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Walid Yehia, General Manager – UAE, Dell Technologies Image Credit: Supplied

The UAE is gearing up for a major shift in data management and the way businesses and even cities are managed and operated. This shift is underpinned by ambitious growth roadmaps, new technologies and adoption of knowledge-economies through digital transformation. Tech giant Dell, which sees the UAE as a priority market, is set to play a vital role in helping organisations develop new capabilities and adopt technology and strategically align their digital and business agenda with the country’s goals. Walid Yehia, General Manager – UAE, Dell Technologies, sheds light on how the company will help customers accomplish their transformation initiatives and thrive in a fast-evolving business landscape.

Having announced a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy for 2031, do you think the UAE is on track to positioning itself as a global leader in artificial intelligence in the next decade?

Starting with the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031, the UAE has been taking significant steps to position the nation as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) by 2031. This includes plans to be an early adopter of AI technology across vital sectors including, government, energy, logistics, healthcare, tourism, cyber security etc.

In the coming years, a number of vital sectors will witness an immediate positive impact from incorporating AI technologies across their businesses. According to PWC estimates, the UAE will enjoy the most growth in the Middle East region, with AI expected to account for 13.6 per cent of GDP by 2030. The UAE has also set ambitious targets to develop regional capabilities and become a net exporter of AI. Plus, government-led initiatives such as the National Program for Coders, which Dell Technologies has been an integral part of, aligns to these targets by encouraging innovation among coders and fostering young talent to develop AI solutions to meet the future demands. In fact, I’m happy to share that through the ‘AI for Kids’ National Training Program, we enrolled 1000 students, from 40-plus nationalities, aged 9-17, who learnt the basics of AI and coding.

Through the strategy, the country reaffirms its vision to become a global hub for AI. It is driven to establish an incubator for AI innovations, attract and train talent for jobs of the future, encourage research capabilities, provide a data-driven infrastructure to support AI experiments, and optimise AI governance and regulations. The UAE is ready to embrace technological advances and it remains on track to ensure artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of business, daily lives and government services.

How significant a role will Dell Technologies play in this digital transformation path that the UAE has charted out?

Dell Technologies has been an integral part of the UAE’s economy and remains a key contributor to the nation’s digital transformation journey.

As the country ramps up its growth plans, our primary focus is to help organisations accelerate national and business transformation initiatives with speed and purpose as we work together to power the nation’s innovation agenda. UAE is a priority market for Dell Technologies and our work spans across almost every industry from healthcare, banking, telecom, to oil and gas and the public sector. We provide customers with the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio spanning from edge to core to cloud.

Dell is well positioned to help organisations develop new capabilities and adopt technology and strategically align their digital and business agenda with the goals of the UAE. We aim to build the strongest relationships as we work towards helping the nation realise the vision of a smart, innovation-backed economy that offers its citizens and residents a sustainable future and improved quality of life.

With the unprecedented growth in business data that will accompany these advances, robust data management systems will be all the more needed. How equipped are we in this regard?

Data is one of the most valuable business assets, in a digital economy, yet today, it stands to be a significant barrier to growth. In fact, according to the Dell Technologies 2020 Digital Transformation Index, 90 percent of organisations in UAE have fast-tracked, at least, some of their digital transformation programs over the past year – accomplishing in a few months, what would normally have taken years. Yet, the same study revealed that 'data overload and inability to extract insights from data' is the third-highest barrier to digital transformation, up from 11th place in 2016.

Furthermore, the study states that 70 percent of the UAE respondents gather data faster than they can analyse and use, yet 71 percent say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide. Navigating this modern-day paradox and turning vast amounts of data into actionable outcomes can seem daunting, especially when on a path to digital transformation. For the UAE, this influx of data presents key growth opportunities to drive business continuity and remain relevant and resilient amid change. Creating a data-ready culture is imperative and investing in technology to automate and scale is key.

At Dell Technologies, we empower regional organisations to tackle these concerns by offering our tailored end-to-end infrastructure solutions that not only support a data-driven work culture that is capable of predicting the future and is also equipped to harness data to achieve better business results, faster.

What are the solutions that Dell Technologies provide in intelligent data management that sets it apart from its competitors?

We live in an era where the volume and types of data are exploding; more data is being created at the edge; and the speed with which data needs to be acted on is becoming more time-critical.

As data becomes both more voluminous and business-critical, organisations need data management solutions that can fill a broad range of objectives. Dell Technologies delivers the infrastructure, tools, and processes that help organisations create modern data pipelines that rapidly reduce the time between data creation and innovation across private and public cloud out to the edge. Dell Technologies provides intelligent data management hardware, software and solutions that help organisations of all sizes to simplify data management, reduce storage costs and be prepared to protect data now and in the future as the data landscape evolves.

Global spending on smart city technologies has grown exponentially and is expected to increase further by 2025. How prepared is Dell in dealing with the massive spike in demand for data management, scalability and security needed to make cities more efficient?

Smart cities play a crucial role in making our urban environments safer, cleaner and more sustainable. As we move into the zetta byte era of data-driven innovation, technology will power our collective quest for a more sustainable society.

5G, Edge computing and AI will all work together to enable the collection, analysis and instantaneous action in response to vast amounts of data. This will empower us to live our lives more sustainably. As 5G goes mainstream, edge computing will leap into action, transforming what is possible, as data grows exponentially. We believe edge computing will support post-crisis recovery efforts, creating new business opportunities, while helping them operate in more efficient and adaptable ways. Edge, combined with IoT and 5G, will vastly improve remote work and will enhance manufacturing and industrial applications.

According to Markets and Markets report, edge computing is set to grow globally to $87.3 billion by 2026. The Middle East region anticipates similar growth prospects propelled by the various digital initiatives that is currently underway. The deployment of edge computing will reduce the flow of unnecessary data to centers which will cut down on resources used to cool data centers and enable more sustainable data management.

As a global leader in data protection technologies, Dell is firmly positioned to provide software, hardware and data management solutions that enable organisations to simplify their data landscape while optimising workloads and securing data assets.

The UAE has already made great strides in developing smart cities and has a clear strategy for the future. In what ways will future advances rebalance the equation of urban living here?

Technology can revolutionise the way cities are managed, allowing us to use resources more sustainably. For instance, digital transformation focused on automation and big data, will have a central role in building a sustainable society. Data will drive our push towards a circular economy and empower us to live sustainably. Building circularity into our cities with enhanced connectivity will enable further adaption, and respond to the need for healthier, sustainable urban spaces. It, however, starts with developing truly digital cities centred around the people living there and creating solutions for them to live more sustainability. Dell Technologies is committed to the circular economy, where a central part of our circular design is to consider sustainability at every stage of a product’s lifecycle –from the initial concept to its use and eventual recycling. We believe, sustainability and green IT solutions must lie at the centre of every digital transformation strategy.

Technologies like AI, IoT and AR are the first signs of digital transformation. In the fast transforming digital landscape in the region, where do you see Dell Technologies in terms of participation and contribution in the years to come?

The UAE sits on the cusp of a major shift underpinned by ambitious growth roadmaps, new technologies and a drive to foster knowledge-economies through digital transformation. At Dell Technologies, our primary focus is to help our customers accomplish their transformation initiatives and thrive in a fast-evolving business landscape. Over the last 24 months, customers looked to Dell Technologies for our end-to-end product lines to transform their IT strategies and infrastructure. From creating remote workforces with our leading line up of laptops and monitors to virtualised infrastructure – to protecting critical data and applications, we have best-of-breed products that can cater to anything our customers need. Our aim is to democratise technology by giving our customers the freedom and flexibility to continue their investment in IT infrastructure and evolve their digital transformation journey.

We’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship and are committed partners to our UAE customers. Looking beyond 2022, and as our customers embark on their digital transformation journey, and prepare for the fourth industrial revolution, Dell Technologies is committed to making transformation real for organisations. We look forward to not only strengthening our position as trusted advisors to our customers and partners, but to also help UAE businesses chart a successful digital roadmap for the future.