Orange and Huawei seek platform opportunity in Saudi Arabia 

For many, the perceived image of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 would be associated with the futuristic NEOM megacity project, totally reimagining not only a city, but the country. For any of this to be realised, however, Saudi Arabia’s comms infrastructure and technological advancement has to be reimagined, and major steps in this regard have been made by Orange Business and Huawei, with the former deploying its Smart City Platform to optimise user experience and the latter launching cloud services in the country. 

With its deployment, the enterprise division of telco Orange said citizens living and working in the prime location of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in the city of Riyadh would benefit from its elevation to the next level of smart city that will optimise city operations – making them better, faster and safer.

Orange Business has been involved in large-scale, complex smart city projects in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East for more than 10 years. It is currently engaged in developments spanning Egypt and the Arabian Gulf states, and through the SMART Africa initiative to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development across the continent. 

Considered one of the world’s most sustainable business districts, KAFD aims to create a high-quality urban environment and lifestyle for businesses, residents and visitors in line with Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program and its objectives of enhancing the liveability and competitiveness of the kingdom’s cities. 

The Orange Business Smart City Platform is designed to enable the KAFD to optimise data and advance its smart city experience using new technologies. The deployment will see Orange Business design, build and run a new end-to-end platform, integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics into existing KAFD digital infrastructure. Orange Business will also provide a range of Digital Master Systems Integration services and orchestrate its partner ecosystem by working alongside company experts on systems integration and new use cases. 

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The smart city systems are compatible with a range of technologies, and cover big data, data management, descriptive, predictive and prescriptive data analytics, and governance. AI-related use cases will include geolocation-based sentiment analysis of social media, analysing, collating and sharing contextual data in areas ranging from water supply to traffic situation awareness, and energy optimisation across commercial office buildings. Orange Business assured that by integrating a digital twin with the Smart City Platform, architects and engineers will be able to analyse real-time data to optimise building design. 

“The increasing wave of urbanisation across the world is set to uncover a US$517bn market for smart city solutions with an annual growth rate of 25%, a fact that plays into KAFD’s objectives of building a future-proof and business-friendly hub in Riyadh,” said Gautam Sashittal, CEO of King Abdullah Financial District Development and Management Company (KAFD DMC). “A major step in that direction, our partnership with Orange Business will further strengthen our drive to become a global pioneer in smart urban development.” 

Going live immediately, the launch of the Huawei Cloud Riyadh Region is described by the comms tech giant as an achievement underscoring the cloud business’s “unwavering” dedication to supporting Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, aligned with the nation’s technological advancement, leadership and innovation goals. In addition to the new Riyadh region helping to promote digital-led economic growth in the country, the Saudi Arabia region will be Huawei Cloud’s focus in serving the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

Through a 3AZ (availability zone) architecture, the new region is described as being built to provide reliable, secure and sustainable cloud services. It will offer full-stack cloud services, including infrastructure, databases, containers, big data and AI services to meet the requirements of various industries. 

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Huawei Saudi Arabia was founded in 2002 and has played a role in the digital transformation in Saudi Arabia. Over the course of 19 years, Huawei has collaborated with regional communication service providers (CSPs) to provide network assurance for the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia without incident and supported the roll-out of 5G in the kingdom. 

Commenting on what he believes the new region can bring, H.E. Eng. Haitham bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ohali, vice-minister at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in Saudi Arabia, remarked: “Huawei is a proud partner in our country’s technological progress, having worked with the ministry, service providers, enterprises and universities in various collective efforts towards digital transformation. We look forward to the transformative impact the Huawei Cloud Riyadh Region will have on our digital ecosystem, creating new avenues for innovation and growth.”

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