Cognitive tech offers competitive advantage, IBM CEO tells UAE forum

Ginni Rometty addresses IBM Think Forum in Dubai, to discuss AI and blockchain

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Cognitive tech offers competitive advantage, IBM CEO tells UAE forum Rometty addressed the IBM Think Forum in Dubai.
By  Mark Sutton Published  February 8, 2017

IBM boss Ginni Rometty has told organisations in the UAE that they need to adopt cognitive technologies in order to gain value from their data.

Speaking at the IBM Think Forum in Dubai yesterday, Rometty told an audience of high level IBM customers and partners, that while there has been progress in building digital businesses, understanding that data will be key to gaining benefit.

"While you may have a digital foundation, the real competitive advantage is going to go to those of you that build a cognitive business on top of it," the IBM chairwoman, president and CEO said.

"When everybody is digital, who wins? My belief is who wins will be whoever makes the best use of information. All this information in the world is like a natural resource. you may own it, but if you don't refine it and do something with it, then the value will go to someone else upstream, so the idea that there is a lot [of data] its not ‘new news', the idea that there is a way to do something with it is new news."

IBM is working with partners and customers in the region to deploy cognitive technologies, a part of artificial intelligence, such as its Watson engine, Rometty said. IBM began working on cognitive technologies, including Watson, over fifteen years ago, she said, in response to growing volumes of data.

Today, Watson is being used in a number of different industries, and this year over one billion people will have been affected by Watson. In the region, Dubai Department of Economic Development launched a Watson-based virtual enquiry service called Saad, last year; and Daman insurance is set to begin using Watson for Oncology, to help doctors in diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients.

During the forum, Rometty spoke onstage with Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, director-general of Smart Dubai Office, and with Dr Michael Bitzer of Daman about their projects with IBM.

Rometty also discussed blockchain, and the importance of the blockchain technology to all sectors. IBM has over 400 blockchain projects with customers, she said, and it is also adopting the technology for its own financial ledger, for dispute resolution and in managing spare.

During Rometty's visit to the region, IBM also announced a Cognitive Centre of Competence for Smart Dubai, to develop a Cognitive Roadmap  for the emirate, and a project to with Dubai Customs, Dubai Trade and IT provider DUTECH to use blockchain for trade finance and logistics.

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