Saudi Vision 2030 maps economic growth and national development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). It effectively opens doors to the world by promoting the Kingdom as the next big digital powerhouse. This is not just in the Arab and Islamic region but also the entire world.
Digital Transformation (DX) or digitization is a crucial factor of this vision and will significantly contribute to increasing business agility. It also boosts productivity, encouraging competitive and effective delivery of products, services and solutions for the economic sector.
So, Saudi Arabia is rightly seeking to become one of the top 15 nations adopting artificial intelligence for digital transformation.
Mohamed Abdelrehim, head of transformation, Nokia — Saudi Arabia, said, "Digital transformation is backbone of prosperity in the connected era. It will also help the Kingdom diversify its economy and create more job opportunities for its citizens.
"It will also ensure transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of organizations. In addition to paving way for long-term stability and economic independence. Digital transformation can unleash the country's full potential to be an economic powerhouse.
"This is why we at Nokia are committed to bringing our latest technology innovations to the Kingdom. Besides, powering the digital transformation."
The current forecasted ICT spending of the Kingdom in 2020 is around $37b; with an expected year-over-year (YOY) growth of 2.4% from 2019. Sectors such as mobility, outsourcing, cloud computing, hosting and data analytics will be growing. This is with a double digit CAGR from 11 to 19%, from 2019 to 2024.
"With the growth trends of Saudi; Nokia considers KSA as one of its global key markets and is proud to partnered with the Saudi government. This is also to work closely with the Ministry of Communication & Information Telecommunication (MCIT).
"In 2019, Nokia Networks and MCIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that supports investing and developing the ICT market in line with the 2030 vision. The MoU also addresses key segment priorities and focuses on identifying, developing, and the transfer of know-how," added Mohamed.
Under this MoU, 10 different programs were kicked off addressing the Kingdom's vision in becoming a leader into the new digital world. One such initiative is the establishment of a first-of-its-kind software R&D center across the Middle East and Africa for developing software as well as necessary capabilities and skills.
According to Analysis Mason, the global telecom software and services market in 2019 grew to $66.9bn; with Nokia's share coming in at approximately $4.5bn.
Nokia's software portfolio leads in such high growth areas as virtualization, digital infrastructure, network orchestration and automation, AI/machine learning, and cognitive analytics, hence Nokia is the best-in-class partner to work closely with MCIT. The company ranks as the top telecom software and services provider by market share.
"MCIT and Nokia, together with the Saudi Digital Academy, launched a campaign to recruit and train Saudi talent for the R&D center. KSA has a lot of young, talented population; 58.5% of the population is under the age of 30. We want to help them get equipped with right education tools for accelerating digital transformation in the country," he added.
"The aim of this center is not only developing software using local talents, but also serving as a high-tech repair center for Nokia base stations for mobile networks."
Nokia is rolling out 5G base stations for all three communication service providers across key strategic areas. Additionally, Nokia is working closely with its global partners to introduce global experiences on how to introduce and monetize 5G capabilities via distributive business models, unlocking the 5G capabilities toward verticals in the enterprise segment in Saudi Arabia.
"Nokia is working closely with key MCIT bodies to provide its global vision for Future X networks, developed by Nokia's R&D consulting arm Bell Labs."
In addition to this, Nokia is sharing its global experiences with Saudi Arabia, as one of the key European and Finnish leaders in digitalization and cooperating with Business Finland to bring the Finnish innovation in digitization across all sectors such as industrial automation, health, IoT, mining, energy and mission-critical use cases.
This will also help empower the society and the business sector to accelerate the development towards a digitized economy.
A digital ecosystem is necessary for digital transformation to happen smoothly. It also involves integrating new technologies among trading partners, suppliers, customers, applications, and third-party service providers to continually grow a business.
A pressing issue in the digital transformation process are cyber-security attacks. Nokia is working closely with its partners in Saudi Arabia to build customized software security solutions. This is under the security dome initiative and address network security challenges.
KSA integrated the digitization process through three executive plans to meet five-year goals. The third, and last is currently in effect from 2019 to 2022.
Having laid out a strong blueprint with its digital transformation program; the Kingdom aims to build a digital government, society, and economy. Besides, adopting the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is likely to generate more than $260bn of opportunity for KSA.
To be able to execute such an ambitious plan; one needs to have a clear vision with a concrete blueprint and experienced partners. This is to ensure that the right technologies are implemented.
"We at Nokia are currently supporting the industry to deploy 5G technology and use cases.
"At the same time, our R&D team is already working on essential technology components and solutions needed for the 2030 wireless era and seeking for major scientific breakthroughs in the interrelated domains of wireless connectivity, device and circuit technologies, distributed intelligent computing. In addition to novel applications and services that augment the human intelligence and boost productivity," Mohamed said, emphasizing Nokia's constant, intensive innovation efforts to further accelerate digital transformation across the world including in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.