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Walid Lahoud, the Head of Sales – MENA of Secure Land Communications at Airbus, speaks about his company’s participation at GITEX this year

Which products and solutions will you be showcasing at GITEX Technology Week?
GITEX will provide us a global platform to showcase our secure and reliable communications technologies and infrastructures currently being widely used by first responders, including our medical and police forces. This year, we will highlight the multimedia features of our Tactilon Agnet 500 and Tactilon Agnet 800 solutions.

Tactilon Agnet 500 facilitates efficient end-to-end and encrypted group communication. This reliable and secure push-to-talk device enables video calls and real-time location tracking, among other capabilities. On the other hand, Tactilon Agnet 800, which uses Tetra technology, is equipped with multimedia messaging and live streaming features that enrich communication between smartphone users and people who carry a Tetra radio.

What are your expectations from the event this year?
The event will enable us to not only highlight the innovative features of our solutions but also become part of a historic event that will take place live and in-person for the first time since restrictions have been imposed due to COVID-19. All precautionary measures are in place to keep exhibitors and visitors safe and secure. We will also do our part to ensure safe face-to-face interactions with everyone. Dubai is moving steadily and gradually towards bringing back vibrancy to the business sector and at Airbus, we are looking forward to a positive outcome of the event.

Do you hope for business relief from the pandemic based on your engagements at the event?
At SLC, as a critical communications solutions provider, our activities have not been slowed down during this pandemic. Nonetheless, despite unprecedented challenges, we still pursue our strategy and continue to seek new leads and partnerships in line with our business growth goals. We expect to achieve our objectives and more during our participation at GITEX given that it is one of the most prestigious and biggest technology events in the region.

What will be your theme of participation at GITEX?
We will highlight the importance of having secure and reliable communication mechanisms among teams, and at all times, especially during crises and emergencies. This is especially evident in today’s global health crisis in which our health authorities across the world need to collaborate more efficiently and coordinate together to send out urgent messages clearly and accurately at the right moment.

Efficient communication saves lives, properties, and resources, as well as strengthens emergency response strategies. Secure and reliable communication devices with multimedia features are at the core of effective and robust communication systems. We can illustrate this theme further through our solutions.

Do you plan to run any online engagements such as webinars in parallel to GITEX?
Our focus is to fully take advantage of the in-person organisation of GITEX this year to demonstrate how our solutions work. As such, we are planning to run some demos during the show instead of online engagements.

How is your company weathering the market effects of the pandemic?
Although we have not experienced the full impact of the pandemic, Airbus’ SLC program unit has been extending crucial support to public and private entities involved in the fight against COVID-19. From the start of this crisis, we have known that we need to step up our efforts to provide critical communication solutions to our healthcare personnel, police forces, and other front-liners as they continue to perform their duties to protect citizens around the world. In fact, we have deployed a team to extend all forms of around-the-clock support as government agencies continue to work to contain the virus.

What were the key learnings over the past couple of months and how do you plan to use those to make changes to your regional strategies?
Over the past couple of months, we have noticed the need to bridge the communication gap between organizations. Hybrid solutions with sophisticated multimedia capabilities are becoming more and more important to address critical communication needs, especially during emergencies and crises.

The pandemic has exposed the prevailing issues in terms of team coordination and collaboration, which can also be answered by hybrid solutions and we have to address collectively for a more efficient response. As such, we will further strengthen our partnership with local distributors in the region to reach more organizations across industries and aid them in reinforcing their communication system and infrastructure through resilient and reliable products and optimized solutions.

Any other info you would like to add?
SLC has a complete ecosystem of third party applications that are innovative and deliver new and better ways of working for the users. These applications are tailored for each organization and allow them to gain operational efficiency and team coordination and interoperability. For instance, the application “Guardian Covid” and Airbus-certified application were developed earlier this year by Epic Blue, Airbus’ partner and application developer, allowing health care workers to track their exposure time to a potential Covid case, as well as, ensuring the safety distance measures.

That means if two health workers get closer than two meters a notification is sent to them automatically. The control room also has an indoor tracking capability that can locate Covid cases and trace all the health workers who might have been in contact. Thus, allowing the control room to respond quickly and to take the necessary actions. Other examples include license plate identification for police forces, advanced administrative applications to ease administrative work, and other AI-enhanced technology.

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