Dubai unveils its first cognitive computing service: using IBM’s “Watson” technology to support business license registration

Posted by: at 10/04/2016 05:13:00 am

UAE, October 4, 2016 – The Smart Dubai Office, the Smart Dubai Government Establishment and the Department of Economic Development, in collaboration with IBM, have launched the city’s first cognitive computing service to facilitate business licensing and registration in Dubai. The service, which was unveiled in a press conference at the Dubai Media Office today (October 4, 2016), delivers on the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to work together for the future of Dubai, and to make Dubai the happiest city on earth, fueled by smart technology. The new service, named Saad, is now available on the DED website and the DubaiNow app.  

Dubai unveils its first cognitive computing service: using IBM’s “Watson” technology to support business license registration


Powered by IBM’s cognitive computing system, “Watson”, Saad is able to understand natural language; rapidly analyse and verify massive data stores; interpret data; and provide solutions that will aid users in deciding on correct courses of action. Watson represents a new era in computing called cognitive computing, where systems understand the world the way humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns from previous interactions, gaining in value and knowledge over time. 

For its pilot deployment, Saad has been trained to respond to business licensing and registration queries from local or international entrepreneurs, business owners or investors interested in starting a business in Dubai. 

His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of the Department of Economic Development, explained in his welcome speech that the new service supports DED’s strategic commitment to streamline and simplify all core transactional services for business licensing and registration, and continually improve global competitiveness. 

“Saad positions Dubai on the global stage as a smart and competitive destination for new business. It provides customers with an advanced self-service option to get fast and appropriate responses to all their questions relating to the services of the Department of Economic Development and its agencies, namely, Dubai Exports, Dubai FDI and Dubai SME.

Investors and entrepreneurs can submit their questions on the DED website electronically, in audio format or in writing on the DED website and they will receive the most updated information on business licenses and fees as well as step-by-step instructions on setting up a business from Saad online. After consulting Saad, most new business owners will only need to visit a customer service centre once to submit paperwork and receive their trade license. 

Al Qamzi noted that Saad will shorten the traditional business license registration process. “By becoming smart in our service delivery and engaging with the public and business community, through modern technology and digital services, we are contributing to Dubai’s smart city vision and making Dubai the preferred business destination for the 21st century,” he said. 

Commenting on the announcement, Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “We are consistently guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. At Smart Dubai, we are working to achieve this vision by embracing the latest technology innovation to improve quality of life and access to opportunity in Dubai. Supported by IBM Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities, Saad will significantly improve the business environment in Dubai.”  

Dr. Aisha bin Bishr highlighted the benefits that the new service will provide by simplifying the business licensing and registration process and boosting entrepreneurship through a smarter economy. “Today marks an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to make Dubai an international leader for innovative economic conditions fueling entrepreneurship and global competitiveness.” Dr. Aisha said. 

Dr. Aisha also reflected on the importance of the unique public-private partnership between the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, the Department of Economic Development, and IBM. “Partnerships such as these, between Dubai government entities and international industry leaders, are a cornerstone of our success as a smart city, and I am very pleased to see such powerful results so early in this long-term partnership,” Dr. Aisha added.

Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, the technology arm of Smart Dubai, said, “Cognitive computing is the future of technology. Supported by new machine learning technology, Saad is powering opportunities for enriched customer engagement and efficient mining of big data that can accelerate innovation and enhance decision making for customers, businesses and city leaders. Cognitive computing will make city experiences more seamless, safe, efficient and impactful in line with the vision of Smart Dubai.”

Wesam Lootah also noted that the long-term partnership between SDG, DED and IBM will continue to deliver innovative solutions for the city from cognitive computing, and encouraged more partnerships between government entities and the private sector. 

“Our collaboration with the Smart Dubai Office, Smart Dubai Government Establishment and Department of Economic Development to offer entrepreneurs a government service app powered by IBM Watson’s cognitive technology is a clear demonstration of Dubai’s direction towards a smart and cognitive city.   Watson allows organizations to harness the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better and faster and also solve complex challenges,” said Amr Refaat, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan.

Saad is available to local and international entrepreneurs, business owners and investors on the DED website and through the unified smart government app, DubaiNow. Customers can simply ask Saad their questions related to business registration and licensing. By instantly mining the most recent, verified data supplied by DED, Saad will provide customers with accurate and detailed instructions for every step in the business licensing and registration process. After consulting Saad, most new business owners will only need to visit a customer service centre once to submit paperwork and receive their trade license. 

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