ADSSSA and Microsoft host AI hackfest in Abu Dhabi

Delegates from various departments develop AI applications for Abu Dhabi government agencies

The event is part of a partnership between ADSSSA and Microsoft to collaborate on developing AI applications for Abu Dhabi agencies.
The event is part of a partnership between ADSSSA and Microsoft to collaborate on developing AI applications for Abu Dhabi agencies.

Delegates from various Government departments in Abu Dhabi have taken part in the very first hackfest arranged by the Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA) in partnership with Microsoft.

With help from Microsoft’s artificial intelligence experts, the delegates held sessions to develop AI applications and algorithms for Abu Dhabi’s government agencies on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

ADSSSA is the Abu Dhabi Government agency tasked with developing smart systems for government services.

The event, which took place from 9 - 11 December, is part of a strategic partnership between ADSSSA and Microsoft to collaborate on developing an AI roadmap for Abu Dhabi and incorporate smart-technologies for digital transformation.

H.E. Dr. Rauda Al Saadi, director general, ADSSSA, said, “In line with the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy, the Authority has been proactively engaged in boosting Abu Dhabi’s bid to move towards a knowledge-driven economy. ADSSSA remains keen to drive efforts to transform Abu Dhabi into a global hub for technological innovation and we consider the development of a strategic AI program with Microsoft as another step forward to accelerate the Emirate’s digital transformation journeys through the Abu Dhabi Government Entities and add value to our customer-centric approach in the delivery of services to the public. While moving closer to the achievement of our goals in this direction, ADSSSA seeks to ensure service excellence across a multitude of services provided by various government entities in Abu Dhabi.”

During the event, attendees were invited to present various challenges to Microsoft’s engineers and data scientists, and collaborate with them to develop prototype applications of quick and efficient solutions that use a combination of cloud-based AI tools.

“As the region looks to the future through national Vision programmes, the Abu Dhabi government continues to show great leadership in the field of Artificial Intelligence,” said Sayed Hashish, regional general manager, Microsoft Gulf. “This Hackfest initiative demonstrates the emirate’s efforts to draw upon the power of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge - and bring continual improvements to the lives of the country’s citizens and residents. We are honoured to collaborate and support ADSSSA’s ambitions - and will continue bringing our expertise in AI to the governments, organisations, and to the people of the UAE.”

The ADSSSA AI Hackfest was designed around two tracks. The first track focuses on Machine Learning and Deep Learning scenarios to develop algorithms and design models that can provide predictive insights, better decision making, and improve government services and operations. While the other track engages government delegates to utilize Microsoft Cognitive Services in order to improve Government operations to increase accuracy, apply automation, and infuse those capabilities in Government applications, in addition to the chatbot solutions for internal and external communication channels.

Entities attending the ADSSSA AI Hackfest include Abu Dhabi Airports Company, Abu Dhabi Food & Control Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Abu Dhabi Exchange, Department of Finance, Department of Community Development, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Housing Authority, Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre and Abu Dhabi Sewage Services.

A recent Microsoft study revealed that more than 29% of organisations in the Gulf region plan to adopt Artificial intelligence, and over half (51%) named cloud computing a priority. With the rise in uptake of its cloud services and in response to the overwhelming encouragement from regional customers, Microsoft announced earlier this year that it will build two dedicated cloud datacentres, one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi that will deliver its trusted services to the Middle East.

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