The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) organized a special event to mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which comes this year under the slogan “Digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing”, with the participation of representatives from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UAE government entities, local and regional partners.
The event highlighted the role of the ICT in promoting the health of senior citizens and residents, and supporting members of society in general to maintain healthy life and achieve physical, emotional and financial independence, especially in older age. The event addressed the ICT’s role in building smarter cities and highlighted the UAE’s great support to its senior citizens, represented by providing and developing digital government services, to facilitate the completion of their transactions and services.
In his opening speech, Eng. Mohamed Jadah, Acting Director of Technology Development Affairs, said: “While we stand today on the dawn of a new era of great and unprecedented transformations, we realize more than ever that the future is an ally of those who bet on the ICT sector. The road to a bright future is influenced by telecom with its new generations and developed applications. It is the same path that humanity must take in order to accelerate its efforts to achieve sustainable development, prosperity and fruitful human interaction, but without all of that, as you know, there are challenges that we all have to consider. While the United Nations raises a noble slogan calling for us to leave no one behind, 3 billion people, or nearly 37% of the world’s population, are still deprived of the Internet.”
He added: “Senior citizens and residents, who are the center of attention this year, are at the heart of the social responsibility of all institutions working in the ICT sector. It is our duty to encourage the development of programs and launch initiatives that enable them to overcome the difficulties of this era, and it is our duty to enhance their ability to dealing with these programs to be more independent and confident in their lives.”
Engineer Jadah referred to the comprehensive strategic plans adopted by the UAE to achieve comprehensive and complete digital transformation in the coming years, by re-engineering government services and enhancing their efficiency to keep pace with customers’ needs and exceed their expectations, in line with the national priority to raise operational efficiency and ensure optimal utilization of resources through the use of modern digital technologies.
His Excellency Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the ITU, delivered a recorded speech on this occasion, in which he addressed the importance of ICT in the sustainability of economic and health systems, and the support it provides for people to live healthy in older age, stressing the need to achieve equal access to digital technologies.
The event included two interactive sessions that included extensive discussions between speakers, attendees and participants. The first session was titled “Digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing”, during which Eng. Khaled AlSheikh, Director of the Digital Future Department at Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), spoke about “TAMM Cares” initiative services such the (digital assistant) and (TAMM car).
In turn, The Director of Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) Seniors’ Happiness Centre, Dr Salwa Al Suwaidi highlighted the increase in the number of senior citizens in the coming years, as it is expected that one sixth of the world’s population will be over 65 years old in 2050, which necessitates all entities’ cooperating to develop services targeting this category.
The second session was held under the title “ICT supports healthy ageing, and helps people live better-quality lives for longer”, during which Mohammed Al-Sarraf, Director of Digital Sectors at Huawei, spoke about the role of modern technologies in achieving sustainable development goals and preserving natural resources. Noora Al-Mansoori, Director of Corporate Communications Department at du, also touched on the social responsibility of tech companies with regard to introducing and training the older group on how to deal with modern technologies and smart applications in order to make their lives easier, and stressed that smart home and machine learning technologies will have a prominent role in maintaining the integrity of this class.
Eng. Hassan Hussein from Etisalat spoke about the benefits and advantages that ICT provides to the elderly, the most important of which is continuous social communication through video and audio calls, in addition to the safety and security factors provided by these technologies.
Malath Khalil from Al-Mashreq Company for Technical Supplies also spoke about the role of ICT in the development of medical devices, which is positively reflected on the health services provided to all segments of society, especially the category of senior citizens and residents.
Sustainable development: Development that takes into account the social and environmental dimensions as well as the economic dimensions to leverage the available resources and meet the needs of individuals, while preserving the right of future generations.
Senior Citizens: Persons over the age of 60 who are citizens of the UAE.