Tuesday, May 17, 2022 | Shawwal 15, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

ODP launches cloud AI service in Oman

As one of the vital enablers contributing to the improvement of the productivity in economic sectors and a key pillar driving the national economy for technological transformation, Oman Data Park (ODP), the Sultanate's first IT-managed and cloud services provider, has launched Nebula AI service by joining the NVIDIA partner Network (NPN) Cloud Service Provider Partner Programme.


The launching ceremony was held under the auspices of Dr Ali bin Amer al Shidani, Under-Secretary for Communications and Information Technology at the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, in presence of high-level VIP delegations, business, and media representatives.


The launching of the Nebula AI platform, the first of its kind in Oman, comes in line with Oman’s vision for 2040 and within the Sultanate’s exerted efforts to keep pace with the latest technological developments in the field of computing, compatible with the requirements of the fourth industrial revolution.


The Sultanate had advanced 11 positions in the government's readiness index for implementing in 2020, while it ranked 48th globally and sixth in the Middle East, according to the Oxford Insight Index.


Highlighting the importance of AI for Oman’s economy, Eng Maqbool al Wahaibi, CEO, Oman Data Park stated: “Al is transforming every industry, whether it is by improving customer relationships in financial services, streamlining manufacturer supply chains, or helping doctors deliver better outcomes for patients. It gives us great pleasure to be at the forefront to provide this platform, which will enhance the technological transformation processes in the Sultanate in order to accelerate the utilisation of AI in various economic fields in Oman.”


“As the launching of Nebula AI service will contribute to sealing Oman’s entry into the world of AI, Oman Data Park has practically proven its success of bringing innovative services to Oman to fuel further economic growth. Coupled with our impeccable track record of over nine years of service in the cloud services industry, we now look forward to helping businesses leap ahead on innovation and profitability through the use of AI both locally and beyond,” Maqbool al Wahaibi added.


Joining virtually for the event, Jaap Zuiderveld, Vice president, EMEA at NVIDIA, stated, “AI is transforming every industry, helping nations and business to solve their biggest challenges in agriculture, healthcare, climate and more. As an NVIDIA NPN partner, Oman Data Park is helping to grow the nation’s AI expertise to create new opportunities with the world leading AI system.“


Al Wahaibi also said that the utilisation of AI services is considered an important factor for improving the productivity of many economic sectors, such as banking and finance, energy, healthcare logistics, and retail. It saves time and money and enhances operational efficiencies, as well as leads to an increase in revenue. AI also enhances the performance of sophisticated intellectual tasks such as decision-making and problem solving, as well as increases customer services proactively.


The Nebula AI service platform is powered by the NVIDIA DGX A100 system, which is suitable for all AI workloads, offering unprecedented compute density, performance, and flexibility in the world’s first 5 peta FLOPS AI system. This will enable both government and private sector entities to explore the various benefits of AI with the guarantee of data sovereignty, security, and reliability.


A teaming agreement was also signed at the launch, between ODP’s CEO Eng Al Wahaibi and Bikal UK’s CEO Raj Sandhu, which was attended by James Goldman, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Muscat.


A statement from Bill Murray, UK Ambassador, stated, “Technology is an area of strength for the UK in particular, with London recognized as the AI capital of Europe. The potential for collaboration between the UK and Oman in the technology sector is vast, and I am excited by this partnership between Oman Data Park and Bikal. It will create job opportunities and support the development of Oman’s tech ecosystem and local talent in alignment with Vision 2040. Congratulations to ODP and Bikal!”


“Our collaboration with Oman Data Park is key to the creation of new AI and 5G technologies in Oman and the GCC. Having a forward-looking partner in the region will enable Bikal to bring UK university researched innovations with the ability to develop the tech locally. This partnership will open joint opportunities in Oman and the UK over the coming years,” said Raj Sandhu, CEO, BIKAL UK.


According to a PWC research, AI is estimated to contribute around $15.7 trillion globally by 2030, while the Middle East is estimated to accrue 2 per cent of the total global benefits of AI in 2030, which is equivalent to $320 billion. The forecast reports also show that an annual growth is expected to range between 20-34 per cent per year across the region.


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