Oracle currently has six 'cloud regions' extending cover in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel. "Oracle’s sustained investment in the Middle East will create significant new career opportunities," says Mike Sicilia. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Generative AI – the thing that ChatGPT works on – has focussed the best of minds at Google and Microsoft, Amazon and other. But there is one tech giant not overawed by any of it – Oracle. For now.

“Thus far, generative AI has been used mostly in consumer scenarios – writing your resume or college essay,” said Mike Sicilia, Executive Vice-President – Global Industries, who is here for the CloudWorld event opening Wednesday in Abu Dhabi. “Our customers are running some of the most complex, complicated, and essential industries in the world.

“Generative AI has the possibility to be operationalized in these enterprise settings, but it is still early days. While every industry needs to take a measured approach, we are excited about the possibilities in healthcare.

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“For example, we are exploring how the combination of ambient listening and generative AI can automate highly manual processes like doctor’s notes and post visit care documents.”

And right now, Oracle still has lots going with the cloud, which Sicilia says is the ‘foundation of all digital technologies, including AI’.

“For years Oracle has embedded AI and machine learning capabilities directly into our business applications and cloud infrastructure to help customers process more data faster and cheaper in the context of their everyday workflows,” he added.

Mike Sicilia, Executive Vice-President – Global Industries
“Oracle’s AI strategy is to make AI pervasive across its business and industry applications and technology products, while also giving those customers who prefer to build their own AI Apps the ability to do so,” said Sicilia.

Middle East Inc. stick to high spending ways

Spending on cloud cover has been driving tech investments by Middle East enterprises, and forecasts are this cycle of spending still has ways to go. The need to continue with such investments would also be a cushion against the chances of a slowdown for the tech industry in the region.

IDC estimates Middle East spending on public cloud services to grow at a hefty 25 per cent and pass $10.4 billion in 2023. In the UAE, the same could grow at a CAGR of more than 26 per cent over the next five years and hit $3.2 billion by 2026.

That should nip any loose talk of a tech industry in recession in these markets.

“In the UAE and Saudi Arabia, we’ve continued to expand our presence with new cloud regions, tech solutions, and career opportunities for local talent,” said Sicilia. “In February, we announced an investment of $1.5 billion in Saudi Arabia to boost cloud capacity.”

It will see Oracle open a third ‘Cloud Region’ in Riyadh, which will join the one in Jeddah and that planned for Neom.

That means six cloud regions in the Middle East with three live in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Israel. “This is one of the fastest expansions by any major cloud provider in the region,” said Sicilia.

“Organisations have experienced several years of economic turmoil spanning the pandemic, inflation, supply chain disruptions, and more. Yet, these factors in many cases have become a catalyst to invest in cloud technologies that enable the agility businesses need to better navigate change in any form.

“For example, many of our hospitality customers used the slowdown of the pandemic to digitalize and move their core property management systems to the cloud. This has enabled them to more quickly adapt to everything from touchless interactions to adopting new business models for ancillary services to drive new revenue opportunities.”