Time Frame: Sending a signal to the world

Telephone services only arrived in the country in the early 1960’s, connecting Abu Dhabi with Dubai, if only through the cumbersome process of pre-booking a call through the operator. Such was the pace of technology that by the 1970s, the telephone network of the new United Arab Emirates was the most advanced in the Arab world, with direct dialling possible across all seven emirates.

The next stage was this monster dish, officially opened by Sheikh Zayed, the President of the UAE, in April 1977. Built at the foot of Jebel Al Ashqar in Ras Al Khaimah, this became part of a network satelitte communication ground stations in the country, with others in Abu Dhabi and Jebel Ali.

Together they formed part of Intelsat, an intergovernmental organisation that provides communication in 149 countries. Within 20 years, the number of paid minutes passing through Intelsat’s satellites had risen from less than 10 million in 1976 to half a billion by 1996.

* James Langton

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

How Voiss turns words to speech

The device has a screen reader or software that monitors what happens on the screen

The screen reader sends the text to the speech synthesiser

This converts to audio whatever it receives from screen reader, so the person can hear what is happening on the screen

A VOISS computer costs between $200 and $250 depending on memory card capacity that ranges from 32GB to 128GB

The speech synthesisers VOISS develops are free

Subsequent computer versions will include improvements such as wireless keyboards

Arabic voice in affordable talking computer to be added next year to English, Portuguese, and Spanish synthesiser

Partnerships planned during Expo 2020 Dubai to add more languages

At least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness

More than 90 per cent live in developing countries

The Long-term aim of VOISS to reach the technology to people in poor countries with workshops that teach them to build their own device

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