Power of ICT to transform lives

While many sectors continue to count the cost of the global downturn, it is clear that that the ICT sector continues to march forward, helping drive the wider economy in the process.

Tags: CommunicationsEmirates Telecommunications CorporationEricssonInmarsatUnited Arab Emirates
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By  Roger Field Published  October 20, 2009

While many sectors continue to count the cost of the global downturn, it is clear that the ICT sector continues to march forward, helping drive the wider economy in the process.

From the latest 3G devices, to a new generation of video conferencing technology and satellite communications, the telecoms sector is empowering businesses and revolutionising the way people live.

The reason for this not only that telecommunications and IT is essential for business and everyday activities, but also because it has the power to improve peoples lives, as even a brief walk around the GULFCOMMS exhibition in Zabeel Hall will confirm.

For example, a new offering from Ericsson, which is being demonstrated at the Etisalat stand in Zabeel Hall, is one case in point. The technology allows a person's heart rate, lung function, blood oxygen level and even blood sugar level to be monitored remotely and wirelessly.

The person being monitored simply has to wear a special device around their wrist and a cap-like device on one finger, with the information gathered sent wirelessly to a device within their home, which then transits the information via the web to a central location for monitoring.

The system appears to have the capacity to create a sea change in the healthcare sector, which is currently under strain in many countries owing to aging populations and widespread endemic health problems.

Indeed, innovations such as these have the power to increase efficiency and save huge sums of money while also improving care.

Elsewhere at GULFCOMMS, companies such as video conferencing specialists Tandberg and Polycom are busy demonstrating how their technology can improve business collaboration and help companies cut down on expensive overseas trips.

This not only improves efficiency but also saves valuable downtime that would otherwise have been spent traveling, and also helps companies reduce their carbon footprints, and so help in the fight against climate change.

Meanwhile, companies such as satellite operator Inmarsat, which is busy demonstrating its BGAN X-Stream product at GULFCOMMS, are also having a dramatic effect on the way organizations, from aid agencies to broadcasters, operate.

The company's technology allows people in even the most remote areas of the world, untouched by terrestrial communications, to stay in touch with the rest of the world with on-demand streaming rates of no less than 384kbps.

For NGOs and broadcasters, this means staff in remote or disaster-struck areas are able to communicate important news to the rest of the world, while industries such as oil and gas, and agriculture also benefit hugely from being able to communicate with the outside world.

But while some of these larger companies may appear to gain the most attention at GITEX, it is also clear that many smaller companies, such as component suppliers, systems integrators and software providers also play a key role in the transformation of the sector - and together, the combined effort of all these companies is having an enormous impact on the lives of ordinary people in the region.

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