MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

Abu Dhabi 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hamad Al Mansoori, Director General of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), on new trends of digital government, net neutrality, and the provision of smart services.

Hamad Al Mansoori
BIOGRAPHY
Apart from leading the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in the UAE, Hamad Al Mansoori is also Chairman of Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Agency and Deputy Chairman of the UAE Space Agency. He is also a member of the high-level Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Prior to that, he was Director General of UAE mGovernment and Deputy Director General for Information & eGovernment Sector. Throughout his career, Al Mansoori has held advisory positions with several government entities, such as Technical Advisor and Information Systems Advisor for the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation. He is also Chairman of the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology.

What are some of your latest technological projects?

TRA, in line with the UAE Vision 2021, is working continuously to facilitate new ICT technologies in the UAE for the happiness of its citizens. Our future enables students to make their career decisions at an early stage, and virtual reality takes them through exploration journeys of different professions needed in the UAE. The system also provides a gamified assessment experience to test students' skills and interests and provide them with recommended professions. Our vision is to boost the efficiency of our future manpower to drive the nation ahead. Moreover, we undertook a project to install a low power FM radio station at Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain to relay commentary to the People of Determination in real time through special headsets, an innovative project that was shortlisted at the UK Ideas competition.

What are your plans to make government services more efficient and accessible?

Our focus for the next period is on service integration and connectedness. We need to focus on quality and excellence to increase satisfaction and happiness. In this sense, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE's Vice President, has stressed the four directions we need to work on: quality, usage, satisfaction, and integration. In addition, we are exploring new trends in digital government, of which data exchange and analysis are key components. As such, we are developing a new approach, linking e-government services with new trends related to the fourth industrial revolution, such as artificial intelligence, IoT, big data, and so on.

What is the TRA's position on net neutrality and how will it impact the business community in Abu Dhabi?

TRA has always supported the notion of net neutrality and will continue to monitor the ongoing appropriateness of this position. In any case, TRA will need to review the potential impact of the recent change of position in the US. This is because the impact could be extensive given the US' position as the largest market for internet players.

What is your perspective on synergies between the telecommunication and media sectors in Abu Dhabi?

As media and the telecom sectors become increasingly interrelated, the synergies between the two sectors are an opportunity to enable capabilities and technologies to be captured and used in the best way possible. TRA works closely with all broadcasters and specialized media zones for the broadcasting and radio frequencies for the transmission and ancillary requirements. While enabling such synergies, TRA will continue to enforce the Telecommunications Law to protect consumers. Today, ICT has made it easy for everyone to own their media channel and make their voices heard. This indicates huge opportunities for the future of the media landscape. This is why our smart government initiative is focusing on eParticipation as a useful method to increase the role of the public in designing policies and services.

How does TRA work with private and public sector partners to further its own goals and develop the UAE's economy?

It is essential to consider the interests and needs of consumers and industry players—whether public or private—when regulating the sector. Thus, TRA works closely with various industry players, including telecommunications operators, technology developers, content providers, as well as other stakeholders. The industry has established its own group (UCMIG) to represent members' interests, and the TRA has established another open forum to include the sector in the development of regulations. This is particularly relevant when it comes to issues related to the development of technologies. The UAE National Agenda highlights the importance of infrastructure and aims for the UAE to be among the best in the world. Leading in telecommunications infrastructure will allow the UAE to become a forerunner in the provision of smart services.