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Demand for intelligent solutions grow in the Middle East

Demand for intelligent solutions grow in the Middle East
The need for conventional security solutions, but also the rising demand for solutions such as analytics, can prove to be a game changer for businesses in the future.
The key factor to understand as we take a closer look at the Middle East market is not just the need for conventional security solutions, but also the rising demand for solutions such as analytics that could prove to be a game changer for businesses in the future.

This was stressed by Ettiene Van Der Watt, Regional Director of Business Development at Axis Communications, as he pointed to the general interest in smart, intelligent devices that could spearhead growth in the region as technologies advance. “The Middle East market has continued to grow, and we expect a further increase in adoption of the latest IP network solutions in the coming years with a great focus on smart and innovative technologies,” Van Der Watt said. “We have seen a steady growth with a huge demand toward analytics and network audio systems, and we are getting a very positive response for our recently launched multi-sensor camera.”

Van Der Watt added that the company now expects to see a sustained and growing adoption of sophisticated video and audio analytics in the coming year, helping security systems evolve from passive monitoring to intelligent and adaptive recognition, situational awareness and analysis systems.

“All of our flexible solutions can be integrated into existing analog systems — so there’s no need to completely replace equipment,” he continued. “And with our open platform, you can add extra functionality in the future — from encoders and cameras to increased security and intelligence measures.”

Analytics go far beyond security uses as Van Der Watt rightly points out. Retailers, for example, are increasingly using video analytics to gain business intelligence insights that allow them to optimize shop floor plans, merchandise display or checkout queue management. This opens entirely new user groups to video surveillance. For example, in-store traffic flow and behavior analysis can help guide advertising and promotion campaigns.

This makes sense in the larger picture as the region steadily moves further toward innovations in the field of smart cities and other intelligent ecosystems. Earlier this year, the Dubai police had taken a major step in this regard, introducing smart police stations. Similarly, Abu Dhabi, selected by McKinsey Global Institute as the best smart city in the Middle East and Africa, launched a five-year plan in October 2018 to harness the power of the likes of artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT).

Major events to invite more interest

Two major events that are set to take place in the region are the Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Both governments are trying to establish high-end systems before these events, with solutions like driverless cars and air-conditioned sports stadiums. Although not targeting any specific event, the Saudi Arabian government has also unveiled a 2030 Vision.

For smart solutions providers, interest in the Middle East makes sense. The infrastructure growth is already ready to support more innovation. For instance, a report from Fibre to the Home Council Middle East and North Africa shows that UAE has the highest fiber to the home (FTHH) penetration in the world with about 85 percent of homes being subscribers. To put this in perspective, subscription rates in other top countries in this area, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, remain between 63 and 37 percent.

Interestingly the region already has two built-from-scratch smart cities, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City and Qatar’s Lusail. Along with international players, local startups are also playing an important role in this, creating job opportunities and generally boosting activity in this sector. There are still challenges, from cybersecurity concerns to lack of awareness on the benefits, but, despite these, Middle East is a region to keep a close watch on for the smart solutions industry.
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