US software company Oracle opened a technology collaboration centre in Abu Dhabi that aims to help public and private sector organisations leverage the use of emerging technology to boost their bottom lines.
The Al Mustaqbal Oracle Innovation Hub on Reem Island will promote the integration of innovation into companies to streamline their cost and operational efficiencies, the Texas-based company said at the launch on Wednesday.
It will focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things, as well as supporting the development of the UAE capital’s knowledge economy.
The hub is part of Oracle’s continued investment in the UAE and the second after the Zayed Innovation Hub in Dubai. The company declined to disclose the investment cost of the centre.
Representatives from Abu Dhabi government entities attended the launch, including from the Ministry of Interior, the Department of Finance, the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), Abu Dhabi Customs, the Human Resources Authority and sovereign wealth fund Mubadala.
“Data is the beginning,” Mohamed Al Askar, director general of the ADDA, said in a keynote. "We spend huge time using technology, changing and impacting our interaction. The journey will never stop.
“We always want to explore and do something new. And along that journey and transformation we always seek the right partners.”
GCC states are attracting a large number of global technology companies because of the rise of tech-focused young consumers and an evolving digital landscape in the region.
Data centre companies have been a key factor in helping economies keeping in step with the rapidly-evolving digital landscape.
The UAE is ranked first in the Middle East in the 2021 edition of the Global Innovation Index, cementing its status as among the world’s leading countries in adopting the latest technology.
Oracle and a host of other global technology companies have flocked to the Emirates to set up various facilities to support the country's technological push.
The company currently has 33 cloud regions globally, with three in the Middle East, and the most recent one opened in Abu Dhabi last November. The Jeddah and Dubai regions were inaugurated in 2020.
Microsoft and Amazon, among the world's most valuable companies, have also opened their respective cloud regions in the UAE.
"We are seeing an increasing demand on how the government and the private sector leverages data and analytics," Leopoldo Boado, senior vice president for business applications at Oracle, told The National.
"The main challenge is how we use and take advantage of the value of this data. Data centres have that maximum level of security and sovereignty."
The global cloud computing market was valued at $368.97 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of almost 16 per cent from 2022 to 2030, according to Grand View Research.
Global spending on public cloud services, meanwhile, is expected to rise by more than 20 per cent annually to $495bn this year — nearly $84bn more than what was spent in 2020 — and hit $600bn in 2023, according to research firm Gartner.
Additionally, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology had announced that it would adopt the Smart Industry Readiness Index, the global standard used by the World Economic Forum, to help local companies use Fourth Industrial Revolution technology to boost productivity and their contribution to the economy.
Oracle's new innovation hub aims to help public entities and private businesses to co-innovate to be able to capture the new opportunities in the market, Mr Boado said.
“There is a big shift right now among chief financial officers, mainly on cost reductions. The main focus is on the top line and how they can increase revenues."
In addition to corporates, the programme will also support start-ups and small and medium enterprises, both of which are major pillars of the UAE's economic engine.
Mr Al Askar said: “The UAE provides the ecosystem, talent and support to explore innovation. We always want to be the first in digital transformation."