The UAE's digital transformation journey is in full swing

 The UAEs digital transformation journey is in full swing
Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, global sales, marketing and operations, Microsoft. - Supplied photo

Dubai - Microsoft is currently exploring every layer of the UAE's most diversified economy in the region and is in talks with multiple government entities to empower UAE residents


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2019, 5:04 PM

The UAE is aggressively building a smart nation for tomorrow adopting latest technology solutions, be it Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, big data and so on, which enables the businesses to go digital - helping them save on cost and time.
Top global IT player, Microsoft is currently exploring every layer of the UAE's most diversified economy in the region and is in talks with multiple government entities to empower UAE residents. Recently, Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft was on his visit to the UAE.
"We are driving digital transformation across all sectors and industries, from startups to governments enabling them to make the most out of Microsoft solutions to empower their employees, engage customers, optimise operations and transform products and services," he said.
Microsoft's two datacenters are expected to go live this year. These facilities will be based in the UAE - with one in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai and would cater exclusively to the Middle East customers enabling them to avail enterprise-grade reliability, reduced latency, security and broadest compliance.
The cloud and Microsoft ecosystem is expected to generate over 520,000 jobs between 2017-2022 across key markets in the Middle East and Africa.
On the other hand, the widening skills gap in the region has led Microsoft to accelerate its efforts in upskilling and reskilling the workforce. The company's Cloud Society platform has over 150,000 registrations from the region. In addition to that, Microsoft's partnership with regional initiatives such as One Million Arab Coders and MADRASA are poised to equip youth with skills for the future.
The Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft to establish a 'Cloud Centre of Excellence' that will aim to build its capacity for the delivery of cloud services and platforms, as well as upskill the emirate's public sector workforce.
ADSSSA also hosted an innovation summit jointly with Microsoft last week with the aim of connecting IT decision-makers with digital transformation experts to help them accelerate innovation.
Further, Smart Dubai inked landmark collaboration with Microsoft in its bid to achieve the goal of making Dubai the happiest city on earth. The move aims to accelerate digital transformation across the emirate and empower government employees to innovate faster. This will accelerate digital transformation across the emirate and empower government employees to innovate faster.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Dr. Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, Director-General, Smart Dubai, and Sayed Hashish, General Manager, Microsoft Gulf, Microsoft will support Smart Dubai in its digital transformation journey by accelerating adoption of Microsoft Cloud technologies, and conduct targeted training sessions as well as upskilling workshops in cloud and other associated technologies.
"We all have a responsibility to accelerate towards the vision established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to create a Dubai that shines as a beacon for others to emulate," said Dr. Aisha.
"Through this collaboration with our trusted partner Microsoft, we are taking another decisive step in that journey. By upskilling and empowering our people, we are building a platform for change and innovation that will serve our citizens, residents, visitors and businesses for decades to come," she added.
Under the MoU, Microsoft's UAE datacenters that are expected to open this year, will be supporting the Government of Dubai's digital transformation efforts through the adoption of a range of Microsoft technologies. Microsoft will train departmental staff in those technologies, empowering them to achieve more in their roles, and accelerate digital transformation across the emirate of Dubai.
"The intelligent cloud has become a cornerstone of digital transformation, and Dubai's government has led the way in its adoption," said Courtois. "We remain a steadfast partner to the Government of Dubai in its journey to become a smart city. As strong proponents of lifelong learning, we are uniquely poised to reskill and upskill public sector employees in cloud, allowing them to add immeasurable value to Dubai's excellence e-government services."
Microsoft experts will also collaborate with Smart Dubai on use cases and adoption scenarios, and work jointly on roadmaps for rolling out new platforms to other government entities. Microsoft will also conduct awareness sessions on its cloud technologies for government entities and guide them on how best to benefit from online Microsoft courses and certifications.
Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence recently confirmed that the UAE government adopts an integrated and dynamic model for the utilisation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that supports industry growth, development of new sectors as well as strengthening governance and ethics frameworks, ultimately anticipating future challenges and creating a positive change for humanity.
Under this agreement, Microsoft will develop its existing AI programmes and frameworks to support the UAE's efforts to achieve the United Nations goals of sustainable development.
Areas of cooperation include national capacity training in AI programmes, certification in software and cloud computing, and the organisation and sponsorship of emerging technology competitions and events for government and private entities.
"We see some very exciting developments happening with cloud and AI in UAE and the region. An IDC study found that in the next five years we will see over 520,000 jobs created just because of AI and cloud altogether in the Middle East and Africa.
"Because of that, we see many industries and sectors of the economy really building capacity to do more. There are some great examples on the work we've done in terms of digital transformation such as the Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) that is utilising AI to better automate processes.
"We have also partnered with Dubai's Area 2071 and the Mubadala Hub71 in Abu Dhabi to incubate startups. And also, the work we're doing with Emaar is an example across retail, construction and malls is very exciting. So, we see a lot of opportunities throughout to innovate here in Dubai," added Courtois.

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