First Expo2020, then the Middle East: UPS targets growth in the Middle East
Expo 2020 Dubai has chosen leading global logistics firm UPS to handle the logistics operations for World Expo 2020 Dubai, which is expected to attract millions of visitors between its opening day on October 20, 2020 through April 10, 2021.
With more than 180 countries expected to participate and hundreds of thousands of visitors on peak days, the Expo will be one the most complex logistics projects UPS has tackled.
As Official Logistics Partner, UPS will provide more than 27,000 square meters of warehouse space, equivalent to four soccer fields, and a team of 1,000 employees during the Expo. The team will rely on expertise as logistics sponsor in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The partnership agreement was signed by his Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, and Jean-Francois Condamine, UPS President of the Indian Sub-continent, Middle East and Africa (ISMEA).
The Expo 2020 theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” provides a platform to foster creativity, innovation and collaboration globally. “Mobility is one of the key pillars of Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau. “We see it as the bridge to opportunity by connecting people, goods and ideas and providing easier access to markets, knowledge and innovation. UPS will play a key role – not only during Expo 2020 Dubai but long after the doors close in 2021.”
Operating in the region since 1989, UPS will help establish Dubai as a transportation hub for global commerce connecting trade from the Middle East to China, Africa, Europe and the U.S.
“We plan to expand UPS’s presence in the region by establishing capacity, technology and staff capabilities to serve customers shipping to and through Dubai, long after the Expo concludes,” said David Abney, UPS Chairman and CEO. “An undertaking of this scale and sophistication requires a next generation network that is smart, efficient, and integrated. We share a vision of what the logistics of tomorrow will look like.”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”