The latest developments in AI and Big Data Analytics revealed at 7th Annual Smart Data Summit


The Annual Smart Data Summit 2021 kicked off for its 7th year with two full days of both virtual and in-person presentations and panel sessions. Held at the impressive Mövenpick Grand Al Bustan Dubai on the 17th and 18th of February, the Smart Data Summit showcased some of the latest and greatest advancements in the big data and advanced analytics space.

Day one of the summit opened with a virtual welcome address from Abboud George Ghanem, the Regional Vice President of the Middle East & Africa division at Alteryx, the Platinum Sponsors of this event. The morning was packed with fascinating presentations, the first keynote of the day coming from Ryan Den Rooijen, Chief Data Officer at Chalhoub Group, as he spoke on the practical implementation of analytics and AI.

Following this, delegates learned about the pathway to analytic maturity in an engaging joint presentation by Nick Jewel and Shaan Mistry from Alteryx, data valorization and revenue streams with Rodrigo Pires of Ernst and Young and the evolving role of event streaming with Ala Alsharif from Confluent. Up next, Sid Bhatia from Dataiku and Karthic Sundararaj from Etihad Airways took an in-depth look into how AI has evolved the entire Etihad Airways business. Joining live from France, Jean-Francois Monteil of Hitachi rounded out the morning with an insightful look into DataOps and the importance of agile data communication.

Following the morning tea break, delegates reconvened for the first panel session of the day. Frederik Bisbjerg from Daman National Health Insurance Company, Piyush Chowhan from Lulu Group International, Rahul Arya, from Artefact Middle East & Africa FZ-LLC and Rami Zahran from Saudi German Hospitals came together to share their expert opinions and first-hand experiences with CXOs and their important role in helping to achieve optimal data analytics results. We then welcomed Ali Shabdar from Zoho Corporation as he explored the ways effective Cloud presence can ensure the security and safety of your business, particularly given the unpredictable nature of the world we currently live in. 

Delegates tuned in as Balakiran Reddy Mareddy and Nithin Narayanan from Emirates NBD unpacked the successful data governance and stewardship practices that have transformed the company and its operation. Swapnil Srivastava, Global Head of Data Analytics at Evalueserve was the final speaker for day one and spoke at length about the best practices for institutionalising analytics within your organisation. 

Day two launched with a keynote from Dimple Dinesh of Facebook MENA as she shared her expertise on marketing science and modelling as a crucial tool. Next up, Mohamed Zouari from Snowflake with some valuable insights into the role of data analytics in Cloud computing and the exciting prospect of a Data Cloud. Alexey Sidorov from Denodo then took the stage to speak on the three dimensions of data as a service.

To explore the concept of data governance, we welcomed our panellists: Seham Elbehissy from Groupe Renault, Osama Elhassan from Dubai Health Authority, Latifa Saleh AlShehhi from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Ahmad Yousef Tarawneh from Dubai Police and Jaymin Darbari, from the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. They spoke on the challenges surrounding data governance as well as the tools needed to build a strong and safe data governance structure.

Backing it up with another panel session, this time from Boris Bialek from MongoDB, Bahaa’ Awartany from First Abu Dhabi Bank, Syed Mohammad Ali Naqvi from Al Hilal Bank and Abedin Abbas Dalal from Dubai Islamic Bank. Discussing the key role of data analytics within the banking sector, this panel explored the opportunities for innovation that exist within the industry and how big data can provide a deeper understanding of the customer. 

The summit concluded with a third panel that explored the impact of data analytics on the thriving eCommerce sector. Antonello Supino from Dubizzle, Stanislav Betin from ekar, Kartik Bhatt from Adventure HQ and Antonio Ricciardi from Etisalat came together to speak on the importance of personalisation in the customer experience as well as how to utilise data to identify strengths and weaknesses within the business.

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