Spending on consultancy within the Gulf has slumped due to Covid-19, however heightened demand for superior expertise consultancy providers prompted by the pandemic is predicted partly to offset the downturn.
Income for all sorts of consultancy within the Gulf is forecast to fall 22 per cent this 12 months to $2.6bn, in line with Supply International Analysis, a UK-based adviser to skilled providers corporations.
Previously few months, nevertheless, authorities within the United Arab Emirates have used applied sciences together with synthetic intelligence (AI), large information and internet-connected units in response to the Covid-19 disaster.
The applied sciences, for instance, are being utilized in testing for Covid-19, in monitoring individuals contaminated with the virus and checking that residents are obeying lockdown guidelines.
The UAE government confirmed this month that instances of Covid-19 within the Emirates had elevated to 13,599 and resulted in 119 deaths.
Tech is among the many quickest rising consultancy markets within the Gulf, says Fiona Czerniawska, co-founder of Supply International Analysis. Tech consultancy revenues rose 11 per cent final 12 months to $1.2bn, she provides.
In March, a laboratory testing facility for Covid-19 was inbuilt two weeks in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s sustainable metropolis and enterprise centre. The ability is among the many largest of its variety in operation exterior China, in line with Group 42, an area software program firm supplying the lab’s expertise.
The marketplace for expertise consultancy within the Gulf has been robust for a lot of the previous decade, buoyed by authorities spending on on-line public providers and “sensible metropolis” applied sciences. Masdar Metropolis is a notable instance of the latter.
The Gulf consultancy market is closely reliant on state-owned organisations, Ms Czerniawska says.
“In case you have a look at the corporations which might be essentially the most profitable [in the Gulf], they’ve acquired very deep roots into the tradition, the enterprise atmosphere, the federal government,” she provides. “They’ve been round for a very long time and have constructed up robust relationships.”
Massive consultancies within the Gulf embrace skilled providers corporations PwC, EY and Deloitte and administration consultants McKinsey.
Governments have labored carefully with tech start-ups and consultancies. Many tech start-ups have been a part of government-backed tech “accelerator programmes”.
Challenge administration of enormous and sophisticated digital schemes, comparable to provision of IT infrastructure for presidency providers and broadband and sensible metropolis tasks, have boosted demand for tech consultancy.
Analysis from IMD, the Switzerland-based enterprise college, final 12 months ranked Dubai 45th and Abu Dhabi 56th out of 102 sensible cities worldwide.
Some UAE sensible metropolis expertise compares with “the very best within the phrase, comparable to that in Singapore, Barcelona and Copenhagen”, says Hazem Galal, PwC’s Center East accomplice, specialising in cities and native authorities.
Sensible metropolis expertise beforehand used for visitors administration and crime detection helps to observe the UAE’s lockdown to sluggish the unfold of Covid-19.
Dubai’s police drive makes use of an AI surveillance system — initially developed to chop crime and scale back deaths from visitors accidents — to examine motorists’ licence plates in opposition to a database, with a purpose to see if individuals leaving their properties throughout lockdown have a sound allow. The drive has “sensible” helmets fitted with warmth sensors to examine if residents show feverish Covid-19 signs.
UAE sensible metropolis infrastructure and funding in applied sciences, comparable to AI, information analytics and drones, have helped it reply shortly to Covid-19, says Mr Galal. Such applied sciences embrace digital apps for accessing public providers and mixing information units to observe residents’ vitality consumption and journey patterns.
The UAE authorities is utilizing internet-connected units to examine whether or not residents are observing “social distancing” guidelines. The expertise locates individuals by pings from their cell phone to close by towers.
The system was initially developed to observe crowds throughout New Yr’s Eve celebrations, says Aisha Bin Bishr, director-general of Sensible Dubai, a UAE authorities workplace overseeing the emirate’s sensible metropolis tasks.
The Dubai well being authorities are utilizing AI and massive information applied sciences, developed by Dubai tech start-up nybl, to assist handle well being provides throughout Covid-19.
That is to find out what is out there, which hospitals want it and when to order additional provides, says Ms Bishr. The platform was designed by nybl via Dubai’s tech accelerator programme, she provides, on account of which “right now we’re in a significantly better form to handle our well being provide”.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are the biggest and fastest-growing markets for expertise consulting within the Gulf, says Kushal Shah, senior accomplice within the UAE workplace of Roland Berger. The consultancy is aiding one of many Gulf international locations, which he declined to call, decide applied sciences that can assist to “reply proactively” to Covid-19.
Rental Protego, a Dubai-based expertise consultancy, is amongst these working within the sensible metropolis subject. It advises UAE companies and state organisations on tasks comparable to learn how to construct “command and management” centres to analyse growing information generated by cities’ internet-connected sensors, CCTV cameras and social media.
Understanding the info can “guarantee cities run easily”, says Savitha Bhaskar, Rental Protego’s chief working officer. It’s also serving to corporations within the Gulf adapt to social distancing guidelines throughout Covid-19, by advising them on applied sciences for distant working, together with for cyber safety.
Wanting past the pandemic, expertise is prone to be the primary marketplace for consultancy within the Gulf, says Ms Czerniawska. “I feel there might be extra funding in sensible cities and [Gulf] purchasers will need to study classes from Covid-19.”
— to www.ft.com