Dubai Internet City has a network of 1,600 business partners spanning across industries that include Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security and robotics Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE is seeing increased spending in technology helped in large part by the digital transformation.

The information and communication technology (ICT) spend could rise to $16.38 billion (Dh60.11 billion) through a 1.8 per cent gain over last year.

“The quest for digital transformation will drive investments in emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT, in manufacturing and transportation), Artificial Intelligence (to leverage data) and blockchain (public services, banking and financial sector, trade and distribution),” said Jyoti Lalchandani, group vice-president and regional managing director at International Data Corporation.

In the UAE, IoT’s market size is expected to be $555.48 million this year and $654.36 million in the next, while AI will grow from $35.93 million to $50.7 million. Of the $16.38 billion in total ICT spend, the major growth is coming from telecoms, at $8.66 billion.

Emerging technologies

“We believe that intelligent enterprises is the way companies have to evolve to be able to leverage all the emerging technologies that we hear about to bring into real-use cases,” said Gergi Abboud, senior vice-president and managing director at SAP Middle East South.

“Companies have to think about how to integrate blockchain, AI and IoT and make the best out of them into real-use cases,”

Walid Gomaa, regional vice-president for data centre and cloud solutions at Huawei Enterprise Business Group, said AI will be a game-changer for people and organisations. “The world is overwhelmed by the adoption of many AI applications. AI will open new avenues for economic growth, unlock new opportunities, and underpin the next leap forward into an intelligent world, where businesses, people, vehicles, homes and devices are fully connected,” he said.

Lalchandani said the public sector is leading the digital transformation initiatives followed by transportation, retail and telcos.

Consolidation

“We expect to see consolidation in the banking and financial service space in the next few quarters. The spend by public sector and large enterprises will see some moderate growth but the impact is on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and consumer sector.

“The SMBs are going to struggle this year related to economic challenges, inflation and VAT. So, the overall sentiment among consumers and SMBs is a lot weaker compared to last year.

"From the enterprise point of view, we are seeing strong growth in the cloud sector, software, IT services, security and mobile data services,” Lalchandani said.