Young Muslim Businesswoman with hijab working with laptop and doing financial report.

How New Platforms Help Women to Rejoin Work After a Career Break in the United Arab Emirates

Young Muslim Businesswoman with hijab working with laptop and doing financial report.

Margy Mommertz completed her contract role as an HR Director in a company in October 2023 and wanted to seek greater job stability. “I wanted to find my way into a full-time career with security in a stable company, and not contract work,” she says.

The transition should have been a smooth one — she has, after all, worked in the region for more than two decades — but what followed was a difficult period where Mommertz was greeted with deafening silence when she relentlessly applied for jobs, even though she matched the job requirements. “You don’t get any feedback in this market from many recruiters, which is terrible. You think, ‘Oh my goodness, I have applied for 100 jobs. Am I that useless?’ No, you are not, but it demotivates you.”

She feels that she struggled to find a job partly because she is over the age of 50. “Ageism is rife in the UAE and I was finding it difficult to compete with 40-year-olds in the market even though I was experienced and qualified,” she adds.

A friend suggested that she get in touch with Niki Mapouras-Hyder who had started the platform NMH last year to help women rejoin the workforce after a career break. The two started working together in January this year — there were one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions, workshops and conversations that went beyond just dispensing career advice and focused on personal development to help her regain her confidence. “She gave me tools to boost my confidence, update my skills and made sure that I was aligned with the market again,” recalls Margy. They also identified networking events that Margy could attend to meet the right people.

She finally found her dream job and started work about four weeks ago. “I am loving it because I am getting to collaborate with people — people with my values and ethics, in a great work environment. I thought I had lost the knack but no, I haven’t. I am doing incredibly well,” she smiles.

Such platforms help women to re-enter the workforce by equipping them with new-age skills (like, for instance, using artificial intelligence at work), upskilling, polishing their interviewing skills and revamping their resumes. “I wanted to create a community and platform for women who had taken a career gap for whatever reason, where they could also help each other out,” explains Niki Mapouras-Hyder. “Sometimes, you might not be looking at the right places, so we will sit down and have a roadmap for how you are going to find your way back into the corporate world — what job-hunting you have done so far, what are the blockers that are there, and whether you need to refresh your skills or upskill yourself.”

A new job platform for women

Rejoin was launched last month by co-founders Ayshwarya Chari and Shraddha Barot Amariei. Its website invites CVs from women who want to start a new innings at the workplace after a career break — the CVs are uploaded by the team after a review process to ensure that the candidate is “presented in the best way possible”.

Each candidate’s profile includes vital information, like reasons for a career break, educational qualifications, work experience and expected salary, and, according to Chari, they have more than 75 CVs on the website. Having led small businesses themselves, the co-founders hope that the platform would be a ‘perfect marriage’ between candidates who are on the lookout for flexible jobs, and companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which offer such jobs. “The big corporates have returnship programmes in place, while SMEs don’t, but they are not resistant to the idea of hiring such candidates,” points out Amariei.

Being moms and entrepreneurs themselves, the duo wants to ensure that women have an equitable workplace. “A woman who has been out of the workforce for two years finds it difficult to get back for a number of reasons — for starters, if you apply for a job online, the algorithm that is in place would, very often, not even let employers see these CVs. And over time, the population here has increased by over 24 per cent, so there is a lot of competition,” explains Chari.

Amariei, who’s even lost out on projects during her pregnancies, explains that the idea is also to normalise conversations about school pick-ups and sick children at the workplace. “We consult with clients who are, sometimes, very senior male professionals, and we openly say that we need to step out or can’t make it for a meeting because my little one has been unwell or there is a PTA meeting that we need to go to. Thankfully, we have seen good results because they realise that it’s not affecting our performance in any way. In fact, a woman, especially a mother, has very little time to waste — she will come in, get the job done and leave.”

They are now in the middle of hiring an HR consultant and recruiter to stay in touch with companies and candidates, and have plans to launch skill-based training programmes and coffee sessions with candidates at their office space. When we spoke, they were also gearing up for their first official event at Female Fusion on April 25 to raise awareness about their platform among potential candidates and small business owners and help them to connect. “We also have great support from the British Chamber of Commerce and we will be doing a networking plus coaching event with them in May,” says Amariei.

A Bootcamp for mothers

Kutubna Cultural Center in Dubai held the first session of their brand new programme called ‘Mothers/Work’ on April 23, for mothers who want to return to work. The ‘bootcamp’ includes four sessions that are spread across this month and next month, and mothers can drop their children at the in-house play area before attending these sessions. “The main goal is for women to learn how to have the career they want and how to present their applications more effectively so that they can get interviews and ultimately, jobs,” explains founder and director, Shatha Almutawa.

“We will be looking at job announcements, Linkedin profiles, CVs, cover letters, resumes, and we will do some practice interviews as well where the women can get to know each other and give feedback,” she says, adding that Eman Al Yousuf, who oversees hiring and volunteer programmes at the Emirates Literature Foundation, is expected to be there at the last session of the bootcamp. Six women attended the first session. “The women can also look forward to working very closely with me… I will be talking about how we choose candidates at the centre and why we picked them,” says Almutawa, adding that she will conduct such programmes in the future depending on the demand.

Organising such programmes was not the primary goal of the centre — in fact, Almutawa started the centre last year to highlight Khaleeji authors and literature, music, art and culture through its workshops and bookshop. As the mother of a toddler, she was excited about hiring other mothers at the centre. “But when I did the interviews, they would say, ‘I’ve never worked and I’ve only taken care of my children’ or ‘I have no experience and I don’t know anything about work’. But we develop so many skills while taking care of our children and we need to recognise that we can be valuable members of the team that we could join.”

As someone who is in a position to hire people, Almutawa explains that a gap in one’s CV never bothers her as long as candidates are able to demonstrate an ability and willingness to learn new things and pick up new skills. “They should be able to explain what they can offer, and also be clear about the kind of position they need — it’s a matter of presenting what you can do,” she adds.

Digital manufacturing platforms

EGA Launches One of the Region’s First Digital Manufacturing Platforms to Advance Industry 4.0 Strategy

Digital manufacturing platforms

EGA developed the digital manufacturing platform with Microsoft as part of a strategic collaboration to progress EGA’s Digital Roadmap

Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced the launch of one of the first digital manufacturing platforms in the region to unlock additional value through Industry 4.0 applications.

EGA developed the digital manufacturing platform with Microsoft as part of a strategic collaboration to progress EGA’s Digital Roadmap. The platform enables the integration of hardware, software, processes, and people throughout EGA’s global operations.

The platform was built using the latest generation of Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud, to use artificial intelligence at a significant scale across EGA’s global industrial operations including Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah to further improve industrial process efficiency, quality and safety.

The hybrid infrastructure deploys digital architecture previously used in many defence and space projects, while combining the advantages of public and on-premises hybrid cloud processing.

The digital manufacturing platform will enable EGA to reduce the unit cost of running artificial intelligence-based image and video analytics by more than 80 per cent, while increasing speeds as much as 13 times compared to EGA’s previous solution.

EGA’s digital manufacturing platform currently processes over 2.9 petabytes of real-time data annually, equivalent to streaming more than 32,000 movies at 4K resolution, and will be regularly expanded in future. 

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said: “EGA’s bold aspiration is to become a digital lighthouse for the region and the global aluminium industry, because we see enormous potential to unlock additional value for our business through Industry 4.0. The digital manufacturing platform, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, transforms our operations by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence at scale, while unlocking significant opportunities for further Industry 4.0 applications.”

Carlo K Nizam, Chief Digital Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium, said, “EGA’s digital transformation strategy has two parallel tracks to fundamentally transform how we operate – implementing high-impact digital solutions for immediate business impact, and building important digital foundations to enable company-wide transformation. The digital manufacturing platform is one of these key foundations.”

Christoph Berlin, General Manager and Partner Architect, Microsoft Azure, said: “Today’s announcement marks a key milestone in our strategic collaboration with EGA, a company which is a leader in the application of Industry 4.0 in the Middle East. Their new digital manufacturing platform, created in collaboration with Microsoft, is a great example of using Microsoft’s Adaptive Cloud Framework to fundamentally rethink and modernise OT in a cloud-first era to embrace modern capabilities such as Generative AI. We look forward to our continued collaboration with EGA.”

Earlier this year, EGA announced the groundbreaking for the region’s first 100 per cent renewable energy powered industrial data centres at its Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah sites. The digital manufacturing platform will be hosted on EGA’s data centres in the future.

EGA launched its digital transformation in 2021, aiming to enhance every aspect of its operations and business, while upgrading customer and employee experience and ultimately creating new revenue streams.

In its wider digital transformation, EGA has so far implemented over 60 Industry 4.0 use cases, ranging from using artificial intelligence vision to quality check carbon anode production in real-time, to developing predictive tools for market movements in key commodities. To date, almost 2,000 EGA employees have been upskilled in digital capabilities and ways of working, and the transformation has delivered some $90 million in financial impact.

Both EGA and Microsoft are members of the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology’s Industry 4.0 Champions Network, which aims to accelerate Industry 4.0 adoption across UAE industry.

Airplane landing at Riyadh mirrored in terminal

Saudi Arabia Rolls Out E-Gates at Riyadh Airport

Airplane landing at Riyadh mirrored in terminal

This pioneering initiative marks the Riyadh airport as the first airport in Saudi Arabia to offer the service of introducing biometric e-passport scanners aimed to streamline passenger travel procedures and provide a seamless experience for international travelers

The Saudi General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) launched on Tuesday the inaugural phase of E-Passport gates at Terminals 3 and 4 of King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

This pioneering initiative marks the Riyadh airport as the first airport in Saudi Arabia to offer the service of introducing biometric e-passport scanners aimed to streamline passenger travel procedures and provide a seamless experience for international travelers.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA) President Abdullah Alghamdi, General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, Director General of Jawazat Lt. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, and National Information Center (NIC) Director Esam Alwagait.

Lt. Gen. Al-Yahya highlighted that the introduction of e-gates at King Khalid International Airport aims to facilitate travelers in completing their travel procedures independently, without the need for human intervention. He emphasized that these gates will save time and effort for travelers whose biometric characteristics (fingerprints) are stored in the passport systems.

The Jawazat chief stated that the e-gate rollout is part of the ongoing efforts to enhance travel procedures for citizens, expatriates, and visitors, as well as to improve its services through the introduction of efficient, smart, and digital solutions.

For his part, GACA Chief Al-Duailej said that the launch of self-service for passports confirms the importance of the vital role played by the civil aviation system and partners from government agencies in harnessing digitization and self-services to improve the experience of travelers, in accordance with the best international standards. “This service is the best testimony to the level of the sector’s pioneering aspirations as it seeks to achieve the goals of the National Aviation Strategy and Saudi Vision 2030 so as to become a pioneer in the aviation sector in the Middle East.”

Eng. Ayman Abu Abah, CEO of Riyadh Airports Co., said that this service is a significant addition to the digital transformation of the airport. “The self-service passport machines will contribute to accelerating the mechanism of passenger movement inside the terminal, by giving it a greater degree of ease of procedures, which will be reflected in its direct impact on developing the passengers’ experience,” he added.

AI with young man in the night

How AI Tools Are Transforming Coaching in SA

AI with young man in the night

Maintaining the human-centric approach of coaching is critical in the AI-driven era

Coaching is a caring profession characterised by a trusted relationship, authentic connection, and a collaborative partnership between the coach and client. At the core of coaching lie deep, one-to-one, empathetic conversations. The ‘human touch’ is not just important, it’s critical to the whole coaching endeavour. However, this is not to say that the coaching industry will in any way be immune to transformation by AI tools.

Lee-Ann Drummond, head of management and leadership faculty at SACAP (the South African College of Applied Psychology), a leading provider of coach education says, “Like everyone else, coaches are interested in improving efficiencies as well as enhancing their performance and capacities to reach and serve clients. AI models for coaches are already emerging to take on mundane administrative tasks, freeing coaches up to spend more time on client engagements. AI tools can help in analysing coaching data and delivering insights, personalising learning interventions to suit clients’ individual learning styles, and by providing platforms and virtual assistants that help coaches scale their practices.”

These technologies hold the promise of democratising the coaching industry, expanding access across business and society. In future, many more people are likely to be able to access expert coaching services that support them in leading more fulfilling lives and making significant contributions to their communities, and country. However, how will the latest technologies, driven by machine learning, integrate with the decidedly human-centric field of coaching?

Professor Nicky Terblanche, academic, executive coach and founder of coachvici.com is an early adopter of AI tools for coaches and coaching education. He says, “What is interesting is that in a recent research study I did, we found that clients are keen to use AI coaching, while coaches in the study were more sceptical and felt that the AI coach would interfere with the bond they have with their clients. I also think in general coaches are not necessarily interested in technology since they are drawn to coaching because of the human touch. Coaches, however, need to upskill themselves and become aware of the potential of AI. If not, they could be caught napping when AI tools surpass certain basic human coaching approaches.”

What types of AI tools are coaches using?

There’s already a wide range of AI tools for coaches on offer, and often, coaches who are early adopters and interested in the potential of the technologies are involved in developing new and emerging AI tools, which include:


– Coach chatbots – these text or voice models, which can be stand-alone or be embedded in a platform can engage with clients to answer questions, guide them through a process such as onboarding, provide feedback or facilitate coaching exercises and reflections. They are often regarded as a type of virtual assistant.

– Coach virtual assistants – the aim of these tools, whether they are behind-the-scenes and administrative or client-facing is to take on standard tasks giving coaches more time to focus on their actual coaching sessions.
Personalised coaching platforms – AI-driven coaching platforms create personalised coaching plans based on algorithms. They may include features such as goal setting and feedback mechanisms.

– NLP platforms – Coaches can use AI-powered Natural Language Processing platforms to analyse clients’ written or spoken language to identify patterns and themes as well as gauge sentiment. These insights can help the coach to tailor their approach and interventions for individual clients.

– Data analytics tools – AI algorithms can identify trends and correlations, and present insights that help coaches track client progress, measure their coaching effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.

Maintaining the human-centric approach of coaching is critical in the AI-driven era. These new tools don’t obviate the need for nurturing connection, active listening, and empathetic interaction. Coaches still need to empower clients to shape their own coaching journey, respecting their autonomy and agency. AI tools should support the client-centred ethos and not replace it. Coaches using AI tools also must monitor for biases in the AI algorithms and take the necessary steps to mitigate them. This highlights how important it is for coaches to be competent in using all their tools and how they must be equipped to have full oversight and accountability in the use of their AI tools.

Globally, coaching bodies are in the process of devising guidelines for the ethical use of AI tools for coaches. Full transparency and informed consent about the AI tools the coach is using is essential. There are also new data privacy and security issues that coaches will need to address as part of building a trusted relationship with their clients as well as meeting regulatory requirements.

Professor Terblanche concludes, “Coaches who embrace AI will be more productive and deliver better coaching. In one of my studies, it was found that AI can already perform as well as human coaches for very structured coaching conversations. Coaches who are not properly trained or who use simplistic coaching models could be replaced by AI coaches. In essence, AI is just another powerful tool in the Coach Toolbox. My suggestion to South African coaches is to investigate it, play with it and use it as it fits into your practice. But don’t ignore it!”

INNOVIA Biobank

Most Visionary Healthcare Diversification CEO 2023: Dr. Mohannad Al-Ghazo

INNOVIA Biobank: Charting Uncharted Territories in the Biobanking Industry

INNOVIA Biobank

In the vast continuum of medical breakthroughs, the world stands poised on the precipice of a transformative era. This epoch is being shaped by the groundbreaking feats of stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. INNOVIA Biobank is pioneering such a monumental shift in the MENA region.

INNOVIA Biobank, the parent company of BabyCord and subsidiaries, is Jordan’s first biobank and a symbol of relentless innovation, dedication, and foresight. Starting out as an umbilical cord blood and tissue storage facility, it grew to become a leading medical and research facility.

In 2016, in order to expand prospects for cutting-edge medical applications and treatments utilizing stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood and tissue in the MENA region, Dr. Maher Sarraf founded BabyCord, a subsidiary of INNOVIA Biobank, in Jordan. This came about after more than 11 years of serving as agents on behalf of a stem cell bank in Boston.

Now, the company’s CEO, Dr. Mohannad Al-Ghazo has seen well-deserved success within the Middle East CEO of the Year Awards 2023, so we learn more about the company and the important work it does.

Babycord Stemcell Bank: The Elixir of Life

Venturing into the labyrinth of stem cell research is Babycord stem cell bank. Its focus on preserving stem cells from cord blood and dental pulp is not merely scientific—it’s revolutionary.

Stem cells, especially embryonic ones, are significant because they are unspecialized cells with the rare ability to differentiate into 200 types of specialized cells including blood, brain, muscle, and bone cells, which can be induced naturally or experimentally to regenerate and repair damaged tissues.

These robust stem cells are not just inscriptions in medical journals. They are transformative agents capable of remedying a vast array of blood disorders, metabolic challenges, immune insufficiencies, and some cancers like leukemia. Additionally, they provide tremendous therapeutic potential for conditions like cerebral palsy and autism that are still undergoing clinical trials.

While stem cells can be obtained from a donor’s bone marrow, the sample must be a perfect match, unlike stem cells extracted from cord blood. What is more, bone marrow collection is a painful and invasive procedure that requires the use of anesthesia. In contrast, the process of collecting umbilical cord blood and tissue during normal and caesarean deliveries is non-intrusive and painless for both mother and child.

“It is one of the most life-affirming developments, because what used to be discarded as clinical waste —the placenta and umbilical cord — is now harvested as a reservoir for highly effective, regenerative medicine,” Dr. Maher Sarraf says.

If a parent misses the chance to preserve a child’s stem cells at birth, it is not as catastrophic as one might believe. Stem cells can also be extracted from other sources such as milk teeth. So if your child has a wiggly tooth that eventually falls out — you can keep it for advantages even the tooth fairy can’t.

“The versatility of dental pulp stem cells, especially their potential in nerve and tissue repair, paints a future not limited by medical constraints,” Sarraf adds.

Cord blood can be used as a treatment for not just the child, but the entire family — including parents, siblings, and maternal and paternal grandparents — for a lifetime. The extracted cord blood contains genetic receptors specific to each person, called Human Leukocyt Antigen (HLA). Usually, these receptors are identical to the child’s and match first-degree relatives: siblings, father, and mother, at a percentage of 25 to 100 percent. 

For a family that includes the child, siblings, parents, and grandparents, there is a high probability — 40 percent — that at least one family member will be diagnosed with a condition that can use stem cells for treatment.

The process

So where does BabyCord come in? The company supplies customers with a cord blood collection kit prior to a baby’s due date. The assigned BabyCord on-call nurse will bring an additional collection kit and help the physician with the collection once the delivery starts. After the baby’s delivery and after the clamping and separation of the umbilical cord, a needle attached to the collection bag is inserted into the center of cord and the placenta, causing the blood to flow into it. The bag gets packaged in specialized padded boxes and transported to the lab less than an hour from the time of collection to optimize the number of viable stem cells recovered.

Each cord blood unit is assigned a unique barcode identifier number that is traceable throughout the processing and preservation procedure to prevent any cross-contamination. Once the stem cells are separated from whole blood, they are collected into a specialized biocompatible multi-segmented cryogenic storage blood bag in preparation for cryopreservation (the process of freeze-storing cells at very low temperatures) and storage.

The cryopreservation rates of cooling vary depending on its stage, resulting in positive effects on stem cell recovery after thawing. The initial freezing process is computer-controlled at a pre-set rate followed by storage in -196°C high-capacity liquid nitrogen tanks.

INNOVIA Tissue Bank: The Vanguard of Reproductive Evolution

However, INNOVIA is not only limited to cord blood and stem cells. 2019 witnessed INNOVIA’s ambitious foray into tissue banking — a testament to its drive to diversify and amplify its global footprint. INNOVIA’s tenet as a tissue bank comes from ‘patients stay, tissue moves’.

Collaborations with prestigious entities like the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University Hospital of Dusseldorf speak volumes. The crown jewel? Its groundbreaking Fertility Preservation Program, with a keen emphasis on preserving ovarian tissue. This isn’t just a medical procedure; it’s a beacon of hope for cancer-afflicted women worldwide, gifting them agency over their reproductive destinies.

INNOVIA Genetics: Deciphering the Code of Life

Venturing deeper into the genetic matrix, INNOVIA Genetics emerges as a pioneer. Through advanced technology, it unravels the intricate dance of genes, offering diagnostic testing and invaluable consultations. The stellar offering of NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing) stands as a beacon of our ceaseless dedication to healthcare excellence.

INNOVIA Lab: Healthcare Beyond Boundaries

For those questing a gamut of healthcare solutions, INNOVIA Lab emerges as the answer, offering an extensive suite of general laboratory services, tailored to address diverse health requirements. The company’s commitment? An unparalleled healthcare journey.

INNOVIA Academy: Shaping the Medical Titans of Tomorrow

INNOVIA doesn’t just embrace today; it shapes tomorrow. Its association with the University of Jordan culminates in INNOVIA Academy — a unique institution specializing in cutting-edge courses on genetics, stem cells, and advanced lab techniques. Its mission? To mold the torchbearers of future medical wonders.

INNOVIA’s state-of-the art facility, strategically located five minutes away from the international airport, is constructed using reinforced steel and concrete, storage areas insulated with specialized bullet-proof glass and concrete walls, automated backup generators, computer networking with remote location data record backup, and on-site and remote audio/video monitoring and recording.

INNOVIA’s precautions ensure protection against natural calamities such as earthquakes, fires, and floodings, and external attacks such as theft or vandalism. The building also has 24-hour security system connected to rapid emergency and protection authority notification and deployment, and 24-hour on-duty guards.

Such meticulous adherence to global standards is mirrored in INNOVIA’s laudable ISO certification, coupled with a full-fledged accreditation from the (Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)). This regional and global recognition doesn’t culminate here; its proud registration with the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) accentuates its commitment to global healthcare standards.

INNOVIA Biobank is not merely a laboratory; it’s an institution that envisions and safeguards our collective future health. In the grand tapestry of regenerative medicine, INNOVIA Biobank shines brightly. It is not just an establishment; it is a promise — a vision for a future where medicine isn’t just enhanced; it’s revolutionary. As the company navigates these exciting waters, its beacon remains constant: a relentless pursuit of a brighter, healthier future for all.

INNOVIA Genetics: A World-Class Center of Excellence in Genetic Services

INNOVIA Genetics proudly stands as a beacon in the world of genetic medicine. Having received widespread global acclaim, its reputation as a top-ranking institution is indisputable.

At the heart of this immense success is Dr. Mohammed Raqqad, a distinguished clinical geneticist. As INNOVIA Genetics’ Medical Director, Dr. Raqqad ensures that the entire spectrum of services – from diagnostics to treatments – adheres to the highest benchmarks of excellence. Moreover, his role as the Dean of INNOVIA ACADEMY is a testament to his relentless passion for nurturing and equipping the next cadre of genetic aficionados.

Underpinned by a stellar team of professionals, INNOVIA Genetics is unwavering in its mission: harnessing genetic insights for a brighter, healthier tomorrow.

Key Specializations within the team:

  • An expert consultant in Pediatric Neurology, Epilepsy, and Neurophysiology brings to the table a deep-rooted understanding of intricate neurological challenges faced by its pediatric demographic.
  • A distinguished specialist in Inherited Metabolic Diseases is instrumental in pioneering innovative pathways for the management and treatment of metabolic disorders.
  • A Dermatologist and Venereologist, delving deep into the genetic intricacies of the skin, ensuring patients avail comprehensive dermatological care.
  • A Senior Consultant of Pediatric Cardiology leading its pediatric heart care and offering groundbreaking cardiac care solutions for younger patients.

Comprehensive Genetic Counseling:

Understanding the contemporary needs for adaptability and flexibility, INNOVIA Genetics provides both virtual and in-person genetic counseling sessions. Designed with utmost precision, these sessions aim to demystify the complex realm of genetics for patients. Alongside, INNOVIA Genetics offers an extensive array of genetic tests and services, guaranteeing a holistic genetic solution for each and every person.

Pioneering in Reproductive Genetics:

Its forte in Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidies (PGTA) and Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) places it at the forefront of reproductive genetics. The company is dedicated to offering a seamless and enriching experience for both individuals and families navigating these genetic pathways.

State-of-the-Art Facility:

Its exemplary services are housed in a modern facility designed and customized to meet the rigorous demands of genetic medicine. Its College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation is not merely a badge of honor; it’s a testament to its unwavering commitment to quality and excellence. Achieving this accreditation required meeting stringent standards signifies the company’s devotion to best practices and patient safety.

Vision for the Future:

As the landscape of genetic medicine continuously evolves, so does INNOVIA Genetics. Its horizon is brimming with goals and aspirations, including furthering research, introducing avant-garde genetic solutions, and expanding collaborations with global institutions.

 INNOVIA Academy: Bridging the Gap in Genetics and Stem Cells Education

In today’s rapidly evolving medical landscape, genetics and stem cells stand out as two of the most promising and groundbreaking fields. Yet, despite their vast potential, there remains a distinct lack of comprehensive education specifically tailored to these specialized fields. INNOVIA Academy addresses this exact void by equipping the next generation of healthcare professionals with the knowledge and expertise necessary to drive further innovation in these domains.

Why INNOVIA Academy was established?

The idea of INNOVIA Academy was inspired by a simple, yet profound realization: while genetics and stem cells held the key to future medical miracles, there was an acute shortage in institutions offering specialized courses on these subjects.

Traditional medical curricula, though rigorous, frequently merely touches the surface of these topics. As pioneers in the biobank industry, INNOVIA recognized the imperative of a deeper, more thorough and more focused education in genetics and stem cells. As a result, INNOVIA Academy stands as a beacon of specialized knowledge in a sea of generalist medical education and functions as a knowledge hub. It offers an in-depth curriculum on genetics, coupled with hands-on training sessions, workshops, and research projects.

Affiliation with the University of Jordan: A Confluence of Legacy and Innovation
The partnership with the University of Jordan represents more than just a strategic decision; it represents the fusion of historic academic prestige with avant-garde medical education. The University, with its rich history and stellar academic reputation, lends credibility, legitimacy, and depth to the academy. This affiliation ensures that the curriculum is rooted in foundational academic principles as it keeps up with the cutting-edge medical advancements.

CPD Accreditation: A Testament to Excellence

Earning the CPD (Continuing Professional Development) accreditation is no small feat. It stands as a rigorous endorsement of the academy’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing the knowledge and skills of its students and faculty. INNOVIA Academy’s courses aren’t just designed to impart knowledge; they aim to foster continuous learning and professional growth.

Courses Tailored for Tomorrow

Understanding that the realms of genetics and stem cells are vast and multifaceted, INNOVIA Academy offers a range of courses tailored to meet the diverse needs of its students. From foundational courses introducing the basic concepts to advanced modules exploring the latest research and techniques, the academy ensures that its students are always a step ahead, ready to shape the future of Medicine.

A Vision for the Future

Although INNOVIA Academy was established in response to a current need, its vision is firmly set on the future. Beyond merely providing education, the academy’s mission is shaping future thought leaders, innovators, and pioneers in the fields of genetics and stem cells. With the steadfast support of its affiliates and the dedication of its faculty, INNOVIA Academy is not just teaching medicine; it’s redefining it.

INNOVIA Academy is the movement – striving to bridge the knowledge gap in two of the most crucial medical fields. Through its endeavors, the academy ensures that the promise of genetics and stem cells is not just realized but surpassed, heralding a brighter, healthier future for all.

Company: INNOVIA Biobank

Website: innoviabiobank.com

Cloud

Middle East Cloud Market Poised for Accelerated Growth As 76% of Firms Pledge Bigger Cloud Budgets

Cloud
  • 88% of “cloud-powered” companies reported an increase in revenue over the past six to nine months, compared to 76% of non-cloud-powered firms
  • Regional cloud market has potential to generate substantial additional revenues, with three-quarters of firms set to increase their cloud budgets in 2024, and 68% of Middle East companies planning to migrate a majority of their operations to the cloud by 2025

Cloud adoption across the Middle East has passed the initial adoption phase and is poised for accelerated growth, with a significant proportion of companies already capturing tangible value from the cloud, according to the latest report by Strategy& and PwC Middle East, titled “Cloud computing in the Middle East: New opportunities for companies and cloud providers.”

The survey questioned 420 technology and business leaders from various sectors in the region’s two largest cloud computing markets, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The analysis suggests that if the Middle East were to catch up with Europe in terms of market maturity, cloud vendors could potentially secure around US$5.6 billion in new revenue. If the region were to match North America in maturity, the new revenue potential could potentially be closer to US$14 billion.

 

Cloud adoption in the region 

The Strategy& and PwC Middle East report finds that 85% of the companies have already embarked their cloud journey – 32% of the companies in the region utilize the cloud in at least one area of operations, 35% have adopted cloud computing across multiple domains of their business and 18% already having scaled cloud throughout their business. Looking forward, 68% of Middle East companies have the ambition to migrate almost all of their operations to the cloud within the next two years. To fund these initiatives, 76% of companies intend to increase their cloud budget over the coming year.

Furthermore, 90% organizations have moved beyond a simple “lift and shift” approach to cloud adoption, employing modernization, cloud-native application development and business models built on the cloud to reap more benefits from their cloud initiatives.

“The Middle East is experiencing a significant transformation in its approach to cloud computing, rapidly closing the gap with international benchmarks. Thanks to proactive government investments and the growing presence of public cloud providers, both public and private entities now have an accelerated avenue to tap into the profound benefits of this technology,” said Nikolaos Lioulis, Principal with Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC network.

 

The value of cloud computing

The report also finds that approximately 40% of companies already realized measurable value from their cloud initiatives, including improved decision making (40%), increase in profitability (34%), or new revenue streams (30%) amongst others. The analysis indicated that despite their strong performance, cloud-powered companies in the Middle East have room for improvement when it comes to capturing value. By comparison, cloud-powered companies in the U.S. are more adept at extracting value in all areas.

According to the report, many of the challenges that Middle Eastern companies typically face in realizing measurable value are external; and can be addressed through vendor support. For instance, 47% of cloud-powered companies said they experienced problems related to cloud providers, such as concerns about service quality. In contrast, non-cloud-powered companies were more inclined to attribute their challenges to internal factors: budget constraints, limitations in technology capabilities, and leadership issues. Notably, 88% of cloud-powered companies reported an increase in revenue over the past six to nine months.

“Our findings illustrate the tangible benefits of cloud technology for businesses. Approximately 40% of the companies surveyed reported significant improvements across various dimensions. Interestingly, there is a direct link between cloud adoption and enhanced top-line performance. As organizations look to further leverage this potential, our report offers various recommendations drawing from the practical experiences of companies that have successfully harnessed the advantages of cloud computing, said Achilles Drettas, Partner with Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC network.

 

Capturing the full value of the cloud

“Our findings show that organizations can maximize the value of the cloud by taking a programmatic approach rooted in a meticulously planned cloud strategy. Moreover, it must be grounded on business priorities, strong cloud controls and governance, and follow a proactive program framework which engages the entire C-suite, as well as key stakeholders from the outset,” added Rajat Chowdhary, Partner with PwC Middle East.

Specifically, the analysis revealed four key actions that successful cloud-powered businesses usually take to fully exploit value from the cloud:

 

1. Take a holistic approach

Cloud-powered companies adopt a holistic approach, driven by a well-defined vision and supported by a robust architectural roadmap and governance framework, aligned with specific business goals. They are more likely to deploy the cloud for a combination of uses—enabling them to prioritize infrastructure strategies and migration methods on an application-by-application basis, ensuring effective value creation.

 

2. Build stronger alliances across the C-suite

Cloud-powered companies excel at building strong alliances within the C-suite, encompassing both business and technology roles. Chief information officers and technology teams in these companies recognize that transformation is a collective effort—and collaborate closely at the earliest stages of planning, budgeting, and requirement gathering.

 

3. Emphasize cloud controls and governance

Cloud-powered companies are more advanced than other companies when it comes to adopting leading practices in cloud governance, risk, and controls. They are more likely to have resources dedicated to cloud governance, formal and distinct cloud controls, and robust evaluations of shared responsibility with Cloud professional and managed services providers.

 

4. Develop a formal data, analytics, and artificial intelligence strategy

Cloud-powered companies are much more likely to have an enterprise-wide data strategy than other companies (73% versus 42%). That means they typically develop a streamlined architecture to modernize data into an integrated view, create governance structures, and develop the necessary skills and operational changes needed to become data-driven organizations.

The report also discusses five key considerations for cloud professional and managed services providers that want to remain competitive and meet changing customer demands. The recommendations focused on embracing cloud native technologies, differentiating through the industry cloud, promoting security as a core offering, partnering with public cloud providers, and focusing on unique strengths.

Business Transformation

Dell Technologies Growing Generative AI Portfolio Speeds Business Transformations

Business Transformation
  • Dell Validated Design for Generative AI with NVIDIA for Model Customization helps customers more quickly and securely extract intelligence from their data
  • Dell Professional Services streamline GenAI strategy development, data preparation, platform development and increase operational efficiencies
  • Dell Technologies and Starburst offer an open, modern data lakehouse solution to tap multicloud data for AI efforts

Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) expands its Dell Generative AI Solutions portfolio, helping businesses transform how they work along every step of their generative AI (GenAI) journeys.

“To maximize AI efforts and support workloads across public clouds, on-premises environments and at the edge, companies need a robust data foundation with the right infrastructure, software and services,” said Jeff Boudreau, chief AI officer, Dell Technologies. “That’s what we are building with our expanded validated designs, professional services, modern data lakehouse and the world’s broadest GenAI solutions portfolio.”

 

Customizing GenAI models to maximize proprietary data

The Dell Validated Design for Generative AI with NVIDIA for Model Customization offers pre-trained models that extract intelligence from data without building models from scratch. 

This solution provides best practices for customizing and fine-tuning GenAI models based on desired outcomes while keeping information secure and on-premises. With a scalable blueprint for customization, organizations now have multiple ways to tailor GenAI models to accomplish specific tasks with their proprietary data. Its modular and flexible design supports a wide range of computational requirements and use cases, spanning training diffusion, transfer learning and prompt tuning.

Dell Validated Designs for Generative AI now support both model tuning and inferencing, allowing users to more quickly deploy GenAI models with proven infrastructure including the Dell PowerEdge XE9680, the industry’s best performing AI server,1 or the Dell PowerEdge XE8640, with a choice of NVIDIA® Tensor Core GPUs and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software, which offers frameworks, pre-trained models and development tools, such as the NVIDIA NeMo™ framework, and Dell software. By combining compute power with storage options, such as Dell PowerScale and Dell ObjectScale, customers can rapidly feed models with multiple storage data types with the validated design. The infrastructure is also available as a subscription via Dell APEX.

“We’re implementing Dell PowerEdge XE9680 servers with NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs into the high performance computing cluster at Princeton for large language modeling to help drive new levels of discovery,” said Sanjeev Arora, the Charles C. Fitzmorris Professor in Computer Science, Princeton. “This system gives researchers in natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities the opportunity to apply powerful AI models to their work in areas such as visualization, modeling and quantum computing.”

 

Preparing data, people and processes for GenAI

Dell is applying its process and expertise to help customers generate better, faster business results with expanded GenAI professional services capabilities:

  • Data Preparation Services provide customers with a clean, accurate data set in the right format enabling AI projects to move smoothly while simplifying data integration and delivering quality data output.
  • Dell Implementation Services establish an operational GenAI platform for inferencing and model customization, accelerating time to value. Paired with Dell Managed Services, Dell can operate the full NVIDIA-based GenAI solution, improving operational efficiency and allowing customers to focus on building their proprietary GenAI use cases.
  • Education Services help customers gain the critical skills to close the GenAI capabilities gap.

“Our recent study on Generative AI use in the enterprise made it clear organizations are adamant about being able to use their own data to customize key foundation models, but also need assistance in helping prep their data for that work,” said Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst, TECHnalysis Research. “Dell’s latest Generative AI solutions and partnerships offer a broad set of capabilities that help companies capitalize on this potential, bridging knowledge gaps and ensuring data drives discernible, impactful business results.”

 

Modernizing data infrastructure for AI and analytics   

Dell and Starburst are strengthening their relationship to help customers accelerate AI and analytics efforts. This will culminate with an open, modern data lakehouse solution.
 
The solution will integrate Starburst’s analytics software with Dell’s PowerEdge compute platform, combined with Dell industry-leading storage,2 helping customers extract insights from data wherever it resides. Built with open software principles, customers will gain easy and secure access to multicloud data to get the most value for analytics and AI-driven workflows and deployments. 
 
“Our customers have made it clear they need a robust data platform for accessing distributed data across multicloud environments to drive and operationalize AI efforts,” said Justin Borgman, CEO, Starburst. “By integrating our deep analytics capabilities with Dell’s leading infrastructure and global enterprise services, we can offer customers an open, multicloud data lakehouse solution that quickly and easily makes data available to AI workflows anywhere.”

 

Availability

  • Dell Validated Design for Generative AI: Model Customization is available globally through traditional channels and Dell APEX starting late October.
  • Dell Professional Services for Generative AI are available in select countries starting late October.
  • The Dell open, modern data lakehouse solution with Starburst has planned global availability in the first half of 2024.
AI Healthcare

Understanding Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) Role in Accelerating Africa’s Healthcare Momentum

AI Healthcare

By Eyong Ebai, General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa at GE HealthCare (www.GEHealthcare.in/)

In Africa, as in much of the world, artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest buzzword amongst healthcare professionals. Globally, we saw an explosion last year of various AI generative platforms, promising unparalleled potential to solve some of the continent’s biggest problems.

This has triggered a (sometimes breathless) dialogue regarding the potential for AI in the African context. Could it help the healthcare sector leapfrog to the latest technologies and overcome a host of complex challenges that have hampered healthcare for decades?

Answering that question is more complex than a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’

While it is absolutely true that AI can play a role in Africa’s healthcare evolution, it cannot be our starting point. We must start with the “ABCs”, as it were. Then we can leverage AI in the service of these broader goals.

 

The ABCs of Healthcare

More than 10 years ago, Khalish Chand, who received an OBE for his service to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), outlined the ABCs of healthcare (Access, Behavior and Clinical governance) as a prescription to overhaul the NHS. His framework remains a powerful tool to help us think about Africa’s healthcare prioritization, sequencing and resource allocation.

In Africa, this means ensuring that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, and without enduring financial hardship. This requires investing in the infrastructure, logistics and health financing models that enable adequate access to care for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The behavior of Africa’s doctors, nurses, community health workers and all healthcare providers toward their patients must always be empathetic, understanding and respectful. We must work with African patients to shift them from passive recipients of care to proactive and empowered “own-health advocates.” At the same time, investing in Africa’s healthcare workforce is critical to ensuring the health sector can attract, train and retain the best people to serve our communities.

For health ministries and private providers, this requires a robust clinical governance framework that encompasses appropriate risk management, compliance and standards, and quality information and evidence-based approaches to managing healthcare systems. This means the right laws, regulations and policies must be put in place to ensure the best health outcomes.

 

Structural transformation

We can see a commitment to these ABCs in the New Public Health Order for Africa, launched by the African Union in 2021. This initiative addresses deep structural public health deficiencies at national, regional and global levels by focusing action in five areas: fortifying public health institutions; strengthening the public health workforce; expanding African manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics; increasing domestic resources for health security; and building respectful and action-oriented partnerships.

 

ABC to lead, AI to support

With this context, it is clear that AI and broader digitization can help fulfil the ABCs in an African context.

However, it is important to note that this is made possible, in part, because of Africa’s enormous success at leveraging digitization to innovate African solutions to African challenges. For example, mobile money was born in Kenya and revolutionized the financial, economic, and social landscape for millions of Africans. Africa enjoys high mobile phone penetration rates, and a growing youthful population is conversant and comfortable with an increasingly digitized lifestyle. 

This infrastructure and outlook make it much easier for healthcare providers to deploy digital connectivity solutions such as telehealth consultations or remote health monitoring. One result is more people can access more primary and specialized care, even in remote locations.

Beyond consultations, this digitization includes devices such as handheld ultrasound machines that can extend the reach of this important diagnostic tool to rural and remote primary health centers.

Another example: in a region facing a shortage of nurses and hospital beds, technologies such as remote ECG (electrocardiogram) devices mean doctors can send patients home and still ensure they are being monitored safely and confidentially over the internet.

When it comes to behavior, smart wearables can help patients keep track of important health data, while AI-enabled medical imaging equipment can help technicians complete scans more accurately and more quickly, shortening scan times by 75% or more, and giving clinicians better information to enhance diagnostics and treatment. AI-enabled electronic medical record software can help clinicians spend more time with patients by reducing time spent on simple decisions and paperwork.

Both access and behavior can be addressed through a just-signed agreement whereby GE HealthCare will develop AI-assisted ultrasound imaging auto-assessment tools. Seeking to expand access in low-and-middle income countries across diverse points of care, the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a grant to support development of tools to aid healthcare professionals—even those without specialized training or experience with ultrasound—with clinical decision information in areas of obstetrics, maternal and neonatal lung ultrasound screening, and pediatric lung health.

For health ministries and hospital groups, connecting data from equipment and operations to AI-powered software in a secure cloud platform can generate clinical and productivity insights that can help doctors improve diagnoses and facilities optimize patient flow. That’s a clear win for clinical governance.

As I wrote earlier this year (https://apo-opa.info/45UZZ6p), this is an important and exciting time for African healthcare. The determination, the vision, and the funding are available to make major strides in country after country. We must continue this momentum by prioritizing development of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare infrastructure and other interventions that support the early detection and prevention of disease. We must promote skills development and job creation, and approach all these needs from a holistic perspective that is not siloed by technology, geography, disease, or organization.

To accelerate this momentum, all stakeholders must come together to pursue what patients and populations need now: increased healthcare access, expanded infrastructure, more healthcare workers with the training they need, and healthcare systems and care pathways that are holistic.

AI can play a valuable role. It is not, however, the answer. Making it so would be a distraction that could impact care to millions.

GE HealthCare is committed to working with regional partners across Africa to create a world where healthcare has no limits. At this moment of unbounded potential, those of us working in African healthcare must remain focused on the ABCs of high-quality, patient-focused healthcare to all people and communities across the continent.

Digital Partnership

Digital DEWA, the Digital Arm of DEWA, Strengthens Strategic Partnership with Huawei During China Visit

Digital Partnership

HE Saeed Al Tayer held a meeting with Guo Ping, Chairman of Huawei Supervisory Board

A delegation led by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) visited China. Al Tayer was accompanied by Marwan Bin Haidar, Vice Chairman and Group CEO of Digital DEWA; and Waleed Bin Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at DEWA. During his visit to the headquarters of Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company, in Shenzhen, Guangdong, Al Tayer met with senior officials from Huawei. He was briefed on the company’s latest technologies, products and facilities. Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA, and Huawei.

 

Meetings

HE Saeed Al Tayer held a meeting with Guo Ping, Chairman of Huawei Supervisory Board. The two sides discussed enhancing cooperation and exchanging experiences and best practices, particularly in energy storage, smart grids, digital transformation, cloud computing, and electric vehicle charging stations. The meeting also highlighted the successful launch of the first phase of the world’s largest green data centre, recognised by the Guinness World Records. The data centre, implemented by Moro Data Hub, a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, in collaboration with Huawei, is located at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

Al Tayer also met Charles Yang, President, Global Marketing and Sales Services, Huawei Digital Power. The meeting focused on digital transformation in the utility sector and Huawei’s experience in this area. Furthermore, Al Tayer had a meeting with Sun Fuyou, CEO of Huawei Electric Power Digitalisation Business Unit. Al Tayer highlighted DEWA’s smart grid strategy, and the two sides discussed the latest developments in digital transformation in power networks.

 

Visits

Al Tayer and the accompanying delegation visited the Edison Exhibition Hall, where they were briefed on Huawei Digital Power’s latest products. They also visited Huawei Enterprise Digital Transformation Exhibition Hall; Huawei Digital Power Antuoshan Base; and Huawei Flagship Store in Shenzhen, Bantian, where they were briefed on smart vehicle auto driving.

 

MoU

In the presence of HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Digital DEWA signed an MoU with Huawei to enhance their strategic partnership and mutual work. The MoU focuses on accelerating digital transformation, decarbonisation, and developing a future-oriented power communication network. This supports DEWA’s efforts in energy transformation, sustainability, and achieving Net-Zero. The MoU was signed by Marwan Bin Haidar and Jerry Liu, General Manager of Huawei Technologies UAE L.L.C.

 

Visits

 “We are happy to enhance our fruitful strategic collaboration with Huawei. This is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to benefit from digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence to improve performance and enhance people’s lives. Our collaboration supports the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, which aims to develop an integrated system that employs AI in key areas in the UAE; and the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global hub towards achieving a competitive national economy that is based on knowledge, innovation and future technological applications. We work with Huawei to exchange best practices and experiences and develop new technologies and solutions to enhance efficiency and sustainability in the electricity and water sectors and reduce the carbon emissions from the electricity production process. We aim to achieve the UAE’s environmental goals, especially as the country is upscaling the climate ambition and gearing up to host the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) in Expo City Dubai in November. COP28 marks the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake, a comprehensive assessment of the progress made in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

“We are keen to enhance the strategic relationship between DEWA and Huawei. The partnership has resulted in significant achievements over the past years in digital transformation, exchanging the best international solutions, experiences and practices, especially in innovation, disruptive technologies, smart grids, digital transformation, automation, cloud platforms, Artificial Intelligence, data security, and big data management, among others. We harness the latest solutions and innovative technologies to support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050, to provide 100% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050. Our goal is to disrupt the business model of public utilities and become the world’s first digital utility to use autonomous systems for renewable-energy and storage; and expanding the use of digital services,” added Al Tayer.

“We are glad to further consolidate our cooperation with DEWA. As a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices, Huawei is committed to bringing the world’s leading digital power solutions that will enhance the lives of Dubai residents and offer a model for the future of power transmission in the region. In a joint effort with DEWA, we will continuously try to act as a solid foundation for the digitalization of the UAE,” said Jerry Liu, General Manager of Huawei Technologies UAE L.L.C.

The MoU enhances the collaboration of the two parties in the energy sector communication network, transmission communication network (multi planes network), distribution communication network (FLISR), electric power digital transformation service, Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform for electric power, overhead lines and substation inspection, Internet of Things (IoT) and maintenance, distributed energy resources integration and management, digital capacity enhancement to achieve carbon neutrality, data centres, charging network, and smart photovoltaic energy and energy storage system.

Chat bot

Universities Should Embrace ChatGPT, Not Resist It, Says AURAK Study

Chat bot

ChatGPT and similar tools are here to stay, and it is futile to try to prevent their use. The best course of action is to guide university students to use such AI-enabled text-generation programs responsibly and ethically, according to an internal paper prepared by the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK).

As ChatGPT and several newer AI writers are predicted to disrupt the academic world in particular, the study takes the sober view that it is best to embrace these tools and integrate them into teaching practices.

The study acknowledges that ChatGPT poses a serious threat to academic integrity, but also underlines ChatGPT’s potential to be a helpful instructional tool under faculty supervision, with several do’s and don’ts.

Prof. Stephen Wilhite, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success/ Provost, AURAK, said: “It is very obvious that ChatGPT and other AI writers are set to have a profound impact on higher education. But apart from the obvious negative aspects, AI writers also have some intrinsic positive elements which can be used effectively to students’ advantage. The challenge is to find a win-win solution.”

In an experiment to assess the gravity of the situation, AURAK’s IT Department conducted an experiment. Staff members generated an essay on Climate Change using OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Then they ran a plagiarism test using the SafeAssign tool embedded in AURAK’s LMS Blackboard Learn.  The result showed 25% of the essay content was copied or matched a source from the Internet. Further, test of demo version of GPT-2 Output Detector showed 100% match with ChatGPT produced content.  However, detection of plagiarism was greatly reduced when ChatGPT content was paraphrased by Qillbot.

The rising popularity of ChatGPT and other AI writers underlines the need to have supporting faculty to maintain academic integrity, while incorporating appropriate use of AI tools. 

According to Professor Stephen, there is a need to revise the Academic Integrity/Statement on Plagiarism sections of the syllabus template. He recommends universities make it explicit that use of information generated by ChatGPT and other AI writers without identifying the source of the information would constitute plagiarism, which is a violation of the Honor Code and the Student Academic Integrity Policy.

Says Professor Stephen: “Anti-plagiarism software is not good at detecting ChatGPT-generated content. Providers of such software (e.g., SafeAssign, Turnitin, etc.) are endeavoring to improve detection. Also, ChatGPT has developed its own tool for detecting ChatGPT-generated content – GPT-2 Output Detector, and other ‘detectors’ are also being marketed (e.g., GPTZero). However, use of other paraphrasing software (e.g., Quillbot) greatly reduces detection of ChatGPT-generated content.”

The AURAK study recommends changes in assignments and assessments in educational settings. For example, in written assignments, students could be asked to connect personal experience or events from the class to course concepts, as the AI writer does not have access to personal experiences or class events. They could be asked to pair short written submissions with oral, in-class questioning about the submission.

Another recommendation is to have writing occur in-class with a zero tolerance policy for possession of any electronic devices during such writing exercises – “flipping” classes with reading, viewing of lectures, videos, etc., occurring at home but with writing about the material occurring in class.

Further, if written assignments are to be completed outside class, universities should collect an in-class sample of students’ writing as a “baseline” against which written assignments completed outside class can be compared.  However, AI writers will increasingly be able to mimic the writing style of users if provided with a sufficient sample of the user’s writing.

The study recommends greater vigilance when it comes to examinations, such as having  multiple, trained proctors present based on number of students being tested and having all electronic devices turned off and stored at entry to the exam room.

Despite the challenges, there are positive educational benefits of ChatGPT – it can be used as a helpful instructional tool under faculty supervision and as a tool to promote information literacy.  Graduates will increasingly be expected by employers to use AI writers in the workplace, so gaining familiarity with them and how to use them responsibly and ethically while in university, will better prepare students for their work after graduation.

Why Are Businesses Moving to the Cloud in 2023?

The term “cloud” refers to programs and services that run remotely through the internet rather than locally on a server or a computer. By utilizing the cloud, businesses have found cheaper alternatives while ensuring that their clients can access their data and systems from any location at any time.

The potential of cloud services is becoming increasingly apparent to various enterprises and is also growing. Consequently, the demand for the best cloud hosting providers has skyrocketed; feel free to click here to learn more about some of the best companies.

In this article, you will discover why most businesses shift to the cloud. You might also find that the benefits are worth it for you to make the switch. So, let’s get going.

Cost-Cutting

By switching to cloud technology, you can eliminate the need for on-site servers and save money. Instead of hosting the servers yourself, you pay cloud providers to manage the data centres and other resources.

Research shows that migrating to the cloud can result in savings of 30% to 50% for cloud clients. But while cost savings are possible, you must be cautious about the expectations you make, particularly in the beginning.

For instance, if cloud resources are abused, they might quickly end up costing far more than any kind of local server. And for this reason, it’s crucial to train your personnel and include qualified cloud architects. Alternatively, you can get a managed host to take care of all technical aspects while you get to focus on your core business tasks.

Scalability

Scalability is another reason businesses choose the cloud in 2023. Your goal is to have server capacity as close to your needs, but that’s hard to estimate. Cloud scalability is the capacity to scale up, or down IT resources to satisfy shifting business demands.

Moreover, you can scale up or down based on your business demands thanks to the pay-as-you-go business plan used by cloud service providers. Most simply explained, you pay for what you use, eliminating the need for specific estimations or overpaying for resources you might not need. At the same time, you can rest assured you have sufficient resources to support your traffic and growth.

Minimized Security Risks

On-premises servers are physical assets that are vulnerable to the same hazards that affect the rest of the facility, such as fires, flooding, and break-ins. Due to this weakness, there is a possibility that business data may leak or permanently be lost. Furthermore, corporate data is more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the rise of work-from-home settings.

When appropriately implemented, cloud-based infrastructure uses several security measures to protect user data. As a result, companies that transfer their data to the cloud can take advantage of top-notch security and business continuity technologies that are otherwise out of reach or unaffordable for small business budgets.

Advance of Globalization

It makes sense to have resources and services close to the new markets you want to enter as your firm grows and expands outside your domestic borders, whether for regulatory or performance-related reasons.

You can access resources and data centres that cloud providers already have in a variety of locations worldwide with a click of a button. In addition, cloud infrastructures will enable you to reach a global audience and deliver exceptional speeds for your visitors, especially with a CDN.

Conclusion

Moving to the cloud offers several advantages from a business and operational standpoint. In this post, we pointed out a few to help you decide whether to use the cloud for corporate purposes or even personal projects.

However, the moving to the cloud trend will continue in 2023 as many businesses switch to the cloud and many cloud providers improve the quality of their services. So, if you consider switching to the cloud, remember that there is no better time than now!

How B2B Companies Are Utilising Social Media To Boost Sales

For B2B companies, social media has become a way to not only market a brand but to ensure that the customers they have acquired have a far better likelihood of remaining loyal and forming the bulk of their sales.

But how do they do that? Here are five ways in which B2B companies can – and are – making the most out of social media:

Constant Content To Engage Customers

Before the age of social media, online content for businesses would only appear in the form of a web page that would have to be actively sought out. Not to mention, the web page itself would be a static entity, with little to no updated content to engage those who visited. With social media, however, this has all changed. Now, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tik Tok, businesses can provide constant content that directs the consumer to their web page and gives them more incentive to interact with it. Consumers who have bought once – and are happy with the service – are also more likely to type the name of the company into social media and follow the page, which means the content is delivered to their door after just one single click.

Boosting Loyalty Programs

Social media is a very important marketing strategy when it comes to retaining customers, too. In order for a B2B company to survive, it is important that retaining customers is prioritised and a strong b2b loyalty program is put in place to maximise the chances of retention. With social media, companies are actively marketing this loyalty program and incentivising clients to return to their company in order to take advantage of it. Once again, this is done through regular engaging content, something for the client to interact with and become invigorated by. This can also help spread the word and get new customers on board in the process – the more engagement a post has, the farther its reach is. Social media, in this way, has become the new “word of mouth”.

Creating A Channel For Consumers

But loyalty is also achieved through good products and good communication. In the B2B landscape, for instance, there is often talk about building a relationship with clients. But what does building a relationship really mean? For one thing, it means communication. Clients want to know that their needs are catered for, and that they are not just another statistic on a spreadsheet. With social media, the best B2B companies are achieving this relationship by giving their clients a channel to reach them quickly and efficiently. In this way, the platform is not simply a blank wall to advertise on but a bridge to allow consumers access to the company and a way to communicate with it.

Forging A Reputation

Reputation is important in business, and many times it is easy to assess a company’s reputation through their social media platforms. If potential clients seek out a business’s social media page and not only see engaging content, but an engaging platform that portrays positivity with already existing customers, then they are more likely to investigate further. In B2B, especially, the cost of acquiring new customers is five times higher than retaining customers, but social media can nullify that statistic. Of course, retaining customers is essential, but social media also gives a way for companies to control their reputation and utilise it to market themselves to new clients.

Building Partnerships

Social media is also a good tool when it comes to building and maintaining partnerships with other B2B companies. There are many advantages to business networking, and every good business will attend events to network with other companies. Social media, however, offers an alternative way to forge those relationships more efficiently and directly. These relationships can then be valuable down the line if the business needs advice or feedback on targets and an accurate representation – through the companies it has connected with – of the market as a whole.