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SCAD: Helping shape Abu Dhabi's digital future

Staff Report/Abu Dhabi
Filed on May 31, 2020 | Last updated on May 31, 2020 at 05.07 pm
Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi, SCAD

(alamy.com/ae)

The Statistics Centre is leveraging technology to ensure a stream of credible data and information for its customers.

Abu Dhabi is making consistent efforts, and is taking several steps to enhance government services through digital solutions, upgrading its digital government system based on the highest international standards. The Digital Month initiative launched by Abu Dhabi government is just one example of the UAE leadership's vision to utilise information technology to better serve the community and advance government services.

The Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD) was amongst the first to deliver its services through its digital channels. Unsurprisingly, 100% of its users are now on online, with a staggering 91% customer satisfaction rate in 2019.

Just in 2019, over 600 transactions were completed online. For context, that equates to 25 working days for employees, as well as 1,224 visits to customer care centres. Not only is this cost efficient, it has also led to a reduction of up to nine tons of carbon dioxide emissions - a happy byproduct of reduced visits and travelling time for customers.

SCAD's participation in the Digital Month initiative, is part of its efforts to improve customers' access to its digital services and solutions. Throughout the month, and beyond, a variety of services and digital initiatives, which contribute to building a digital future for Abu Dhabi are being undertaken.

Abdullah Ahmed Al Suwaidi, Acting Director-General of SCAD, said that the success of its online services in 2019 is a manifestation of the awareness of digital government services amongst its customers, and the public at large. Al Suwaidi also encouraged customers to provide their opinion on these digital channels. He added that the feedback would help further improve these digital services, and thus support the Abu Dhabi government's vision.

Al Suwaidi said: "The Digital Month Initiative is part of the vision of our wise leadership to use information technology to serve the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and spur development. For its part, the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi will tirelessly work to achieve the government's vision. We will also continue to work with all relevant authorities to use technology and provide leading-edge, integrated digital services to improve customer satisfaction."

When it comes to specific areas, SCAD is undertaking several initiatives.

Take SCAD's digital services. It provides a range of online services including statistical data request, statistical opinion polls, statistical consultations, as well as requests for statistical surveys. The aforementioned allows customers to request a survey across various sectors. It also offers training services that provide specialised courses to help bolster the citizens' capabilities in the area.

Expectedly, with 395 requests, the statistical data request service was the most-used by customers. This was followed by statistical training requests at 163. Furthermore, there were 40 requests for the statistical opinion poll, 13 for statistical consultations, and one for statistical survey request. Overall, the total value of digital services requested stood at Dh818,271.

Going with the digital mindset, SCAD has incorporated several modern technologies in its operations, namely Artificial Intelligence (AI). It uses AI for its statistical practices and data analyses to ensure unerring results. SCAD has a firm belief that technology and digital transformation are key to further improving its services. Currently, the centre offers four initiatives: recommender, graphical statistical assistant, enumerators identification, and the talking statistical assistant.

Recommender, for instance, is an AI unit that is part of SCAD's smart application (mServices), that analyses the behaviour of users, as well as their registration data. The technology then builds a preferred-data file for each user, based on their interest on file. The system also suggests statistical information and sends alerts about relevant new material that's in their area of interest.

Then, there is the Graphical Statistical Assistant. It is another AI application that recognises objects and analyses their components to enable users to get information merely by taking a photo. For example, if a user photographs a tree, the system detects it and displays statistics related to environmental and agricultural statistics.

Further use of AI comes in the form of Enumerators Identification. This allows users to learn more about the field researchers when they visit their homes or companies. The system uses facial recognition technology, which enables them to ensure that the field researcher is indeed an employee of the centre. Additionally, it also provides information on the survey that is underway, as well as data related to the project. Not only does this enhance security, it increases confidence amongst users.

The Talking Statistical Assistant, is yet another example of how SCAD is using AI to enhance its services. The system recognises and analyses questions via audio to provide answers. It delivers the requested information in audio format when available, or directs the user to links on the centre's website on similar topics, in case the requested information is unavailable.

The Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi uses technology to enhance its services to offers several statistical information tools and systems. These allow users access to detailed data from the statistical databases of the centre. Table Builder Tools, for instance, enables users to create maps, tables, interactive charts and statistical reports, etc.
 
Foreign Trade in Goods, meanwhile, is a tool that provides statistics on the value of non-oil merchandise trade through land, sea and air for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The table builder tool enables users to choose foreign trade variables and create personalised tables based on the information they need. The data is then acquired from the centre's servers and is presented according to the Harmonized System (HS), the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC), and the Broad Economic Categories (BEC), as well as by country for non-oil exports and re-exports.

SCAD's services are aimed at providing relevant statistics to citizens and residents to enable them to make informed decisions. For instance, the Education tool provides users with details about the education sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It also allows users to choose several variables and design a table that serves their personal information needs.

However, SCAD's cutting-edge digital solutions don't end there. Its Customer Happiness Portal offers a gateway for customers to communicate with the centre to get answers to any questions they might have. Not only does it simplify communication it also provides data via a secure network seamlessly.

All in all, SCAD is leveraging technology to ensure a stream of credible data and information for its customers, wherever and whenever they need it. And as the saying goes: knowledge is power.


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