The UAE is all set to meet the challenges that disruptive technologies will bring in the coming years, experts at the fifth edition of the Global Innovation Summit said.
Jointly hosted by the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai and SPI Greatsands Group, the event celebrated the achievements of several innovators across various sectors including technology, aviation, and healthcare.
In his welcome address at the summit, Sami Al Qamzi, director general of DED, said that the 'UAE Strategy for Future' announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, two years ago has ushered in a new and proactive approach in identifying opportunities and challenges in all vital sectors in the country.
Al Qamzi also added that initiatives such as Dubai 10x, Dubai Future Accelerators, and the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Initiative have been instrumental in the UAE ranking first in the Arab world in the 2018 Global Innovation Index. "The Department of Economic Development, together with its agencies, is now focused on upgrading services in line with the latest tech innovations including Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, while also preparing for Industry 4.0 along with the business community, to achieve the strategic objectives of Dubai and the UAE," Al Qamzi said.
IT spending across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is projected to reach $155 billion in 2018, a 3.4 per cent increase from 2017, according to a forecast by Gartner. In 2018, the Mena region will exhibit its highest IT spending increase in the last three years. Spending in communication services - primarily mobile voice and data mostly by consumers - is the segment that will largely contribute to the rise in IT spending in the region this year. Software is projected to exhibit the strongest growth in 2018, with a 12.7 per cent increase year over year. Software spending has also been growing at a double-digit rate over the last two years. The growth has been driven by companies pursuing new functionalities. The region's artificial intelligence market alone is forecast to generate $1.4 billion by 2025. The UAE government expects to save up to $106 million in document costs through the adoption of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. Furthermore, up to $3 billion can be saved in economic returns through the uptake of AI and blockchain.
Hani Asfour, associate dean at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, spoke about the importance of ensuring that students across the UAE were ready to tackle the challenges of the future once they entered the workforce. "Our aim is to future-proof our student's careers, by giving them relevant skills incorporating digital and visual fluency so they are ready for tomorrow's world, so this year's theme fits perfectly with our DNA. Together, I believe we can meaningfully contribute in making Dubai a leader in global innovation."
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