5G Will Transform Media, Says Etisalat’s Khalifa Al Shamsi

UAE telecom provider Etisalat says its 5G network is fully ready in the UAE and consumers will be able to get hands-on experience when new 5G-enabled smartphones are rolled out in the market.

“We are expecting new 5G-enabled devices by June 2019. That’s when consumers will get to experience the real 5G. We have already fully deployed the network,” said Khalifa Al Shamsi, Group Chief Corporate Strategy and Governance Officer, Etisalat.

Commenting on the role of technology in the media sector, Mr Al Shamsi cited the US elections as the best example of how presidents have used available technology to reach out to the public.

“Roosevelt used radio for his messaging, communicating with people directly. Kennedy used the TV. Obama was the first to use the social media platform,” he said adding that the leaders in the Arab World are at the forefront of using social media including Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has the largest number of followers and uses the medium to communicate directly with residents.

Mr Al Shamsi asserts that emerging technology could completely transform the way news is gathered and delivered to the audience.

“The evolution of mobile technology has also played a role in the way news is delivered. Mobile started off with voice services and then came messaging. The third generation used the internet and with the 4G came speed. Last year, we saw advancements in 5G and we started testing it in May 2018,” said Mr Al Shamsi, adding that 5G will enable news and media organizations to instantly broadcast content – rich multimedia content, in real time.

Media organizations can also use tools such as drones and autonomous vehicles that are powered by 5G to facilitate better reporting.

“Let’s just look at new technology like augmented reality or virtual reality. It is just a matter of time before news content is customized with these technologies. In the past, the hologram was just science fiction. Now it is for real and is being tested. The hologram could also result in an entirely different experience in the presentation of news,” he said, adding that the wheels of advancement will not stop.

This trend, according to him, will continue and media will evolve with new technology coming to the fore. Mr Al Shamsi was speaking at the recently concluded Arab Media Forum 2019.

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