By Sami Abi Esber, President -MDS Gulf, Board Member-Midis Group
We are living in an era of unparalleled innovation. As new and emerging technologies continue to redefine IT and business, the pace of change and technological advancement is accelerating. Today, we are looking at a smarter, intelligent future driven by technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, and more. While the industry has already embarked on its digital transformation journey, businesses are yet to realize the full potential of these technologies and how they will shape the way we do business in the future.
In the coming years, new digital businesses and brands will bring greater focus into the region and will help accelerate the ICT business. Across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, banking, finance, healthcare and utilities are taking the lead in driving digital transformation. The local drivers for such initiatives center around customer experience enhancement and achieving competitive advantage. These initiatives are driving investments into mobility, analytics, cybersecurity and cloud solutions.
Regardless of the industry or enterprise, one or the other technology will definitely play a part in transforming the business by offering benefits like cost savings, improved security and better customer experience, among others. Here we define the top technologies that regional organizations can leverage to transform their business in 2019:
1. Internet of Things
With the acceleration of digital transformation in the region, more and more devices are getting connected. Although the adoption of IoT will be massive, it is still slow as the devices are not standardized. From autonomous vehicles to drones to sensors in oilfields, healthcare, transport, Oil & Gas etc., IoT will have a huge impact on enterprises and consumers. Our Group is developing innovative IoT solutions and is working with IBM and other major players like Microsoft, Cisco & GE to implement solutions like Predictive Maintenance instead of the traditional Preventative Maintenance model for Oil and Gas assets and Real Estate facilities based on Maximo. One of our affiliated companies recently signed an agreement with Etisalat to jointly offer Smart Integrated Facility Management Solutions to achieve Cost savings, Operational efficiencies and enhanced Customer satisfaction.
2. Artificial Intelligence
The use of AI technologies is now penetrating many aspects of business. A recent survey by ServiceNow across Europe, Middle East and Africa indicates that customer service is an area that is showing a fast return on investment. Companies across these regions are deploying AI technologies to revolutionize customer service as more and more consumers are showing an acceptance to AI-driven experiences. Nearly 30% of EMEA organizations have introduced AI technologies to customer service and 72% of those are already seeing benefits that include freeing up agent time, more efficient processing of high-volume tasks and providing always-on customer support.
Interest in blockchain technologies in the region is growing rapidly. The pace is being set by the government and public sector including education, healthcare, finance, distribution and services. The most popular blockchain use cases in the coming years will be cross-border payment and settlements, asset and goods management and identity management. Across the private sector, we have seen announcements of recent initiatives by The Atlantis, Jordan Investment Bank, Noon Capital, DIFC, Halal Guide, amongst others. Global blockchain player, ConsenSys recently conducted a blockchain developer training and hackathon camp in Lebanon.
Enterprises in the region are now using multiple cloud solutions whether on-premises, public cloud, or a hybrid of both. In the coming years, upfront costs will become less important as cloud vendors continue to produce convincing use cases. AI and machine learning will be fundamental in increasing the levels of automation. Corporate cloud literacy is becoming an operational prerequisite as technological progress accelerates in EMEA. With a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can decide how to distribute workloads to cloud platforms that are best suited for specific tasks.
5. Big Data
With massive volumes of data being generated every second from connected devices, machines and IoT, Big Data is definitely a trend to watch out for. Big Data is the new oil as it has the potential to empower organisations to make better business decisions, in real time. By unlocking the organisation’s data, they can fundamentally change the way it operates and steer the transformative, digital journey the company’s stakeholders expect.