Innovation on display
In this month’s issue we focus on the winners of the ACN Arab Technology Awards, which were presented at a gala dinner in October.
The awards, now in their tenth year, highlighted the achievements of individuals and organisations in the sector in the region, and once again, the quality of the nominations and the depth of expertise on show was impressive. It was particularly noticeable how many of the nominees are really thinking outside the box when it comes to the projects they are undertaking, and also how many of them are adopting the latest technology to make their projects a reality. Time and again, the nominations showed how IT departments are able to maintain services to their organisations, at the same time as finding time to engage with the business to understand how they can solve business issues, and staying ahead of new technology and experimenting with new solutions.
This year we introduced a new award, the Harnessing Innovation Award, which is intended to highlight the adoption of new technologies in the region, to prove that the Middle East can rightly claim to be in line with any market in the world when it comes to the quality of work being done in the IT sector.
Selecting the winner of this award, from the all of the vertical project category nominations that we received, was no easy task. The editorial team of ITP’s Technology Group, who selected the winner, looked for projects that used the latest, cutting-edge technology, and harnessed it to bring real benefits to its business. It was a difficult choice. Many of the winning entries in each category showed strong technical skills and a desire to push the boundaries of how technologies are deployed. There were many other projects that also demonstrated the need to harness new capabilities to aid the business.
In the end, the Winner of the Harnessing Innovation Award, was Gulf Air, an organisation which has consistently shown the ability to apply new technologies in an innovative fashion to create real business benefit. For more on airline’s Route Profitability Solution, read the awards coverage which starts overleaf.
There were several other notable projects that caught the attention of the editors, including Yarmouk University’s project to automatically create Arabic language audio books for the blind, using optical character recognition; Landmark Group’s enterprise reporting solution, which has unlocked the value of true business analytics; Jumeirah Group’s software-defined data centre, which provides a flexible platform for future growth; and MedNet’s use of open source, big data solutions to integrate diverse data sources. The nominations all showed the range of new technologies that are in use in the Middle East, and the diversity of how they are being implemented in organisations across the region – all of our short-listed nominees should be congratulated for the work they are doing in the sector, and it was a pleasure to see such a range of expertise on show in the nominations.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our judging panel for all of their hard work in assessing the nominations. It is no small task to get through the one hundred plus nominations that we receive each year, but the judges input – and their votes – are vital to ensuring the fairness and quality of the event.
My thanks again to the panel - Esam Hadi, Senior Manager Information Technology, Alba; Haritha Ramachandran, ICT Practice Head, Frost & Sullivan; and Asif Javed, Technology Lead Middle East, and Dr. Khalid AlYahya, MD, Strategy, Middle East, of Accenture.