During GITEX Technology Week 2018 this month, Microsoft signed partnerships with regional companies including Dubai Airports, UAE-based telecommunications service provider du, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC Group), and Zain Kuwait, to boost cloud, modern workplace and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in the GCC.

These partnerships aim to enable companies to better engage customers, empower employees, optimize operations and transform their business models.

Over the past year, Microsoft has observed a sizeable surge across the Gulf region in the demand for AI solutions, in both the public and private sectors. According to a Microsoft survey, some 29% of GCC enterprises are looking to adopt AI solutions.

Specific AI areas singled out as favorable adoption targets are business intelligence (41%), Internet of Things (37%), automated workflow (25%), predictive analytics (21%), and robotics and machine automation (14%).

Furthermore, the company found that more than 51% of organizations in the Gulf identified cloud computing as a top priority for adoption in 2018.

Microsoft teamed up with ENOC to pilot AI-powered Service Station of the Future, to enhance the consumer experience by linking ENOC services with mobile apps and leveraging on artificial intelligence.

Customers will be able to enjoy a personalized experience that can direct them to less busy stations on their routes, reducing their waiting time at the pump. Customers will also get products and services recommended to them based on their preferences and get them delivered to their cars while they refuel.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will collaborate with du on an AI initiative to transform customer experience and optimize operations, while it works with Zain Kuwait to offer various cloud-based services to large enterprises and small-medium businesses across Kuwait.

Dubai airports, which currently receives more than 90 million passengers each year, announced that it has migrated to the trusted Microsoft Azure Cloud platform as part of an ongoing strategy to drive digital transformation across the organization.

In March this year, the surge in uptake of its solutions and innovations led Microsoft to announce that it will deliver its cloud services to Middle East customers from two new dedicated data centers in the UAE, one in Dubai and the other in Abu Dhabi.

Microsoft invests more than $1 billion annually in cybersecurity research and development.

“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. The digital transformation opportunities delivered by the intelligent cloud are extensive,” said Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf.