Posted on April 18, 2016

More than 600 people from around the world attended the annual IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC16) held in Doha 3-6 April under the patronage of H.E. Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications.

Texas A&M University at Qatar, Qatar University and Hamad bin Khalifa University co-hosted the conference, which was sponsored by Ooredoo, National Instruments, Qatar Petrochemical Co. (QAPCO), Qatar National Research Fund and the U.S. Office of Naval Research Global. High-level representatives from each of the organizing universities and sponsoring companies attended the conference. Ooredoo’s Chief Executive Officer, Waleed Al Sayed, who delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony, used the event to outline the company’s vision to become the leading integrated ICT provider in Qatar and its ongoing work to prepare for cutting-edge services like 5G in the country.

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Talking about the conference, Waleed Al Sayed commented: “Being a part of events like this give Ooredoo the chance to open a dialogue about the future of Qatar’s communications with international experts. Knowledge transfer is a key part of technological advancement, and I’m hopeful that WCNC16 has laid the foundations for key partnerships in the near future.” This is the first time the conference was held in the Middle East and North Africa region. A conference of the IEEE Communications Society, IEEE WCNC is the world’s premier wireless event that brings together industry professionals, academics and individuals from government agencies and other institutions to exchange information and ideas on the advancement of wireless communications and networking technologies.

Commenting on the 2016 IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, Dr. Mohammed Yousef Al-Mulla, MD&CEO of QAPCO, stated, "This event served as a valuable platform to advance the development of technology in Qatar, and has contributed to driving growth and innovation in our industry. Bringing together high level academics, researchers and industry experts strengthens industry-academia collaboration, leading to the adoption of innovative solutions aimed at generating greater efficiencies."

The conference featured a comprehensive technical program offering numerous technical sessions with papers showcasing the latest technologies, applications and services. In addition, the conference program included workshops, tutorials, keynote talks from industrial leaders and renowned academics, panel discussions, an exhibition, and business and industrial forums.

Dr. AbdulnasserAl-Ansari, deputy executive director of QNRF, stated, "This conference represents the spirit of technological research that we support and encourage at the Qatar National Research Fund, which is why we are pleased to sponsor this event. With its inclusion of key industry and academic players, WCNC 2016 provided a great platform for collaboration and networking, which is essential to nurturing Qatar’s research environment through knowledge and technological transfer."

Dr. Munir Tag, director of ICT at QNRF, highlighted that WCNC 2016 addressed key challenges in present and future wireless communications and networks where the penetration of mobile broadband services and applications is expected to soar in the coming years. He stated that the scope of the conference is aligned with the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS); where wireless communications and networks represent 26 percent of the projects funded by QNRF in ICT under the National Priorities Research Experience Program (NPRP). In addition to conference sessions, the conference panels exposed the participants to key opportunities and challenges in areas such as research funding, academic and industrial competitiveness, Internet of Things and Cybersecurity in which QNRF has participated.

About 550 technical papers were presented at the conference, given by speakers coming from more than 30 countries. Keynote talks were given by a lineup of worldwide authorities and distinguished speakers, including Dr. Reinaldo Valenzuela, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff and director of the Wireless Communications Research Department at Bell Laboratories; Dr. Mostafa Ammar, Regents' Professor in the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and Dr. Gerhard Fettweis, the Vodafone Chair Professor at TU Dresden in Germany.

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The first day of the conference featured tutorials and workshops given by experts in wireless communications. James Kimery, director of RF Research and SDR Marketing at National Instruments, said, “IEEE Communications Society puts together premier events that bring leading researchers from industry and universities together in one place. The race to 5G is on, and it’s incredible to see how research efforts from around the world will transform the future of wireless communications.”

The IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) is a diverse group of global industry professionals with a common interest in advancing all communications technologies. With more than 8,800 members, IEEE ComSoc has become the premier international forum for the exchange of ideas on communications technologies and information networking. Its members stay on top of the world of communications technology by accessing up-to-the-minute technical information, networking with other experts in the field, and leveraging many other exclusive benefits.

Dr. Ali Ghrayeb, executive chair of the conference and professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program at Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “Our preparation for the conference started about four years ago, and we made sure that the conference technical and social programs were of high quality so that our guests would have a memorable experience. Many thanks to the organizing committee — local and international — for their hard work. Special thanks are due to our generous sponsors for giving us the financial means to execute our vision for organizing an outstanding event.”