Five of the Best Events to Attend in the Middle East
Keeping abreast of latest industry trends, new products, new investment opportunities and new ways of thinking has never been easier with the plethora of industry sector exhibitions and conferences held in the Middle East.
There are hundreds of events to choose from across the region covering many sectors including those that are the biggest economy boosters for the area such as oil and gas, banking and finance, and the ever-growing retail market.
Here are our five of the best:
1 Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014
More than 400 C-level executives are expected to attend this year’s event which has fast become the premier banking technology conference in the GCC.
Among them will be IT experts, retail banking specialists and senior finance professionals all eager to learn more of the opportunities that this rapidly growing sector in the Middle East is providing.
With the United Arab Emirates (UAE) fast becoming a key international trading and transaction hub and with the local retail and hospitality sectors booming it is expected that the global Islamic finance industry is set for double-digit growth this year.
This not-to-be missed event will cover crucial issues such as how banks and financial institutions meet the challenges of compliance and risk management. Many of them will be investing in flexible technology solutions that move away from the outdated legacy systems.
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Dr Marwan Barakat, Group Chief Economist of Bank Audi and Zubair Ahmed, Vice President, Head of IT & Business Innovation, Emirates Islamic Bank.
WHERE: Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai
WHEN: September 29 & 30
2 Abu Dhabi Conference
Aimed at both government and private sector leaders the conference highlights the many opportunities that exist for investment in Abu Dhabi’s diverse economy.
Representatives from a wide range of sectors will attend including power, water, infrastructure and housing, real estate, tourism, healthcare, education, transport, manufacturing and banking and finance.
This annual event provides a real chance for attendees to find out how they can profit from some of the world’s most significant projects and promises access to the most powerful players in the region.
WHERE: Venue to be confirmed
WHEN: December 8 & 9 2014.
CONTACT: +971 (0) 4 81 80313
3 Emerging Markets Retail Summit
The key objective of the summit is to provide a platform for the key influencers within the sector to discuss a wide range of topics and develop a broader understanding of the many emerging opportunities within the retail market.
The conference will focus on expansion strategies and retailing reality in some of the hottest markets of Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Global retailers will divulge their strategies and innovative approaches to expand successfully in the emerging economies of GCC and beyond.
The spotlight will also be fixed on areas such as supermarkets and luxury retailing in this prime event set to attract senior executives and heads of international expansion.
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Nisreen Shocair, President Virgin Megastore Middle East and Dr Jannie Chan Tay, Executive Vice-Chairman The Hour Glass and President of the Singapore Retailers Association.
WHERE: Burj Al Arab, Jumeira, Dubai
WHEN: November 10 & 11, 2014
CONTACT: Kat Eletskih
4 Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference 2015
Organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers, it will be the 19th annual event and will showcase some of the oil and gas industry’s largest corporations.
It will enable attendees to explore new technologies, business opportunities and partnerships and include an exhibition covering 14,800sqm of floorspace.
The most established event of its kind featuring products and services from the sector and all areas of the upstream business, this three-day event regularly attracts some 7,000 visitors.
SPEAKERS INCLUDE: More than 300 quality technical presentations and panel sessions led by vice presidents and CEOs from within the sector.
WHERE: Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre
WHEN: March 8-11, 2015
CONTACT: +971 4 457 5800
5 Riyadh Travel Fair
Leading travel and tourism companies from the Gulf Region will converge on Riyadh for the fourth annual fair which aims to give an insight into the world of tourist products, services and investments.
The fair aims to bring international manufacturers and suppliers under one roof and allow them to connect with buyers, agents and distributors.
The event has become a major travel industry fixture and also welcomes leading officials from the Gulf region and international markets.
WHERE: Riyadh Four Seasons Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
WHEN: April 14-17 2015
CONTACT: +966 01 466 5064
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.”