UAE expected to spend USD 73 Million on AI in 2020


Government-led UAE strategy for AI sees AI used in every sector

The UAE is set to spend USD 73 million on artificial intelligence (AI) systems in 2020, the highest in the Middle East, boosted by the UAE government’s digital innovation drive, according to industry experts. Thanks in part to the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, AI is being embedded into every sector – from government e-services and smart traffic, to the current healthcare environment, to enforce lockdowns and support contact tracing.

As a result, the UAE’s AI spending on AI systems is set to grow by 19.7 percent from 2019, reaching USD 73 million in 2020, according to a recent report by IDC. The UAE AI spending leads the region and accounts for about one-fifth of the total in the Middle East and Africa, which is set to reach USD 374 million in 2020.

“The UAE’s government-led AI strategy is delivering major benefits in e-services that can be accessed in the social distancing era, and help residents and businesses to save time and money,” said Praj Calthorpe, Deputy General Manager, Condo Protego. “Thanks to the strong results of the country’s AI deployments, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are continuing to lead the Middle East in AI projects in Smart Cities.”

Abu Dhabi and Dubai have moved up in global Smart Cities rankings, now in the top 50 Smart Cities worldwide, and the highest in the Middle East and North Africa, according to The Institute for Management Development’s Smart City Index 2020.

Additional Emirates – Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain — are investing in smart government and Smart Cities plans to enhance daily lives.

As AI progresses from plans to implementations, the Smart Dubai AI Ethics Advisory Board recently convened to identify bias, to ensure fairness and data privacy, to bring accountability in explaining complex algorithms, and to highlight cybersecurity.

Still, successful AI projects need more than the high-level view – they also require knowledgeable and experienced channel partners. Partners should be aligned with technology vendors that are AI leaders and have experience in deploying AI projects.

“While the UAE’s AI spend reaching a record high is encouraging, AI projects should be focused on meeting business goals, rather than technology for technology’s sake,” added Praj Calthorpe. “Channel partners are key for successful AI projects and can support knowledge exchange to build up in-house AI skills. Not everyone needs to be a data scientist, but baseline data analytics skills are increasingly important.”

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