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After the Jakarta edition of World AI Show, Trescon hosted the MENA edition of the global AI conference on Monday. The show saw a high-level participation from 400+ global technology leaders and AI experts who came together to discuss emerging trends, intractable challenges and the future potentials of artificial intelligence in a post COVID-19 era.

WAIS provided a digital platform for industry leaders in the artificial intelligence space to discuss and showcase innovative AI-based solutions in an exciting and immersive virtual environment that included private consultation rooms, Q&A sessions, private networking rooms and more.

The event featured a mix of powerful keynotes, panel discussions, technology use-cases and insightful sessions from global AI experts. Some of the key areas of discussion included how governments can build trust in AI while fighting the pandemic; how COVID-19 will transform the automation landscape; driving CX continuity in a crisis and the future of AI in Cyber-Security amidst COVID-19; to name a few.

WAIS opened with a panel discussion on ‘Transforming into an AI company Post-Crisis’. The panel consisted of speakers from a diverse group of consumer-oriented industries such as mobility, retail, healthcare and insurance. “The Covid-19 outbreak has hugely affected the travel industry. In some areas of mobility, we have seen a drop of up to 80% of our volumes,” said speaker and panellist Mohamad Charafeddine, who leads Mobility Engineering, Infra and AI at Careem, UAE. While he shared a few interesting statistics, he also added, “The silver lining is that with everyone staying at home, we are seeing an acceleration of digital transformation in the region.”

From a government’s viewpoint, Latifa Alshehhi, Head of Smart Data Section for the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority of UAE spoke about how governments in the UAE are working together to harness the power of data. She said, “One of the initiatives we have launched during the crises is the Open Data Race – a competition to unlock the power of data in fourteen government entities. We were able to collect more than 250 data sets in a ten-year time series.”

Lt. Colonel. Dr. Hamad Khalifa ​Al Nueimi, Head of Telecom Division for Abu Dhabi Police and speaker on the government panel said, “The implementation of AI has helped in ensuring the safety of people during the pandemic. We have adopted algorithms in our radar cameras installed on highways and streets for issuing tickets and fines, not as a means of punishment but rather to ensure that people stay at home safely.”

Andrew Tsonchev, Director of Technology at Darktrace is a celebrated technical Cybersecurity expert whose comments have been featured on international media including CNBC and BBC World. In his tech-talk, he threw light on offensive AI and the ways in which threat actors are beginning to use ML and AI to automate and improve their attacking capabilities. He said, “The explosion in 5G infrastructure is creating a massive increase in the number of devices and the degree of connectivity, especially in industrial applications. So, there is a complexity problem here. The scale increases so much that it becomes difficult for humans to monitor and protect these networked environments. At Darktrace, we are using Machine Learning and AI to automate detection and response to deal with these kinds of sophisticated threats.”

Raed Hafez, CEO of ElGrocer said, “When Covid-19 hit, the grocery industry saw a significant shake-up. The in-store experience has transformed to online. In less than a few weeks, we have seen about 400% increase in our orders and a higher increase in our gross value. Although this demand was positive, it increased all the physical activities for the retailers and online market places. We looked at all the areas that got impacted and how technology could help us in dealing with this. Nuummite helped us identify the best processes to prioritize, to give us the best return on our investment. This has greatly benefited our retailers and consumers.”

Other insightful sessions also included a presentation from Matthias Schindler, Head of AI Innovations for BMW on AI innovations in the Automotive Industry. Panel discussions on reimagining strategy for the age of COVID-19 and transforming into an AI company post-crisis that included speakers Laila Abdullah Al Hadhrami, Digital Transformation & Change Management Expert – Ministry of Technology & Communications MTC, Oman and Mohamed Abdel-Aal, Head of Digital Experience and Innovation at KAUST, Saudi Arabia respectively;

A tech talk on scaling beyond RPA with Hyperautomation for IT and business by Uday Birajdar, CEO and Co-Founder of AutomationEdge; a presentation on conversational AI for better customer experience by Mohammad Zughayer, Business Development Director for Arabot; to name a few.

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