To understand how emerging technologies will transform markets, industries and the lives of individuals all over the world, Booz Allen Hamilton partnered with Ipsos to survey an international audience of 400 tech elites and 1,000 general population respondents on how they perceive the future of technological development.
Governments across the world are increasingly leveraging technology in their policy decision-making to support diversification, sustainability, and the development of versatile and resilient economic systems. These technologies have given rise to the “digital citizen” with uninhibited access to information. The stage is now set for technology to truly revolutionize governments and pave the way for them to meet their goals.
“The GCC is moving toward technological development where IoT enabled platforms, artificial intelligence and automated systems are being integrated into broader domains of industry, commerce, and civil life. As regional governments continue to embrace these technologies and incorporate them more comprehensively into their infrastructure, it will be necessary to anticipate the socio-economic opportunities and risks that increased connectivity, efficiency and security will produce,” Souheil Moukaddem, Executive Vice President and leader of Booz Allen Hamilton MENA said.
“As emerging technologies accelerate social and economic disruption on an unprecedented scale today, regional governments are harnessing the potential of these trends, setting defined goals and objectives, and integrating them strategically in national agendas. This will build stronger collaboration between the public and private sector and help in realizing visions of innovation, efficiency, sustainability and universal connectivity,” Fady Kassatly, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton MENA added.
The trends identified by Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos, where technology will change the world, include:
- Investments in Machine Intelligence & Autonomous Vehicles will continue to grow and change the way we experience the world
The artificial intelligence market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is forecasted to generate USD 1.4 billion by 2025 according to Statista. As international governments and industry leaders begin experimenting with machine-intelligence operating platforms, both the public and private sector will make investments to optimize their organizational models, automate key operational processes, and implement the byproducts of accelerating technological innovation into their existing systems.
According to the survey, 92 per cent of tech elites felt that machine intelligence was somewhat or very likely to impact how people experience the world, and 90 per cent felt that autonomous and driverless vehicles will do the same. Furthermore, the exploration of the effective deployment of autonomous vehicles is supporting regional ambitions to leverage emerging technologies for energy diversification and economic growth.
- Investment in smart cyber will improve how governments serve their citizens
When asked which emerging trends will be most impactful in how governments serve their citizens, cybersecurity emerged as the most impactful enabler for government services. The tech elites, on the other hand, responded that universal connectivity will have a greater impact by extending the reach and speed of government services.
The global WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017 was a wake up call for the public and private sector to the increasingly sophisticated cyber-threat landscape. The UAE successfully averted 561 cyberattacks on public and private websites in the first half of 2017, leading to widespread actions to address structural cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Saudi Arabia has experienced its own share of attempted cyberattacks in 2017 and has created the National Authority for Cybersecurity to regulate and oversee the protection of networks, information technology systems, and data security architecture within the Kingdom.
The formation of organisations that are devoted to enhancing cross-sector cybersecurity capabilities through strategic partnerships with private sector entities and security providers will continue to develop in 2018.
- Technology will transform industries – and faster than you think
Global tech elites and the local populations were asked to rate the industries that stand to change the most from these technologies as part of the survey research. Participants from the general population overwhelmingly responded that the technology, manufacturing and energy sectors stand to experience the most change.
While the tech elites indicated that the accelerated rate of innovation and emerging technologies stand to have transformative effects across all industries verticals, the consensus among tech elites was that change is coming faster than the general population expects.
IoT already connects more than 10 billion devices worldwide and this number is expected to grow to 100 billion over the next five years. Kuwait is driving integration of IoT with various infrastructure developments by attracting international and regional companies into the market. The KSA IoT market as well as the IoT enabled M2M communication market is also estimated to become a USD 16.01 billion market by 2019, according to Micro Market Monitor.
These investments are stimulating demand for automation technologies that can drive efficiency in energy production and consumption, transportation systems, manufacturing and distribution, as well as supply chain management across industry verticals.
- Education and private sector investments to encourage technological innovation
According to the survey, tech elites and the public agree that investments in the private sector and education will be imperative to driving future technology innovation. Individual companies can no longer operate and succeed in silos and, consequently, will look to achieve broad partnerships that can better enable them to leverage emerging technologies.
On the educational front, the UAE Ministry of Education recently announced the launch of the National Science, Technology and Innovation (NSTI) Festival, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to encourage technological innovation by sparking the interest of UAE nationals in science, technology and innovation.
In parallel, specialized fields of study such as data science, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality are being more widely integrated into educational programs, mirroring the burgeoning importance of these sectors in today’s digital economy.
As these trends continue to evolve in MENA, Booz Allen Hamilton has outlined strategies that will assist the private and public sector to channel technology’s transformational power to address the key issues facing the region:
Nurturing the rise of the digital citizen: The way we live, work, and interact is changing fast. As we connect 24/7 and integrate so many new technologies, our governments must continue to adapt to an increasingly digital world. But there is also opportunity: universal connectivity, smart applications, chatbots, and more could deliver a better experience to citizens at less cost.
Issuing a national strategy for machine intelligence: No technology is growing in power and prevalence as quickly as machine intelligence. The GCC needs an official collective and focused strategy that defines our priorities, investments, and actions in both the public and private sectors.
Fostering public-private cyber partnerships: The public rated smart cyber as the technology that could benefit how the government serves its citizens. As things we rely on daily—from buildings and cars to household devices—become connected, the more vulnerable our businesses, privacy, and even safety become. Governments should use its unique role to enable private-sector collaboration through information-sharing organizations like Information Sharing and Analysis Centers.
Encouraging investment in innovation: The constantly accelerating pace of technology necessitates private sector investment in innovation and technology. We won’t succeed in isolation. We need to look beyond individual companies to broad partnerships to realize the full potential of emerging technologies.