Qatar on path towards a future powered by intelligent technology

Doha, Qatar: In an era of rapid technological advancements, Qatar has taken deliberate initiatives to move forward and embrace the use of advanced and smart technology in various aspects of its development and progress. “Qatar has set itself on a path towards a future powered by intelligent technology.”

This was according to Hassan Jassim Al Sayed, Advisor to the Minister and Chairman of the Artificial Intelligence Committee at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) speaking at an event yesterday titled “From Imagination to Reality: Rise with Microsoft AI” held at Fairmont Doha.

The event, organised by Microsoft in collaboration with MCIT, was attended by key officials, including MCIT Minister, H E Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai and President of the Civil Service and Government Development Bureau, H E Abdulaziz bin Nasser bin Mubarak Al Khalifa. It aimed to showcase the potential of AI in enhancing productivity, driving innovation, solving societal challenges, and advancing Qatar’s digital economy.

Al Sayed in his speech emphasised Qatar’s strategic investment in AI research, development, and implementation through its National AI strategy.

He explained that the country recognises the transformative power of AI. 

The state  aims to revolutionise various sectors by fostering collaborations between academia, research institutions, and industry, and by attracting top talent and facilitating knowledge-sharing, Qatar aims to accelerate AI advancements.

“As a demonstration, Qatar has leveraged AI to create compelling customer experience, the integration of AI in transportation systems has optimised traffic flow, reduced congestion and enhanced overall mobility in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. By leveraging data analytics and AI algorithms, Qatar has developed smart, great and efficient management systems contributing to the nation’s sustainability goals.”

He also noted that partnerships play a crucial role in this era of rapid technological advancements and the collaboration between MCIT and Microsoft stands as a testament to the power of partnerships. Driven by a shared commitment to empowering individuals, businesses, and governments, this collaboration has resulted in initiatives such as the digital centre of excellence, which delivers digital literacy and skills development programmes.

“By equipping people with the necessary skills, MCIT and Microsoft have laid the foundation for a more inclusive and prosperous future.”

Al Sayed has also stressed that MCIT has embarked on a journey to enhance technical capabilities by recognising the potential of Cloud computing which refers to the provision of computer system resources, including data storage and computing power, in an on-demand manner, without requiring the user to actively manage them.

“AI is a game-changer that will shape the future of our society so by embracing this technology and working together, we can unlock its full potential and drive digital transformation and innovation at a scale,” he concluded.

Lana Khalaf, General Manager of Microsoft Qatar, expressed optimism about the unique potential that Qatar can achieve through the adoption of AI across all levels, including start-ups, small, medium, and large enterprises in various sectors. She said that the collaboration between Microsoft and MCIT aims to develop a nationwide digital transformation roadmap, providing organisations in Qatar with access to advanced AI models and building the digital capabilities of the local workforce.

The event also witnessed the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) aimed at accelerating the digital transformation of various sectors in Qatar. For instance, the partnership between Sprinklr and Microsoft empowers the Civil Service and Government Development Bureau’s Sharek platform with the capabilities of Azure OpenAI Service. Another MoU was signed between Microsoft and Vodafone, targeting the revolutionisation of customer experience by leveraging Microsoft Digital Contact Center Technologies.

Furthermore, the event presented the Microsoft 365 Copilot’s experiences and brought attention to the significance of cybersecurity in the era of AI. It emphasised the role of solutions like Microsoft Security Copilot in empowering organisations and businesses to enhance their security measures and safeguard customer data more effectively.

The event is also timely, given that AI innovations in the Middle East are now moving beyond research labs and being applied in practical ways. AI tools have become indispensable partners in numerous sectors, enabling users and fueling progress in areas such as research, development, and productivity. According to PwC, AI has the potential to contribute around $320bn to the Middle East economy by 2030, which is equivalent to 11% of the region’s GDP. Additionally, AI is projected to contribute approximately $45.9bn, or 8.2% of GDP, to the economies of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

Qatar has already witnessed the positive impact of Microsoft AI services across various sectors. Government organisations, start-ups, SMEs, and large businesses are leveraging these services to boost productivity, increase efficiency, enhance security, reduce costs, and drive innovation.

The event has also showcased how organisations like Sidra Medicine, Kahramaa, Skipcash, Qatar Foundation, and the National Museum of Qatar are utilising AI to achieve their goals.

Additionally, Qatari startups, including Droobi, Skycash, Waqta, eHaris, Avey, and VectAI, are harnessing AI to create outstanding solutions and services.

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