LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 MIDDLE EAST: Anne Bouverot, the director general of the GSMA, praised the development of mobile technology in the Arab States of the Middle East and North Africa, but said standardisation is vital to fully unleash the associated opportunities.
Bouverot noted that the Arab States are “one of the fastest growing regions” in terms of mobile adoption and migration to 3G and 4G technology.
Mobile already makes “a very significant contribution to the economy in the region” and is addressing social, economic and digital inclusion, according to the GSMA chief.
In the context of this development, Bouverot focused on two of the GSMA’s strategic priorities: connected living and personal data.
“Connected living is a fascinating opportunity in the M2M, IoT area,” Bouverot said, adding that mobile can play a “central role” in its emergence.
However, Bouverot noted that there are barriers that need to be overcome in order to unleash these opportunities. A lack of standardisation for example is limiting interoperability, causing fragmentation and reducing economics of scale.
One way in which the GSMA is looking to address the lack of standardisation is the Embedded SIM specification to ensure SIM cards in connected devices “can communicate with mobile networks in the best way possible”. The specification was officially launched today with support from several tier one operators.
Bouverot also touched on the theme of personal data: “We want individuals to be able to use mobile technology to authenticate themselves securely whenever they’re using digital services – whether they’re accessing services from a smartphone, a tablet or a PC.”
Mobile Connect, developed by the GSMA and its partners, aims to achieve this by allowing consumers to use their phone number and SIM-based mobile ID as a secure way to access digital services.
UAE-based operator group Etisalat in the last few days announced that it will roll out the solution across the majority of its territories.