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IT Life: Therese Jamaa, GSMA General Manager, Mobile World Capital

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Therese Jamaa talks the future of mobility, the IoT and her secret singing ambition

How long have you been in IT? 

I have been in the IT/Telecoms sector for more than 20 years, working for companies like GSMA, Qualcomm, Vodafone and Sema Group Schlumberger.

I’ve been based in Paris, then London, then Barcelona, and I have had the opportunity to work in global positions developing new businesses, markets, and partnerships.

I have travelled a lot (with no idea where I was waking up sometimes!), and been fortunate to work on exciting projects with great people. These are just some of the things that make working in this sector an adventure!Therese Jamaa GSMA

What is your most interesting project to date?

I believe that your job is what you make of it. If you are passionate about a project you can make it very big and really enjoy it – which I’ve had the privilege to do!

I have always felt that technology was interesting, but useless if it didn’t change someone’s life positively. I have had the great opportunity to develop projects that showcase the benefits of mobile technology for areas like education, healthcare, public safety and entrepreneurship.

There are so many projects I’ve worked on that really demonstrate how technology benefits our lives. For example, a visually impaired person can orientate themselves and connect with their environment thanks to haptic technology on their smartphone.

Or there’s children in Jordan who can attend classes remotely through mobile devices, while their friends dropped out of school. It’s a very enriching experience to work on these projects and see the “before” and “after”.

I joined GSMA just one year ago, and now work on the Mobile World Capital project in Barcelona. This is a very exciting project indeed and I am fortunate to be part of a great team.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

I speak eight languages but have a French accent – which can cause confusion sometimes! I’m often asked – where is that accent from? There’s no way I can hide it!

What technology were you working with ten years ago?

In my personal life, outside of mobile – I was trying to learn to ride my bicycle! My kids were always nervous when I came to pick them up from school. I’m still working on my technique – and they’ve since moved to another school far, far away from home!

What is your favourite technology of all time?

Definitely the mobile phone. Thank you Marty Cooper for inventing it!

What smartphone do you use?

Samsung S7 Edge and whatever device can survive my bike rides.

Spotify

What three apps could you not live without?

Email (for work), WhatsApp (for when my kids forget their keys and I have to run back home), and Spotify (I need something to sing along with in the car)!

What new technology are you most excited for a) your business and b) yourself?

Definitely IoT – both for business and for my personal life. There will be 25 billion connected devices by 2020, so we definitely have something exciting happening here. It is not just about being a geek that makes fridges talk to ovens – there is so much that could improve our lives with IoT! With connected devices, we could alert families when their elderly relative hasn’t opened their fridge for some time, for example. 

If you weren’t doing the job you do now, what would you be doing?

I would sing songs and put them on Spotify. My singing isn’t that good though, so people would need sing over them to cover the noise!

Quiz: Name that mobile phone!