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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Merger of AI and big data to steer businesses towards goals, say experts

Up to 97.2 per cent of global CEO-level executives say their companies are launching AI and big data initiatives

Ismail Abdulla, chief executive of Strata Manufacturing,  emphasised the importance of AI in enhancing business returns. Antonie Robertson/The National
Ismail Abdulla, chief executive of Strata Manufacturing,  emphasised the importance of AI in enhancing business returns. Antonie Robertson/The National

Artificial Intelligence (AI), coupled with big data analytics, could help industries to grow their businesses by understanding their customers better and offering them more customised services, said experts.

“The manufacturing sector generates maximum amount of data than any other industrial sector and AI is enabling us to correlate and understand it in a much more meaningful manner,” Ismail Abdulla, chief executive of Strata Manufacturing, which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment company Mubadala Investment Company, told The National.

“Understanding this data, through AI applications, has eventually helped us to overcome various challenges in the past.”

The big data and analytics software market, which in 2017 reached $54.1 billion globally, is expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 11.2 per cent, according to International Data Corporation. It has also predicted AI spending to reach $52.2bn in 2021. AI spending is expected to surge at a CAGR of 46.2 per cent over 2016-2021.

“Last year, we had shipped close to 10,000 parts globally and we got huge data through those transactions. Now we are using AI to dive deep into that data to derive best results for our customers,” said Mr Abdulla.

Under its research and development arm, Strata has created a digitisation division to execute a number of AI- and big data-related projects.

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Experts said that AI can also add value to future mobility by minimising human errors.

“Most of the transport modes that we use today are not designed around humans needs. AI can fill this immediate gap as it offers enormous possibility to redesign the passenger experience,” Bibop Gresta, chairman and co-founder of Hyperloop, told The National.

“Currently, we are experimenting with AI to redesign human experience and create mobility solutions that cater to the customers’ actual requirements."

Up to 97.2 per cent of global CEO-level executives affirm that their companies are investing in and launching new AI and big data initiatives, in a recent survey of NewVantage Partners, a strategic advisory firm based in Boston. Around 76.5 per cent of executives feel AI and big data are becoming closely interconnected and empowering each other within the organisations, added the survey.

“AI and big data have been real game changers for us. They have enabled us to install innovative capabilities in our ships in order to address the new-age demands,” said Eric Papin, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Paris-based Naval Group.

Naval specialises in marine defence and has its Middle East headquarters in Dubai.

“However, the main challenge is to master the AI technology in defence because it is mainly used in civilian activities. We are gradually mastering it and creating an augmented crew that is secure and capable of handling sensitive tasks.”

This year, the French government has announced plans to invest €1.5bn (Dh6.4bn) of public funding into AI by 2022 as part of a strategy to accelerate innovation.

“AI brings both Emirati and French communities together as we share the same goals,” Anne Guennec, president of French Business Group, Abu Dhabi.

“New prospects are opening up…. we can certainly contribute in the development of AI in the Emirates thanks to French technology and know-how.”