Anchored by the world’s tallest building and world’s largest mall, Dubai is a major tourist, event and business destination that aims to become even smarter and improve the quality of life for citizens and visitors. As Paul Taylor points out in the above interview, WiFi is a key building block in realizing Dubai’s Vision 2021 plan for becoming a smart city. Taylor, Manager of Business Development & Wi-Fi Services for du, explains how du is enabling the 2021 vision by adding WiFi to their other telecom technologies, which include 4G and FTTP (Fiber to the Premise).
The challenge, as Taylor points out, is that most people associate WiFi with “free” service. He explains different ways they are beginning to monetize the carrier-class WiFi network they developed. Hyper-local advertising is one of the ways they plan on deriving revenue. He also indicates that there may be opportunities to derive revenue from the 45% of the WiFi users who are not their traditional “subscription” customers.
He points out that their network is more than a hotspot. It is integrated and that it is possible to stay connected (seamless hand-off), whether on the subway or on the beach. Speaking of beach, one of the very cool innovations found in Dubai are the solar-powered, WiFi hot spot umbrellas, where one can “surf” in the shade, while staying on the beach.