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Big data is ‘oil of present and the future’

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The Sultanate of Oman’s 2nd Big Data and Analytics Meet, COMEX series, began on Monday under the auspices of Dr Ali al Shidhani, Under-Secretary for Communications and Information Technology, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.

The morning session had two panel discussions on Advanced Infrastructure and platforms. Other panel discussed Advanced Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Security.

“On Tuesday, we will be discussing Data Policy, Strategy, Building an Intelligent Business and Monetisation. We are discussing some of the important areas, and everyone talks about data being the oil of today and the future. This is what we are discussing in these two days. We are supported by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology,” said Sadiq Ahmed Khan, COO, OITE & Arab Research Bureau.

He said last year, a conference was held on Artificial Intelligence and this year the focus is on Advanced Artificial Intelligence. He said that it is understood that computers have become much more complex, making Machine Learning highly significant.

The panel discussion covered topics such as data infrastructure and its importance; Artificial Intelligence — how to adapt and why it is not easy to adapt.

Maqbool al Wahaibi , CEO of Oman Data Park, said Cloud and AI are connected and explained that without the cloud it is not easy to reach AI.

“That is why we are now talking about connected clouds today. That is what multinational companies are doing currently. There is centralisation of data and economy of scale. But it all starts with data sources,” pointed out Al Wahaibi.

During the panel discussion Saud al Zakwani, Head of Data Science, PDO, said, “Machine Learning is critical if organisations want to invest in AI and at the same time relearning is extremely important as technology is continuously evolving.” “We are in the age of change and having a plan for the next five years without having adaptability embedded in it, then you are building the future with your current vision,” pointed out Al Zakwani. Panellist Khalid al Huraibi , Founder and Managing Director of Impact Integrated, said there had been good work on policies; however, there is a need for further development in disruption to elevation.

“It is a bit fragmented. We need moonshots. Something that will make investors put money into people and projects. Examples of moonshots in the country are Oman Satellite and Green Hydrogen,” Al Huraibi pointed out.

The Senior Associate and Vice President of Global Forum IKED & Global Forum, Ingrid Andersson, stressed the importance of skills.

“If you do not have skills, we cannot take up the opportunities. Technology is changing faster than education. We need to move outside the classroom. We need to have robust infrastructure and satellite clouds. Much has been done, but we need to continue to work,” Andersson explained.

The experts explained that the hybrid cloud is becoming the dominant deployment becoming part of multi-cloud systems.

Mohammed El — Shanawany, Regional Sales Leader, Hybrid Cloud, Data and AI and Automation, IBM noted that collecting, analysing and infusing data is what should be invested in and not just part of it. “Companies should be able to collect, connect and practice virtualisation of data.”

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