Ingenious moments at Dubai’s Genius of Things summit

By and Asma Shabab | 6 minute read | October 24, 2017

Genius of Things 2017 (GoT 2017)

On October 10, IBM Middle East hosted its 13th signature event: ‘The IBM Cognitive Summit: Genius of Things’ at the J.W. Marriot Marquis in Dubai. This was the latest event in the global roadshow that kicked off with the opening of the Watson IoT global headquarters in Munich earlier this year, and has brought the Internet of Things to life through events in Mumbai, Shanghai and Boston.

As you’d expect from something entitled ‘Genius of Things’ (or ‘GoT’, for short) the event itself was full of inspired moments. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.

GoT Dubai panel discussion

Genius moment #1: 15 clients shared their journey of digital transformation: to Invent, Optimize and Transform

GoT Dubai saw IBM’s partners and clients come together in their mutual quest to achieve digital transformation with Watson IoT, Cognitive and Cloud. 15 of the top names in their respective industries joined IBM on stage to share their journey of digital transformation to achieve key outcomes of Invent; to create new revenue opportunities, Optimize; to achieve operational efficiency and Transform their customer experience.

Among them was DP World, one of the world’s largest port management companies. They shared their journey of enhancing operational efficiency in their terminals. DP World increases asset availability, gains predictive analytics and reduces operating costs to efficiently manage its port infrastructure. 

Genius moment #2: Dubai’s connected vision: Smart Dubai Government

For an event exploring the concept of ‘digital transformation’, you’d be hard put to find a better location than Dubai. The city is home to some visionary IoT projects, pilot studies and even buildings, all designed to integrate the physical world with the digital.

Most striking, perhaps, is the Burj Khalifa – which bears the dual distinction of being the tallest building in the world, and ‘the smartest building in the UAE’, according to Honeywell. It stands an eye-watering 830 meters high, can withstand earthquakes up to 7.2 magnitude and, most significantly, is a completely connected building.

His Excellency Wesam Lootah, CEO of Smart Dubai Government, joined us on stage to expand on this theme and share Smart Dubai Government’s vision of a connected city, driven by AI and Blockchain. Dubai has already embraced an ‘AI layer’, as he puts it. There is now has an AI agent that can answer 5,000 questions related to living in Dubai – everything from where to go out for dinner to how to renew your driver’s licence. You can watch his speech in the video below.

We were also joined by Bashar Kassab, Director Facilities Management, the Burj Khalifa who shared insights on what it’s like to maintain the experience of the tallest building in the world.

Genius moment #3: Blockchain’s not so mystifying in Dubai

Marie Wieck, IBM’s General Manager for Blockchain, spoke about embracing disruption with Blockchain. Normally, in events like this one, she is first to broach the subject. It’s also quite common for her to offer a brief summary of what blockchain technology entails, in tacit acknowledgement that this subject will be new(ish) to many. Not so at GoT Dubai. This time, Marie was not the first, but the third person to speak about Blockchain. Dubai is aiming to be the first blockchain city and our partners and clients are not only familiar with the concept, but are already adopting this relatively nascent technology in their businesses. How’s that for trailblazing!

Genius moment #4: Drones in Dubai

Michael Rudolph, Head of Airspace Safety at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) spoke about his work with IBM to help future-proof the drones industry. Keeping an eye on drones in flight and ensuring they don’t stray across other air traffic has traditionally been a major challenge, but the DCAA is now using IBM’s platform to improve the security of the skies by tracking drones in real time.

Elsewhere, in the hands-on, demonstration zones, event participants saw how drones could perform airport security checks and alert staff to the presence of unattended luggage. The alert would be broadcast to a central operations centre, managed by IBM’s Intelligent Operations Centre capabilities, where it could be dealt with in a timely manner.

Genius moment #5: Safeguarding endangered rhinos

The transformational reach of the IoT goes far beyond business and commerce. It can benefit the ecosystem, too. Sanjay Brahmawar explained how MTN, a leading African telecommunications provider is working with Wageningen University (WU) to protect endangered rhinos from poachers.

By kitting out prey animals such as zebra and wildebeest with collars containing embedded sensors, staff at Welgevonden Game reserve can track these animals in real time to identify threat-induced behavioural patterns. Using predictive analytics, staff can learn to differentiate between responses to specific threats – particularly spotlighting those caused by the presence of unknown humans. Over time, these technologies will make poaching predictable – and therefore much riskier to attempt.

Genius moment #6: Interactive, live-streamed demos

No cognitive summit is complete without a little hands-on playtime, and GoT Dubai is no exception. To demonstrate how the IoT can transform the customer experience, each demo booth sported beacons to capture the details of the people visiting. Using this information, we could customise the conversation with each person later in the event, depending on what they visited on the day.

The staff weren’t exempt, either. Everyone within IBM was asked to download an application designed to analyse driver behaviour in response to stimuli like road obstacles, traffic and speed limits, and keep it on while driving. Information from the app was collated to identify behavioural patterns from individual drivers, which we displayed in the demo zone dedicated to IBM’s IoT for Automotive solutions. Beyond making sure we all keep to the speed limit, a solution like this has far-reaching implications for fleet management, or indeed for any organization that employs drivers. The idea is that companies can understand how their motorists are handling their vehicles, and ensure they are driving safely, without being reliant on outside sources for this insight. Instead, it comes from the drivers themselves.

Genius moment #7: Connected drummers

Amr Refaat, IBM’s General Manager, Middle East & Pakistan, chose drummers to kick off his welcome speech. Not purely for the joyous racket, though that was certainly appreciated, but to show how the IoT could help monitor the drummers’ physical wellbeing as they performed.

One of the drummers wore a device which captured his heart beat in real time, and broadcast it to a demonstration about worker safety taking place outside the main room.  The demonstration showed how connected sensors embedded in workers’ uniforms (or protective equipment) could help keep an eye on them as they worked in challenging physical conditions. Sensors could monitor external temperature, humidity, pressure and other measurables of the surrounding physical environment, as well as the person’s physical response to these pressures. The sensors could detect the onset of heat exhaustion, for example, and send an alert to remove the person from the environment to recover.

Drummers at GoT Dubai

Drummers at GoT Dubai

GoT Dubai 2017: Celebrating a community of innovators

It’s often said that innovation doesn’t happen in a silo. To really create, we need partners to help us on our way. Digital transformation is a journey that requires collaboration and community to exist – working together to achieve something exceptional.

The Genius of Things roadshow is a celebration of collaborative working and partnership. Digital transformation can’t happen without raw data, and lots of it, but it also needs the capability to analyse, interpret and understand that data to unlock powerful new insights. At IBM, we have the experience, the platform and the technology to help achieve this. But we also need you. To find out how we can help drive your digital transformation, get in touch with an expert today.

Continue the conversation

You can catch up with video footage from Genius of Things: Dubai on our Highlights landing page, or join in the conversation on Twitter with the tag #IBMCSGoT. Don’t forget to bookmark the GoT 2017 tag for blogs from other events from the roadshow.