May 21, 2024

IBM: 42% Of Businesses In The UAE Embrace AI

AI Adoption Rises Exponentially

IBM has unveiled the regional insights gleaned from two pivotal studies: Morning Consult’s 2023 Global AI Adoption Index and the biennial consumer study focused on the Middle East and Africa (MEA) conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value.

These studies, considered authoritative sources, offer a sweeping panorama of consumer behaviours and the adoption trends of AI by enterprises, spotlighting the transformative sway of AI in retail and business operations in the UAE.

The IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023, canvassing over 8,500 IT professionals, including UAE ones, underscores AI’s swift adoption and assimilation across various business sectors.

The study reveals that 65% of IT professionals in the UAE have reported a notable acceleration in AI rollout over the past 24 months, reshaping business operations and propelling efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness in the UAE market.

Highlighting the UAE’s strides towards technological advancement, the Arabian Gulf country is emerging as a frontrunner in AI adoption, with 42% of companies actively deploying AI in their business operations.

Proactive Stance

This statistic is particularly striking. It reflects the proactive stance of UAE businesses in integrating AI into their core processes, thereby setting a benchmark for AI implementation in the region and inspiring other companies to follow suit.

Investments in AI are also witnessing strategic alignment, with research and development alongside workforce upskilling identified as the top investment priorities.

This emphasis on R&D and skill enhancement is pivotal for sustaining AI growth and innovation, ensuring the workforce is adept at navigating the evolving demands of AI technologies.

The study further delineates that 34% of UAE companies have a comprehensive AI strategy in place, with an additional 30% in the process of developing one.

The main drivers propelling AI adoption in the UAE encompass advances in AI technology, the increasing integration of AI in standard business applications, and the imperative to curtail costs and automate critical processes.

Pivotal Tool

Collectively, these factors contribute to the growing reliance on AI as a pivotal tool for business efficiency and innovation.

Meanwhile, IBM’s study, ‘Revolutionise Retail with AI Everywhere: Customers Won’t Wait,’ surveyed nearly 20,000 global consumers, including those from the MEA region.

The study highlights a widening chasm between shopper demands and the prevailing retail offerings. While most consumers globally (73%) prefer physical stores, only 3% of MEA consumers express satisfaction with the in-store experience.

At 10 points higher than the global average, 75% of MEA consumers supplement their in-store experience by utilising mobile applications while shopping, indicative of a burgeoning trend towards a digitally integrated in-store experience.

Shopping Journey

Concerning AI, nine out of 10 MEA consumers who have not utilised AI for shopping evince interest in its potential to enhance their shopping journey. Moreover, 75% of MEA respondents express eagerness for AI applications, with 67% expressing interest in AI enhancements such as virtual assistants.

Consumer expectations are swiftly evolving, underscoring the urgent imperative for retailers to innovate and integrate advanced technologies, including AI, to elevate the shopping experience.

The study also serves as a compendium for retailers, furnishing actionable strategies to aid businesses in meeting consumers’ evolving demands.

Bill Farrell, Managing Partner at IBM Consulting, MEA, said: “For UAE businesses, findings elucidate that AI integration is not merely a competitive edge but an imperative in today’s digital terrain.

“Similarly, consumer expectations are evolving, accentuating the pressing need for retailers in MEA to embrace AI technologies. IBM’s dedication to innovation and expertise in AI and hybrid cloud solutions positions it as a pivotal player in facilitating these transformations.

“The company’s focus on trust, transparency, and ethical AI practices resonates with the escalating demand for responsible AI deployment.”

Featured image: Commercial establishments at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 deploy AI technologies to enhance customers’ shopping journeys. Credit: Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, aerospace, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, automotive, and fashion verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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