Top telecommunications experts explore evolution of wireless technologies in Qatar and look to future

November 5, 2013 12:39 pm

In a new edition of its popular TECHtalks series, Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF R&D hosted Dr Amer I. El-Saigh, Head of Networks at Vodafone Qatar, to discuss the evolution and future of wireless technologies. He was joined by a panel of Qatar’s most accomplished telecommunications experts, academics and officials for a two hour seminar held in QSTP.

Condensing thirty years of technology development into a thirty minute presentation, Dr El-Saigh gave a high-level overview of the technical and industrial history of wireless technology and addressed how the advent of new wireless technologies is set to revolutionize the telecommunications sector in Qatar and around the world. From defining terms such as 3G and 4G to looking decades down the road at new wireless capabilities, devices and industry trends, Dr El-Saigh provided the audience with a comprehensive and fascinating overview of a high growth sector around the world.

Referring to Long Term Evolution or LTE, a high speed wireless data technology often discussed in reference to 4G mobile devices, Dr. El-Saigh said in no uncertain terms that, “LTE is the future. The whole universe will have LTE at some point in the future. LTE will fulfill its objectives and fulfill them very well.”

An authority in telecommunications sector, Dr El-Saigh has been instrumental in the development and roll out of technologies including GPRS, AMR, EDGE and 3G. He has also led various collaborative research initiatives with academic institutions in Qatar, including Texas A&M University (TAMUQ), where he was an adjunct associate Professor.

The talk approached the evolution of wireless technology by incorporating insights from the research and development, private sector and regulatory perspectives.

An expert panel session followed Dr El-Saigh’s presentation and featured a line-up of experts, including Dr Adnan Abu-Dayya, Executive Director (CEO), Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC). His expertise includes 10 years at AT&T Wireless in Seattle, USA, where he was involved in a range of product innovations & emerging technologies, systems engineering, and product realization. Professor Khalid Qaraqe, PhD, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, TAMUQ, also participated in the panel and has over 12 years of expertise in the telecommunications industry specializing in product development, design, deployments, testing and integration of networks. Additionally, Dr Pascal Dutru, Head of Strategy and Policy at ictQATAR, Qatar’s Telecom Regulatory Authority, joined the panel, covering the legislative and regulatory aspects of the telecommunications business.

An audience of industry practitioners, researchers and students engaged experts in a robust question and answer session, focusing largely on what the future held for the technology and for the industry. Panelists agreed that the future would be defined by the convergence of different industries utilizing wireless technology to offer enhanced services to customers and improve lives.

In Qatar, the ICT sector holds great potential for technology entrepreneurs, with a notable increase in local start-up ventures and an expanding ICT workforce. According to the Supreme Council of Information & Communication Technology’s (ictQatar) Annual Report for 2012, Qatar’s ICT Sector grew at an average rate of 17 percent a year from 2006 to 2011 and from QAR 12.8 billion to QAR 15.5 billion between 2010 and 2011 alone – a 21 percent increase. Forthcoming legislation on data privacy and other key regulatory issues is expected to create further opportunities for entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development in the sector.

Having brought top industry figures from Qatar’s health care, energy and transportation sectors to QSTP already this year, TECHtalks continue to be a sought-after forum for knowledge-transfer to technology focused entrepreneurs, SMEs and professionals in Qatar. It is one of several on-going QSTP programs supporting technology development, innovation and commercialization in Qatar.