Smart Dubai Office and IBM Collaborate on Dubai’s Cognitive Roadmap

Monday 06 February 2017
H.E Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office with Takreem El Tohamy, IBM's General Manager for the Middle East and Africa

Dubai - MENA Herald: IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Smart Dubai Office announced today (Monday, 6 February 2017) an initiative for the establishment of a Cognitive Center of Competence in Dubai. The center will define and deliver Dubai’s Cognitive Roadmap and help accelerate the development of cognitive citizen services across Dubai. The collaboration also aims to equip the next generation of professionals with sought-after skills around analytics, cloud, mobility, cognitive and blockchain technology. This will support a strong human capital innovation ecosystem as part of the Smart Dubai initiative and the government’s 2020 Dubai Blockchain Strategy.

“Our collaboration with IBM underlines our commitment to foster the IT skills needed leveraging cloud, blockchain technology, analytics, mobility technologies and offer cognitive capabilities for our services which will add value to the day to day lives of Dubai citizens and residents, making every day experiences more safe, seamless, efficient and impactful for all,” said H.E Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office.

Through several initiatives with IBM, the Smart Dubai Office will work with Dubai Government entities to help enable existing digital government services become cognitive. In October 2016, Smart Dubai Government Establishment and Department of Economic Development launched “Saad”, a cognitive government service powered by IBM Watson. Saad can understand natural language, ingest and comprehend massive amounts of data, learn and reason from its interactions, and provide solutions that will aid users in deciding on correct courses of action.

The collaboration will focus on building the needed skills to enable government entities to develop cognitive applications and benefit from application programming interface (API), analytics and blockchain technologies. The Smart Dubai Office and IBM will also provide university student developers with a full year Bluemix subscription, enabling them to gain hands on experience with cloud services. IBM Bluemix is a cloud based platform that enables organizations and developers to quickly and easily create, deploy, and manage applications on the cloud.

“Our focus with Smart Dubai Office will help accelerate the development of the IT skills and services in the Emirate and enable government entities in Dubai to begin their cognitive journey,” says Amr Refaat, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan. “Students will also have access to a platform for innovation, resources and technology expertise to help ensure that today’s graduates have the knowledge and workforce skills to help fuel economic growth.”

IBM Watson represents a new era in computing in which systems can interact and understand natural language, generate hypotheses based on evidence, and learn as it goes. As part of this collaboration, Cognit, a joint venture between Mubadala Development Company and IBM, will be engaged to support the development and implementation of Watson based applications and Arabized, Watson capabilities.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the strength and value in bringing IBM Watson services to Dubai based citizens and further solidifies Cognit as a true partner for government to bring this transformative technology to the UAE. Everyone involved is excited to see how newly developed IT skills, created by allowing first-hand access to IBM Watson, can support prosperity and incubate the talent of tomorrow’s future pioneers,” said Amal Al Jabri, General Manager, Cognit.

Fostering skills in Dubai is a key focus of this collaboration. Students and faculty members from leading universities in Dubai can also enroll in the IBM Skills Academy where IBM will provide a series of training sessions on cognitive, big data, cloud, security, social and analytics. The IBM Skills Academy Program is IBM's premier training and certification initiative for academia in the Middle East and Africa region.

In January 2017, IBM and the University of Dubai have already started delivering training to universities in the United Arab Emirates, under the theme of “Big Data Developer”. The training is designed to equip university faculty members and students with the skills and knowledge every Big Data expert needs.

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