Finance and IT Execs to Gather in Dubai for Middle East Banking Innovation Summit
More than 400 C-level executives, IT experts, retail banking specialists and finance heads have confirmed to attend the region's biggest banking technology summit, taking place on September 29-30 2014 at the Jumeirah Emirates Tower in Dubai, UAE.
With heightened competition for tech-savvy customers in the market, banks with outdated systems and products are coming under pressure to invest in core banking technologies, fraud prevention solutions and data analytics software and will be looking to discuss these requirements at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014.
In its fourth year the event is gathering major local players including Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Arab National Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Doha Bank, and RAK Bank amongst international leaders HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Citibank to share case-studies, challenges and learn where to target IT spend in the coming year.
The Middle East is projected to reach $243 billion by 2018, which will represent 5.6 percent of worldwide IT spending estimated by Gartner with $211 billion in 2014 alone.
Tech giants Kaspersky, SAP, MasterCard, Nettitude, Temenos and HP will be looking to take advantage of the positive development and will be showcasing innovative solutions as banks prepare to modernize and digitize.
Google reports UAE having the highest usage of smartphones in the world at 75 percent; a trend that will push more business online and to mobile channels to keep up with customer expectations.
As banks prepare for the onset of digitisation across the organisation, new challenges in cyber security and increased regulatory requirements are brought into the limelight. Topics of major consideration for the industry also include Big Data analytics, core banking optimisation, mobile and social marketing, regulatory compliance and new payment solutions, and will be key focusses at the summit to be held in September.
Charlene Corrin, Producer of the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit, said: "The banking sector in the Middle East is one of the world's fastest growing markets, and with increased competition within this region it is no surprise that the Summit is growing in size once again."
"It's a very important platform for the banking industry decision-makers to connect with peers and technology vendors to learn how to apply innovation and focus IT spend where it is most needed."
For more information on the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014 visit www.bankinnovation-me.com
Nybl: Saudi Startup to Expand AI Solutions
According to co-founder Nour Alnahhas, nybl was formed for the greater good. A visual data mining and machine learning platform, the platform will help organisations streamline their operations. ‘We wanted to centralise our vision around AI and machine learning’, said Alnahhas. ‘Something not just for profit, but added value. Conscious capitalism’.
Nybl aims to democratise artificial intelligence by making it possible for anyone to build an AI solution. What website builders like Wix and Squarespace did for site design, nybl will do for AI—allowing even non-coders to feel comfortable creating solutions. In fact, Alnahhas calls it a ‘Shopify of AI’, or a third-party platform that helps businesses deliver better service.
With hubs in Kuwait, the UAE, North America, and India, nybl is focused on launching operations in Saudi Arabia, Alnahhas’s home country. When the company first launched, it was difficult to convince Saudi Arabian businesses to work with a startup. Yet now, nybl has proven itself. ‘We had support in the UAE, so now we’re coming back’, said Alnahhas.
Alnahhas has launched a pilot with Saudi Aramco and has slowly built partnerships with paper, heating, HVAC air conditioning, and manufacturing companies. In addition, the Saudi government has started to invest in the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Data and AI, which means that nbyl, as a tech startup, has finally gained credibility.
No War for Talent
One of the most critical parts of nybl’s expansion will be hiring the right individuals. Thankfully, there’s a current surplus of talented researchers, developers, and data scientists within the Kingdom. Like nybl’s Alnahhas—educated at the University of Houston, the Wharton School of Business, and INSEAD— many Saudi Arabians have benefited from government-sponsored education abroad.
Last year, Saudi Arabia signed several partnerships with tech firms to advance the Kingdom’s skills in artificial intelligence. ‘It’s exciting to be in Saudi Arabia where there’s alignment and support’, Alnahhas concluded. ‘You’re getting an increasing talent pool. And even old and big family conglomerates are finally changing to use AI’.