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Artificial Intelligence - The next wave of technological evolution in MEA

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the technology which augments human intelligence in machines. AI when applied to machines can perform tasks automatically, make decisions wisely, and conduct transactions safely on behalf of people. AI can be manifested in many forms such as chatbots, intelligent assistants, recommendation engines, etc. AI thus enhances machine capabilities and adds value to the business assets.

According to the Allied Market Research report, the global AI industry was estimated to be worth USD 65 B in 2020 and is expected to increase to USD 1,582 B by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 38% between the forecasted period (2020-2030). The expansion of the worldwide AI market is being driven by an increase in demand for intelligent systems to boost productivity and efficiency. The rising digital dependency, and industry 4.0 evolution is representing lucrative opportunities in the AI market. Technological advancements in speech recognition and natural language processing are further propelling the AI market.

The pandemic ushered in a new era of transformation where businesses are undertaking rigorous steps to ensure business continuity. They further seek to adopt strategies centered around their customers to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. There is a greater emphasis on finding solutions that imbibe the advantages of AI and its tremendous potential. Furthermore, young millennial entrepreneurs and members of Generation Z (Gen Z) are setting the pace for it. They are making maximum use of AI and are focusing on a new area of AI application that has seen tremendous growth lately – the robots. Gen Z are using AI software and solutions abundantly to automate tasks that are either challenging or are monotonous.

According to Statista, over the past decade, the global startup funding of AI has exponentially grown from USD 670 M in 2011 to USD 36 B in 2020. Gen Z and young millennial entrepreneurs are starting new businesses focusing on AI to handle physically complex and demanding duties. There is a rising number of startups trying to harness its maximum potential. There is a spurt in the growth of the number of startups across different industry verticals such as fintech, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, public sector, media & entertainment, etc. Additionally, numerous digital assistant programs, including Siri and Alexa, have proven helpful over time for basic chores like getting weather updates, driving directions, event reminders, or assistance for turning out the lights.

Additionally, Gen Z entrepreneurs are increasingly using AI to increase energy efficiency, accessibility, and integration. The technology is finding its way to bridge the gap with problems associated with nonrenewable energy and the rising need for greater adoption of renewable energy. Further the importance of food and its supply chain is another important area where AI is being adopted these days to reduce food wastage and ensure speedy delivery of perishable commodities. The banking and fintech is also witnessing huge investments by startups. The need for personal finance tools, SMS-text based assistant, personalized guidance is some of the different application areas of AI in the financial services sector.

Key Benefits/Importance of AI

  • Customer Experience (CX) Improvements

Consumer experience solutions are increasingly using AI to respond to customer queries and requests faster and in real-time ensuring speedy resolutions and quick turn-around times.

  • Accessibility Resources and Tools

AI operates 24x7 without interruption or breaks and has no downtime. AI makes daily life and routine tasks easier and more accessible. It enables multi-tasking and eases the workload off existing resources.

  • Additional Security Support

AI powered security initiatives automate monitoring, dashboard analytics, and other security features that prevent security attacks from occurring. Such solutions help strengthen systems and processes and curb malpractices and phishing activities.

  • Smart Operations Development

AIOps and more specialized environments, such as smart factories, smart cities and smart grids are increasingly using AI algorithms to automate business activities which require least human intervention, thus saving time and reducing costs.

Adoption and acceptance of AI is being widely witnessed across the MEA region

With the onset of Industrial 4.0, the MEA region is witnessing a wide adoption of next generation tools and technologies such as AI, ML, cloud, big data & analytics, 5G, blockchain, AR/VR, etc. In the Middle East, the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have demonstrated a commitment to implement and develop AI technologies. The UAE is on its course to be the leading AI hub by 2030. According to a PwC report, it is predicted that AI will be worth USD 320 B in the region by 2030. The major demand for AI will be from the public sector, where the technology is being used to develop smart cities, smart transportation, and public safety. Followed by this, AI is being widely implemented across the banking & finance, healthcare, and the retail industries.

Further, the UAE Council for AI and Blockchain has the responsibility of recommending regulations to develop an ecosystem that is friendly and adept with advanced research. The council is poised with the task of encouraging cooperation between the public and private sectors, including international organizations, to hasten the adoption of AI in the region.

AI’s application across the MEA can be witnessed across several industries including:

  • Public

In partnership with a leading technological company, Dubai’s AI Lab is working relentlessly with a growing network of partners including government and private entities for faster adoption of AI. The partnership seeks to provide essential tools and go-to-market support for seamless AI implementation across the public sector.

  • FinTech

The fintech sector in the MEA is being disrupted by AI, particularly using chatbots. Automation and AI technologies are enhancing consumer and financial institution communication interfaces. A leading Saudi bank streamlined its processes, improved work quality, and decreased costs by using an AI platform. The AI/ML features further enabled automation of certain services, helping save time and improve customer satisfaction.

  • Transportation

The current transportation sector in the region is benefiting through AI in the following way: autonomous vehicles reduce the overall expenditure by cutting down operating cost, transportation companies are eliminating delays to passengers using computer vision, and drone taxis are being used to smoothen out traffic congestion. Additionally, to increase security, Dubai has installed a facial recognition system on public transportation to recognize suspicious and un-wanted activities.

  • Retail

One of the emerging trends in the region, particularly in the retail sector, is the use of emotional AI. Emotional AI is proficient at adapting to, detecting, and interacting with a wide range of human emotions. AI is also being used to offer personalized services to the shoppers, suiting to their needs and choices. Additionally, in Dubai Mall, a Korean beauty startup unveiled its AI-powered mixed reality beauty shop where customers can receive personalized skincare advice from the virtual stores.

  • Healthcare & Pharmaceutical

AI has many uses in the medical field, particularly after the pandemic. The Dubai Health Authority plans to automate surgeries and other procedures using AI and robotics. AI is also being used to analyze data to find genetic information, in-turn reducing the prevalence of chronic, dangerous diseases. A leading pharmaceutical company in the region signed a MoU with a technology company to use the power of AI and cloud technology to improve outcomes for patients across the region.

Way Forward with Xebia

Xebia’s data-driven AI, IoT, and cloud solutions enable quick, worthwhile, and enriching digital transitions. It helps organizations build and deploy highly flexible AI solutions. It offers readily available components which speed up time-to-market and reduce implementation and maintenance costs. It also offers AI services including automation best practices, testing, security, and process standardization. Additionally, it continuously helps evaluate and improve businesses of its customers, using AI applications, for greater performances and reliable outcomes.

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Relevant Links

Artificial Intelligence Market on Allied Market Research

Artificial Intelligence Market on Datamation

The Next Wave of AI Disruption on Forbes

AI Trends in the Middle East on

Arab National Bank Case Study on Automation Anywhere

SDAIA Signs MoU with IQVIA to Support AI Solutions in Healthcare on IQVIA

Data and AI on Xebia

Top 6 Middle East Retail Brands Using AI to Enhance CX on Martechvibe

AI in UAE: How Artificial Intelligence Will Shape UAE's Future on Medium

Dubai Introduces Facial Recognition on Public Transport on Economic Times

AI in Healthcare in the Middle East on TechMonitor

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