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The possibility of the cloud: AI, open data and beyond

Gateway Gulf

With near unprecedented global digital transformation afoot, new technologies are shaping the way societies adapt to the opportunities and challenges of the future.

Here in the GCC, powered by the cloud and open data, governments are integrating services including mobile apps and one-stop e-service centres to create seamless customer journeys that encourage paperless transactions.

Meanwhile, the rise of autonomous vehicles is expected to ensure the connectivity of people and networks across cities in the region. And initiatives such as Smart Cities, Smart Tourism and the Future of Mobility have been implemented by Gulf nations to prepare for the rapid advance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

But now, with the GCC already seeing successful outcomes from these programmes, the region appears to be at a crossroads. More fledgeling technologies are emerging to empower the public sector – from artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things – yet the building of strong regulatory support systems is vital in guaranteeing the long-term security and sustainability of these new solutions.

While new avenues such as cloud computing offer improvements in terms of processing times and greater collaboration, these advantages must always be counterbalanced against ‘risks of the future’ that may not be accounted for in existing legislative frameworks. GCC government institutions and private sector firms must continually ask themselves how to take full advantage of new technologies – while still maintaining the requisite standards of security and robustness needed to power a nation.

The building blocks of digital initiatives – such as sensors, the cloud and big data analytics – have the potential to deliver significant value for GCC industries and wider society. But leaders from the regional public and private sectors now have an important choice to make – a choice that could radically shift the global data ecosystem into one that is more open, inclusive and interconnected: regulate for the future, or risk falling behind the times?

The Gateway Gulf Investor Forum brings together a host of global leaders and senior politicians for a series of deep-dive discussions focusing on regional transformation. To find out more and register your interest, go to