As emerging technologies continue to accelerate social and economic disruption on an unprecedented scale today, regional governments are harnessing the potential of these trends and integrating them strategically in their national agendas, experts noted.

This will build stronger collaboration between the public and private sector and help in realising visions of innovation, efficiency, sustainability and universal connectivity, said Fady Kassatly, senior vice-president at Booz Allen Hamilton for the Middle East and North Africa region.

Highlighting the results of a recent survey, experts at Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos forecast four key trends driven by technology in 2018. Firstly, survey respondents noted that investments in machine intelligence and autonomous vehicles will continue to grow and change the way we experience the world.

The artificial intelligence market in the Mena region is forecast to generate $1.4 billion by 2025 according to Statista.

As international governments and industry leaders begin experimenting with machine-intelligence operating platforms, both the public and private sector will make investments to optimise their organisational models, automate key operational processes, and implement the byproducts of accelerating technological innovation into their existing systems. Furthermore, the exploration of the effective deployment of autonomous vehicles is supporting regional ambitions to leverage emerging technologies for energy diversification and economic growth.

Secondly, when asked which emerging trends will be most impactful in how governments serve their citizens, cybersecurity emerged as the most impactful enabler for government services. Tech elites, on the other hand, responded that universal connectivity will have a greater impact by extending the reach and speed of government services.

In addition, while tech elites indicated that the accelerated rate of innovation and emerging technologies stand to have transformative effects across all industries verticals, the consensus was that change is coming faster than the general population expects. The Internet of Things (IoT) already connects more than 10 billion devices worldwide and this number is expected to grow to 100 billion over the next five years.

"The GCC is moving toward technological development where IoT enabled platforms, artificial intelligence and automated systems are being integrated into broader domains of industry, commerce, and civil life. As regional governments continue to embrace these technologies and incorporate them more comprehensively into their infrastructure, it will be necessary to anticipate the socio-economic opportunities and risks that increased connectivity, efficiency and security will produce," Souheil Moukaddem, executive vice-president and leader of Booz Allen Hamilton Mena, said.

Lastly, tech elites and the public agree that investments in the private sector and education will be imperative to driving future technology innovation. Individual companies can no longer operate and succeed in silos and, consequently, will look to achieve broad partnerships that can better enable them to leverage emerging technologies.


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