Microsoft Azure lays platform for BetKing’s gaming success
Microsoft is not simply the supplier of BetKing’s tech infrastructure, but also provides guidance and support for important stages of its digital transformation, including migrating to the cloud, and utilising tools and services such as Synapse Analytics, Azure Databricks and Azure Data Factory.
The Microsoft account team’s relationship with BetKing and the team behind their platform began in Summer 2019, while before that time BetKing worked primarily with Microsoft partners, said Adrian Gatt, iGaming Business Development Manager.
Eva Angelopoulou, who is responsible for Azure and its Data and AI technologies, said: “Initially we migrated the whole infrastructure onto Azure, to ensure agility with minimum maintenance and administration, and they maintained their own on-premise data center as Disaster Recovery site. In the second phase, we moved that over as well.”
Microsoft provided BetKing with technical guidance, governance and best practices, and involved a team of Azure engineers to ensure a smooth transition. “We have invested a lot of effort in streamlining the support experience and discussed their concerns with regards to regulation and potential hybrid approach to cover data sovereignty needs, as iGaming is a highly regulated industry,” she added.
Gatt said its primary focus is to support the organisation as it goes through its M&A cycle, and enhance the platform’s monitoring. “We are making sure the customer’s Azure platform is more resilient in view of expansion into new markets, helping modernise applications and infrastructure, develop and infuse AI into their platform, and enhance Azure skills of BetKing’s technical team through our skilling initiatives,” he said.
“BetKing now has a cloud-only Azure set up but this is an ongoing journey, with more cloud services and continuous modernisation of applications and infrastructure.”
Microsoft ensures that all capabilities that can bring value are recommended and adopted – a case in point being the use of Azure Synapse, an integrated analytics service that can be implemented across data warehouses and big data systems.
Angelopoulou said BetKing has identified that data is the future and will be channelling investment into reporting, insights and machine learning.
“Big data analytics has been discussed throughout many workshops and it is our plan to support them with core investment in piloting new AI technologies to achieve personalised recommendations, fraud detection, VIP prediction, bonus recommendations, churn predictions and digital agents to help users through the platform, and any other AI tools which can help them gain market share and grow their business.”
Consultative services are also a part of Microsoft’s armoury, such as sharing best practice, ideas and trends in the gaming industry, and discussing ready Microsoft partners’ solutions that can be used to improve end users’ experience or grow the platform, thereby improving time-to-market and innovation journeys.
“Our mission is to ensure that we’re seen as a partner that enables BetKing to make an increased impact in their markets – we don’t want to be seen as just a vendor, and our customers to be dependent on us. We want them to be independent with us,” said Gatt.
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’.