With near unprecedented global digital transformation afoot, new technologies are shaping the way societies adapt to the opportunities and challenges of the future. One of the most prominent opportunities and challenges in digital transformation is the cloud. The cloud has already revolutionised storage, file sharing and reach capabilities. With the click of a button, anyone can share dozens of files to a computer on the opposite side of the globe. Beyond these established benefits, there are several avenues of development, such as AI and open access data, that are continuing to grow and will affect the future of the digital world.
Here in the GCC, powered by the cloud and open data, governments are integrating services including mobile apps and one-stop e-service centres to create seamless customer journeys that encourage paperless transactions. These are just a fraction of some of the cloud developments that are shaping innovation in the GCC and in Bahrain.
Meanwhile, the rise of autonomous vehicles is expected to ensure the connectivity of people and networks across cities in the region. And initiatives such as Smart Cities, Smart Tourism and the Future of Mobility have been implemented by Gulf nations to prepare for the rapid advance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These programmes and other developments will shape the region as the cloud continues to develop.
AI Cloud Developments
Some of the most exciting possibilities in the cloud are AI cloud developments. Using computing artificial intelligence, companies are expanding what is possible with the cloud and overall connectivity in the region. Because the cloud is able to house enormous amounts of data, AI developments and machine learning are expanding. The large amounts of data allow for enough information in storage to begin determining patterns and training computing artificial intelligence. These conditions have led to emerging developments like AI-as-a-service and improved computing abilities.
In Bahrain, AI cloud developments are being embraced. Up-and-coming technology companies find a welcome and supportive environment to continue to make breakthroughs in the cloud, AI, and machine learning. The increase of AI in Bahrain also increases technology jobs available and boosts the economy. Bahrain is in a position to be a leader in the GCC for AI and other cloud developments.
Other Cloud Developments
AI and computing is only the tip of the iceberg with cloud developments. The technology industry is continuing to develop open data and open application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs increase automation within the cloud, allowing for easier management and self-service. Open access and connected data through the cloud helps organisations utilise existing data to improve further innovation. Other breakthroughs in the technology industry will rely on these cloud developments to exist. Visual, augmented, and mixed realities and other similar technologies will rely on these cloud breakthroughs to continue to improve and develop.
Bahrain’s business-friendly environment allows for the developments of these cloud technologies that could potentially change the face of innovation. But with these developments in the cloud and in AI comes the potential for complications as well. This places Bahrain and the GCC at a crossroads with how to continue developing cloud technologies.
The Crossroads in the Cloud in the GCC
With the GCC already seeing successful outcomes from these programmes, the region appears to be at a crossroads. More fledgeling technologies are emerging to empower the public sector – from artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things – yet the building of strong regulatory support systems is vital in guaranteeing the long-term security and sustainability of these new solutions.
While new avenues such as cloud computing offer improvements in terms of processing times and greater collaboration, these advantages must always be counterbalanced against ‘risks of the future’ that may not be accounted for in existing legislative frameworks. GCC government institutions and private sector firms must continually ask themselves how to take full advantage of new technologies – while still maintaining the requisite standards of security and robustness needed to power a nation.
The building blocks of digital initiatives – such as sensors, the cloud and big data analytics – have the potential to deliver significant value for GCC industries and wider society. But leaders from the regional public and private sectors now have an important choice to make – a choice that could radically shift the global data ecosystem into one that is more open, inclusive and interconnected: regulate for the future, or risk falling behind the times?