Ciena study explores how sustainability, connected industries, and always-on connectivity are driving the digital landscape in the two GCC countries

Research by Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has found that more than half of the adults in the UAE (54%) and KSA (57%) believe the future of the internet will be driven by our desire to become more energy efficient. An overwhelming majority (94% in each of the two countries) is considering doing more activities virtually to reduce their carbon footprint. Among the new initiatives, working remotely is the most popular— 52% in the KSA and 42% in the UAE. When it comes to other categories like healthcare appointments or attending meetings or conferences virtually, these countries score over the global average.

New technologies, including IoT and 5G, have the potential to increase energy efficiency and the research shows the two GCC countries are ready to embrace more connected devices. While IoT and smart devices are contributing to a cleaner and greener planet, over 90% of respondents in the KSA and the UAE see the benefits they are set to bring, with convenience and easier lifestyle, and improved efficiency cited amongst the top.

Azz-Eddine Mansouri, General Manager at Ciena Middle East, said: “The UAE and KSA are ahead of the curve in adopting new technologies such as 5G and connected devices. Sustainability goals and ecological concerns drive internet user behaviour in the Middle East. There is a deep desire to create an energy-efficient world through smart devices, connected industries, and new applications. This is underpinned by the local governments’ sustainability agendas as part of the UAE’s Vision 2021 and KSA’s Vision 2030.”

Energy-efficient networks

With sustainability and renewables top of mind for businesses and consumers alike, energy consumption is becoming an even more important consideration in the 5G era. 5G has the potential to dramatically increase data traffic and, therefore infrastructure required to handle it, which could result in a two- to three-fold increase in energy consumption, according to a GSMA Energy Efficiency Report. Add to this the growing number of people using smart home systems and consumption control devices (46% in the KSA and 40% in the UAE), and it is easy to see how these market dynamics are placing new demands on metro and edge networks. There is a clear need to evolve the network to make it more efficient and reduce energy consumption.

5G Expectations

To gain better network performance and speed, three-fourths of adults in both the countries confirmed they are planning to upgrade their internet within the next 24 months. In fact, a whopping 85% in the KSA and 74% in the UAE believe they will have better access to the internet when 5G is widely available.

Home has become the Office and School Center

As the home has now become the remote office for many, and at times a school, the reliance on the network is more crucial than ever. Over a third of those surveyed say they will work remotely in some form after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, and 41% in KSA and 35% in the UAE feel improved efficiency will be one of the key benefits to derive from connected devices. The desire for reliable connectivity, ultra-low latency, and improved speeds underscores the need for networks that can handle the growing pressures of new applications, services, and tools.

Device Preference and staying in touch with loved ones

The need for constant connectivity is reflected in the way we are using the internet, with mobile phones handily outranking laptops and desktops as the most-used device, as cited by 61% of respondents in the KSA and 51% in the UAE.

Respondents also state that the most valuable part of the internet is that it keeps them connected with friends and family (through social media, virtual calls etc.) (34%)), followed by 24/7 access to information (nearly 30%).

“Rethinking our approach to the way networks are built and managed is key to supporting the growing digital landscape,” said Mansouri. “The pandemic has ushered in a decisive shift in the user behaviour, with a majority of UAE and KSA employees keen to work remotely even after the pandemic subsides. As they find themselves spending more time at home with their connected devices, they will continue to discover and seek new ways in which digitalization can ease their lives. In this new era, network providers will have to keep pace by getting closer to the end users and swiftly delivering an exceptional customer experience.”

Notes to Editors
The research, which surveyed over 1,000 adults in UAE & KSA on their thoughts and opinions around internet consumption and future trends, was conducted by Censuswide in April 2021.

About Ciena
Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) is a global leader in networking systems, services, and software. We build the most adaptive networks in the industry, enabling customers to anticipate and meet ever-increasing digital demands. For three-plus decades, Ciena has brought our humanity to our relentless pursuit of innovation. Prioritizing collaborative relationships with our customers, partners, and communities, we create flexible, open, and sustainable networks that better serve all users—today and into the future. For updates on Ciena, follow us on LinkedInTwitter, the Ciena Insights blog, or visit

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