Skip to main content

How artificial intelligence and big data are disrupting business in the Middle East?

(Image credit: Future)

There have been so many advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the past five years.

There have been about 1.5m robots built in the last five years and 20b devices connected to the internet and this number is expected to grow to 60b by 2024.

“AI and big data are expected to contribute $18tr to the global economy by 2030, close to 15% of global GDP, that is more than India and China’s GDP combined,” Imad Atwi, Principal at Startegy&, said.

Delegates, speaking at the Big Data’s Big Trends, an event hosted by Forbes Middle East, said that AI is in every single industry but different capacities.

There are about 400 use cases on AI in the region, Alaa Youssef, managing director at SAS said and added that banking and telcos in the Middle East are the most advanced in using the data.

However, he said that other sectors have adopted AI but they need to catch-up.

Furthermore, he said that regional governments have been quick to adopt AI to improve lives for citizens.

“Big steps have been taken by the UAE and Saudi Arabia in particular,” he added.

When you look across use cases there are “four pillars”, he said.

 “One is the experience. The other is related to improving products and services. Third is related to the organisation and the fourth is the mandates that come with security and compliance.”

90% of data collected is not used at all

Fadi Amoudi, CEO of IQRobotics, said that businesses are adopting these emerging technologies to boost productivity and efficiency.

 “Everyone will benefit. You’re talking about a 99% accuracy rate and a 70% saving in resources,” he said.

Even though data is the new oil of the 21st century, Caspar Herzberg, president for Schneider Electric Middle East and Africa, said that 90% of the data collected is not used at all and this may increase with the acceptance of multi-sensors.

“Energy industry is one of the least disrupted industry and the most disrupted is the taxis. There is probably as much value in looking at AI and how you manage the large-scale infrastructure, cities, power and networks of entire nations. So, AI is a tool that allows you to manage smart cities better and save money,” he said.

In the next 10 years, he said that people will stop being excited about AI as it will be everywhere and all the time.

“We will worry a lot more about cybersecurity, data security and a possibility about singularity when man and machine become one,” he said. 

Improving customer experience

Panellists talked about how public and private sectors are adopting AI.

“We see two trends in data in any company, whether it is private or public. They have operational data and experience data. The question is how to make sense of it and how to make proper use cases that will benefit,” said Gergi Abboud, Regional Senior Vice-President and General Manager at SAP.

On the operational data, this is where you will want an algorithm to improve the efficiency; he said and added that the optimisation on the operational side will improve better and better as algorithm keeps getting better and better.

On the experience side, he said that it’s more about one-to-one conversations at scale and AI helps you augment that and achieve it.

“The products are no longer the product, we can sell an experience and to do that, it’s a combination of a continuous conversation with the consumer.  Companies that will figure out how to leapfrog and focus on the experience in that experience economy are the companies that will lead the value in the value chain,” he said.