – Shape the Future’, led by Roland Sladek, Vice President of International Media Affairs at Huawei, and included a number of leaders from across the spectrum of the ICT industry, from government entities, operators, channels, partners and academia.

Innovation Day panelists included visionaries and global thought leaders including Ferhad Patel, director of the Reseller Channel Organization for Asia Pacific and Japan at Intel Corporation; Marwan Abdulla Bin Dalmook ,Senior Vice President, Managed Services Operations of Smart City and Smart Government Initiative Lead at du; Fahem Al Nuaimi, CEO, Ankabut; Eric Woods, Research director at Navigant Research; Dr. Anas Najdawi, Chair of e-Business program, Canadian University of Dubai; Safder Nazir, Regional VP, Smart Cities at Huawei; Ahmed Al Ansari, Acting CEO at Dubai South; and Xiao Peng, CEO of Pegasus.

Huawei ME Innovation Day also saw the launch of Huawei’s Smart City Index, which was developed in collaboration with Navigant Research and provided an assessment on the state of smart readiness across Gulf States. The study looked at ICT infrastructure in major cities and evaluated their readiness for the next level of smart city adoption.

“Innovation has played a key role in Huawei’s success and expansion over the last 30 years. The company has invested around $30 billion just in the last ten years on research and development, and has launched 16 R&D centers worldwide along with 36 joint innovation centers,” said Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East. “Innovation is a fundamental element in today’s intelligent revolution and a key enabler for ICT development. Innovation Day is a reflection of Huawei’s deep commitment to collaborate closely with all players from across the industry and to build an ecosystem that brings closer to a better connected world.”

Spacelee, VP of Public Relations at Huawei Middle East, delivered a speech on the increasing focus by regional governments in developing smart city initiatives and demonstrated how intelligent innovation is changing industries, skillsets and traditional ways of doing things. Governments are looking to ICT innovation to create more efficient services, provide convenience and ultimately ensure the safety and happiness of their people.