A new report from Accenture sheds light on regional companies’ tech appetite and readiness
The majority of business executives in the Middle East believe technology is firmly embedded in the daily activities of the region and that industries and governments are using it to transform their core operations and reshape methods of working and communicating, a new report says.
Eighty-three percent of Middle East businesses and IT executives agreed that through technology, companies are weaving themselves into people’s everyday lives – from ordering groceries online to bringing a yet-to-be-built Dubai penthouse to life in virtual reality – according to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2018 report. The IT company surveyed 6,400 related businesses and executives for its research.
Tech adoption is poised for growth as executives said they are prioritizing investments in artificial intelligence (64 percent) and the internet of things (68 percent) in the coming months.
“Countries across the Middle East region are committed to harnessing technology and the power of AI as an engine for economic growth and diversification,” said Alexis Lecanuet, regional managing director at Accenture Middle East and Turkey.
The UAE is the front-runner in the region, according to Accenture, which said the implementation of AI has the potential to boost economic growth by 1.6 percent of GDP, adding $182 billion (Dh668.3bn) to the economy by 2035.
In Saudi Arabia, use of AI is forecast to contribute more than 1 percent of GDP, adding $215bn to the kingdom’s economy by 2035.
“The UAE continues to witness the exponential speed at which technology is disrupting industries, and as a future-focused country, it is fortunate to have the mindset required to leverage these technology advancements,” said Mr. Lecanuet.
Examples of commitment to digital transformation range from Saudi Arabia’s vision for Neom, a planned mega-city that will implement AI for every resident, to the UAE’s strategy for AI, a major pillar of its Centennial 2071 objectives, which Omar Al Olama, the world’s first Minister of Artificial Intelligence, is helping to oversee.
The challenge for most is to keep up with the rapid pace of advancement. Seventy-seven percent of UAE executives surveyed agree that AI is advancing faster than their company’s pace of adoption. When it comes to understanding the extent to which employees understand how AI can be used within an organization, only 12 percent of the UAE executives reported their employees to have a full understanding of the process.