Qualcomm Technologies

Qualcomm Technologies, Aramco to improve digitization in Saudi Arabia; improve 4G/5G networks

Technology company Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) has inked a deal with Saudi-based energy firm Aramco designed to improve the adoption rates of emerging technologies in the Gulf State.

The multi-year deal will see both firms collaborate on a robust blueprint for several technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing. The partnership will cover the development of both 4G and 5G networks to upgrade the present state of connectivity for the oil-rich country.

Keenly aware of the importance of connectivity, Qualcomm and Aramco will invest a significant amount in non-terrestrial networks (NTN) and 450 MHz cellular technology, which are touted as the building blocks of 6G.

“By utilizing the power of cellular technology, high performance computing and AI, we aim to elevate industrial IoT solutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Durga Malladi, a senior vice president at Qualcomm. “This includes the use of the 450MHz spectrum to provide ubiquitous and resilient coverage that will be necessary to connect the millions of intelligent edge devices poised to come online.”

A closer look at the arrangement reveals the intention to earmark a sizable chunk of funds toward the Internet of Things (IoT), with both entities eyeing the prospects of various use cases. For starters, the firms say increased IoT adoption in Saudi Arabia will be integral for supply chain management, predictive maintenance, asset tracking, and energy management.

Aside from connectivity and IoT, both firms have indicated a desire to invest in AI to improve productivity and complement the efforts of the national government. Qualcomm is expected to bring its wealth of experience in semiconductor manufacturing and software design, while Aramco will provide a testing ground for a range of AI products.

“We are keen to advance our collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies to drive digital transformation on a global scale,” said Nabil Al-Nuaim, senior vice president of digital and information technology at Aramco. “Together, we aim to set benchmarks in industrial IoT applications and AI, enhancing operational efficiencies and fostering sustainable growth across various industries worldwide.”

Aramco has been pursuing high-profile partnership deals with other technology firms, famously inking an agreement with Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) to establish an Open Ran (O-RAN) development center to improve wireless communications.

Seeking dominance in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its economy beyond oil, turning to emerging technologies to achieve its lofty ambitions. The Gulf State has significant investments in blockchain as it continues to attract high-profile investments in the ecosystem.

With Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in hot pursuit, Saudi Arabia is increasing the size of its bets in AI and quantum computing. The country has since rolled out a nationwide AI sensitization drive to accompany rapid innovation in the space as it braces to challenge Western dominance.

Watch: More blockchain, less ‘crypto’ in the Middle East

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