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The double-edged sword of being a global hub

Being a global hub leaves the UAE vulnerable to cyber attack – it needs to cultivate world-class expertise at home to shield against this threat

It’s estimated that the UAE is the target of as much as 5% of cyber attacks in the world yet the nation’s population accounts for just 0.08% of the global total.  What accounts for such a disparity?

This is an exciting time, but this very sophistication provides further vulnerability to cyber attack by increasing the attack surface available to threat actors

Despite the domestic stability of the UAE, it is situated in a troubled Middle East afflicted by war, terrorism and political tension.  While geography provides part of the explanation, when coupled with the UAE’s remarkable economic transformation into a global node for finance and trade, the country becomes a prime target for cyber attacks.

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Transforming into a digital lifestyle provider

To continue its market success, Zain Group is undergoing a business transformation and expanding into new verticals through partnerships and joint ventures. The telco aims to become a leading digital lifestyle provider and create lasting value for society, delivering positive results for shareholders.

In December 2017, Zain announced a deal with Cisco to future-ready its network architecture to meet the evolving demands of customers

In pursuit of this ambition, Zain has revisited its strategy to have a more concise plan and direction that is centred on “solidifying fundamentals”, “differentiation” and “diversifying revenues”.  The strategy will revolve around six transformational initiatives launched in 2014 to adapt to ongoing challenges. These areas are: customer experience; operational effectiveness; value management; B2B; Digital Frontier and Innovation; and talent development.

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Remaining focused on the exposition rather than the exposure

Expo 2020 is now just two years away from being hosted in Dubai, under the main banner of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, and with sub-themes around Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity. These are highly relevant and emotive topics of discussion and exchange, and early indications are that the Middle East debut of this high-profile international trade show will be a rousing success.

End-to-end cyber resilience needs to be the goal, allowing systems to work unfettered, and is the final frontier in the implementation of successful and sustainable cyber security resilience

Investment in infrastructure and facilities in preparation for a successful expo continue to be well-documented – from the growth in hotel rooms and extension of public transport networks, to the site itself being prepared to comfortably absorb the anticipated 25 million plus visits.

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Smart cities for telcos: Mere utopia or actual business case?

Let there be no doubt – the future is here. The desire to improve liveability in cities by focusing on citizen experience is a key priority for governments and is leading to a race to build smart cities everywhere. Yet, the concept of a smart city is not always clear. This lack of clarity does not come from weaknesses in the available definitions, but rather from the scope and scale of the concept itself, which is far-reaching and not fully grasped yet. Indeed, operators, regulators and other stakeholders are still in the process of figuring out how to leverage, oversee, mitigate or monetise the different opportunities and challenges associated with smart cities. Adel Belcaid web

Adel Belcaid is a Principal in the Communications, Media, and Technology Practice at A.T. Kearney Middle East

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Keeping your enemies close: Telco partnerships with mobile IMs

By Marc Van den Broucque and Feroz Khan

Instant messaging (IM) applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Line have had a turbulent relationship with telecom operators and are widely blamed for the decline in operators’ revenue over recent years. However, recent trends show an increase in partnerships between the two, which begs the question, why are telecom operators now choosing to embrace their former enemies?Marc Van den Broucque

Marc Van den Broucque is a director in Delta Partners’ Corporate Finance business in Dubai

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