ABU DHABI, 16th December 2018 (WAM) – The Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA) hosted its inaugural Hackfest in partnership with Microsoft. The four-day event brought together government delegates and Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence experts to collaborate, envision, learn, and develop AI applications and algorithms to empower Abu Dhabi’s government entities and employees to achieve more.
The event, which took place from 9 – 11 December at the Abu Dhabi EDITION hotel, is part of a strategic partnership between ADSSSA and Microsoft, that enables both organizations to collaborate on developing an AI roadmap for Abu Dhabi and incorporate smart-technologies for digital transformation. The event demonstrated the power of AI technologies to government delegates and enabled them to experience capabilities such as machine learning, advanced analytics, cognitive services, and natural-language processing – all powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform that enables them to engage citizens, empower employees, optimize government operations and transform services.
Dr. Rauda Al Saadi, Director General, ADSSSA, said: “In line with the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the Authority has been proactively engaged in boosting Abu Dhabi’s bid to move towards a knowledge-driven economy. ADSSSA remains keen to drive efforts to transform Abu Dhabi into a global hub for technological innovation and we consider the development of a strategic AI program with Microsoft as another step forward to accelerate the Emirate’s digital transformation journeys through the Abu Dhabi Government Entities and add value to our customer-centric approach in the delivery of services to the public. While moving closer to the achievement of our goals in this direction, ADSSSA seeks to ensure service excellence across a multitude of services provided by various government entities in Abu Dhabi.”
During the event, attendees were invited to present various challenges to Microsoft’s engineers and data scientists, and collaborate with them to develop prototype applications of quick and efficient solutions that use a combination of cloud-based AI tools.
“As the region looks to the future through national Vision programmes, the Abu Dhabi government continues to show great leadership in the field of Artificial Intelligence.” Said Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf.
“This Hackfest initiative demonstrates the emirate’s efforts to draw upon the power of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge – and bring continual improvements to the lives of the country’s citizens and residents. We are honoured to collaborate and support ADSSSA’s ambitions – and will continue bringing our expertise in AI to the governments, organisations, and to the people of the UAE.”
The ADSSSA AI Hackfest was designed around two tracks. The first track focuses on Machine Learning and Deep Learning Scenarios to develop algorithms and design models that can provide predictive insights, better decision making, and improve government services and operations. While the other track engages government delegates to utilize Microsoft Cognitive Services in order to improve Government operations to increase accuracy, apply automation, and infuse those capabilities in Government applications, in addition to the chatbot solutions for internal and external communication channels.
Entities attended the ADSSSA AI Hackfest include Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Abu Dhabi Food & Control Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Abu Dhabi Exchange, Department of Finance, Department of Community Development, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, Abu Dhabi Statistics Center and Abu Dhabi Sewage Services.
A recent Microsoft study revealed that more than 29% of organizations in the Gulf region plan to adopt Artificial intelligence, and over half (51%) named cloud computing a priority. With the rise in uptake of its cloud services and in response to the overwhelming encouragement from regional customers, Microsoft announced earlier this year that it will build two dedicated cloud datacenters, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, that will deliver its trusted services to the Middle East. Governments in the region can make the most out of the Microsoft Cloud by availing themselves of enterprise-grade reliability, security and performance, combined with data residency and the broadest compliance.