The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) organized the Innovation in Digital Transformation Conference, with participation of a wide range of experts and speakers, as part of TDRA's activities and programs during UAE Innovation Month 2022.

The virtual conference addressed technological developments and trends in telecommunications and digital transformation, highlighting the key role of innovation in the field of technology, and policies that stimulate the adoption of innovations in the government sector.

The conference opened with a speech delivered by His Excellency Mohammad Al Kitbi, TDRA’s Deputy Director General for Support Services Sector, in which he stressed the importance of the ICT sector in supporting innovation and development in various sectors, as well as TDRA's efforts to transform innovation into a culture and a lifestyle, saying: “Holding the conference during the UAE Innovation Month comes within the framework of our commitment to share views and discuss relevant topics as part of this annual event, which embodies the vision of our wise leadership towards establishing innovation as a culture of life and a method of work, where the UAE has made remarkable achievements in several areas related to innovation in government work and ICT sector. It’s all thanks to the vision of our wise leadership, which has always been a source of inspiration for the people of the UAE, and a catalyst for action and creative thinking.” 

H.E. Al Kitbi added: “We at TDRA realize the importance of fostering a culture of innovation in our various business models, driven by the massive changes across the world, including new and rapidly evolving technologies, requiring unprecedented ways of thinking. We are also constantly eager to be a key contributor to the UAE’s journey towards the future by taking part in the development of UAE's innovation system. As such, we always work in cooperation with all government entities, and strengthen our joint action with our network of partners from the private sector and international organizations in accordance with best standards and practices and based on our belief that human interaction is a fertile ground for the emergence of new ideas and innovative projects that add real value to human life.”

Al Kitbi stressed that TDRA is working to promote a culture of innovation in society by introducing many initiatives supporting young talents, students, employees, entrepreneurs and startups, with "UAE Hackathon” at the forefront of these initiatives being one of the biggest competitive events conducive of innovation in the country.

The conference discussed 4 main topics: the role of innovation in the telecommunications sector, accelerating innovation in the era of digital transformation, the role of blockchain technology in protecting intellectual property, and the successful digital transformation journey (leveraging the ICT infrastructure of the federal government). It also showcased successful digital innovation projects from Hackathon UAE.

Dr. Bilel Jamoussi, Chief of the Study Groups Department at the International Telecommunication Union, spoke during "The Role of Innovation in the Telecommunications Sector" session about the creative ecosystem, saying: “It is a system in which multiple and different entities and sectors work together and interdependently to achieve sustainable results, and it includes governments, civil societies, private sectors, universities, individual enterprises to name a few, where each of such parties cooperates with one another and works according to a specific approach to reach the desired goals. The elements of this system work together at local, regional or global levels within multiple sectors including the agricultural, health, educational, financial and many others to address emerging issues, while considering some of the important factors and constraints that may impede its functioning.”

Dr. Jamoussi indicated that digital transformation has become an important necessity for all sectors, which will improve people's lives and achieve growth and sustainable development, emphasizing that innovation is an integral part of the digital transformation process.

Dr. Jamoussi also spoke about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of smart sustainable cities, which aim to set evaluation standards for the contributions of ICTs in making cities smarter and more sustainable, with the aim of providing cities with the means to self-assess, and thus achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Currently, more than 50 cities around the world are implementing these indicators. He pointed out that Dubai leads the world in implementing ITU standards in sustainable smart cities, and establishing and consolidating the modern regulatory environment that supports the establishment and effective application of innovation practices to ensure qualitative development and sustainable improvement.

In the session "Accelerating the Innovation Process in the Age of Digital Transformation", Morad Qutqut, Chief Customer Innovation Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, reviewed the impact of digital transformation on society. Qutqut indicated that nowadays, people spend most of their time virtually, which opened the door to new types of services. He said: “These new digital services allowed us to collect more data about customers, and thus we were able to anticipate new requirements before they were requested, which will make our work more efficient and effective. In light of this transformation, we can notice today companies and entrepreneurs who followed the digital transformation plan and how this reflected on their businesses during the COVID-19 epidemic, as they were able to easily transform their businesses.”

Qutqut mentioned that there are four main pillars to the digital transformation process, which are; Speed, customer experience, providing new services, and the value of the resulting data, noting that the UAE has always been at the top of the list of the most innovative countries in the Arab region over the past several years, and it is used to encouraging innovation in all fields, and has also adopted many key strategies that promote innovation.

In the session “The Role of Blockchain Technology in the Protection of Intellectual Property”, Motasem Abu-Ghazaleh, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, spoke about the seven types of intellectual property, and the procedures currently in place globally to register intellectual property rights between countries, describing them as tiring and difficult because they are not well developed.

Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted the importance of using the “blockchain” technology in the processes of registering intellectual property rights between countries, noting that the UAE has great achievements in the field of “blockchain”, and it has many government achievements in the applications of this technology. He said: “The UAE has a prominent position globally in the use of “Blockchain”, thanks to the adoption of this technology in various sectors, as is the case in Emirates Airlines, DP World, Emirates NBD, and in the government sector through the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Dubai Digital Authority.”

Abu-Ghazaleh highlighted that the UAE has great potentials that enable it to establish the first system for registering intellectual property protection certificates in the region and the world based on "blockchain", noting that the world needs to develop work mechanisms between countries that depend on modern technologies, which saves time and effort.

Mohammed Al Khamis, Director Development Department at TDRA, reviewed during the "Successful Digital Transformation Journey" session, the Digital Government Plan aimed at establishing a 100% digital government.

Al Khamis summarized the UAE achievements in terms of digital transformation in the UAE since the establishment of the Union in 1971, and the beginning of modernization and development to facilitate people's lives and provide them with services around the clock.

Al Khamis reviewed the general framework of the Digital Government Plan, which is based on 6 priority pillars, each includes a number of initiatives that all serve the strategic goal towards a 100% digital government. The pillars include providing a world-class digital infrastructure, unified digital platforms, digital enablers, government integration systems, automating services, raising the level of digital capabilities and skills, the readiness of legislation to ensure a smooth and comprehensive digital transformation, and raising the efficiency of government work.

Al Khamis also highlighted the achievements of Digital Government through UAEPass; Which is the first digital national identity that allows users to access the services of local and federal government entities, as well as other service providers.

In his presentation, Al Khamis reviewed the Virtual Academy, which is a free training platform that provides training courses for government employees and community members, in order to develop capabilities, and support the realization of the UAE Digital Government vision. Al Khamis also reviewed the API First Guide, released by TDRA, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and the Dubai Digital Authority, and was circulated to the concerned authorities with the aim of implementing it in the next stage of the comprehensive digital transformation. API is the best way to connect the various service providers, and enable them to provide services to the customers around the clock, and from anywhere.

At the end of the conference, UAE Hackathon success stories were presented, where Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah talked about his success story in the smart city project through (Rased) App, which is an interactive smart system dedicated to the community in order to interact through community participation with the Abu Dhabi Municipality system in monitoring negative trends and behaviors. The system aims to automatically monitor violations and distortions and send reports to government entities to refer them to the competent authorities in order to achieve the targeted recovery rates and correct the issues for all facilities and components of the city.

Fatima Al Hammadi also presented her success story in winning first place in the UAE Hackathon 2020 through the "Smart Bus" project. The project idea consists in creating a smart professional bus that transports government employees from their homes to their workplace so that they can log in and start working from the bus in comfortable, efficient and productive conditions. This would help reducing traffic and parking space allocated for this category in the country, which constitutes a large part of the space that can be invested sustainably; such as construction, farms, factories, and many more. This bus also helps reducing carbon emissions significantly and contributes to achieving more sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities. Al Hammadi pointed to the role of the pandemic in transforming the idea into “beljwar” App that provides the advantage of renting spaces to work according to the sharing economy methodology.

The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) participate in a wide range of events and programs during the UAE Innovation Month 2022, including holding workshops for a number of government entities to promote a culture of innovation in the workplace and stimulate innovative ideas among employees based on emerging technological practices, in addition to the launch of version 5.0 of the "UAE Hackathon", which is one of the largest competitive events that encourage innovation in the UAE, and participating in discussion sessions and events held by national entities, institutions and the private sector.

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