Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala), the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company, and IBM (NYSE: IBM), announced ‘Cognit Technology Solutions LLC’ as the business entity to provide IBM’s computing system Watson to organizations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Cognit has been established specifically to apply IBM’s Watson computing capabilities to local industries and to support a regional ecosystem of entrepreneurs, app. developers and startups who are creating Watson apps and services throughout MENA.
Cognit was announced during a media conference at the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) campus against the backdrop of UAE Innovation Week. Sami Issa was introduced as the newly appointed General Manager of Cognit. Issa was joined by Mounir Barakat, Executive Director, Information & Communications Technology at Mubadala, and Brian Mulada, Chief Financial Officer, IBM Watson.
A panel line-up featuring dignitaries from organizations representing three of the high-growth sectors for Cognit; healthcare, education and government – outlined the vision for cognitive computing to transform their industries; Tawam Hospital, Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Dubai Municipality.
IBM’s Watson represents a new era in computing which uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. IBM is currently working on hundreds of projects to expand Watson’s industry domain knowledge across areas including healthcare, law, education, insurance and finance, as well as teaching the system languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and now Arabic.
Homaid Al Shemmari, CEO, Aerospace & Engineering Services (AES) at Mubadala, said, “Cognit will enable technological innovation all around us, providing Watson technology to local forward-thinking organizations across multiple sectors. The joint venture is a significant addition to Mubadala’s ICT portfolio and fortifies our ambition to develop the UAE as a regional ICT hub. Mubadala and IBM are committed to Cognit and confident about the success of the joint venture.”
“The collaboration with IBM to bring Watson applications to the region is aligned to the UAE’s strategic goal and vision to become a knowledge-based economy,” said Mounir Barakat, Executive Director, Information & Communications Technology, AES, at Mubadala. “Establishing this joint venture is a definitive reflection of Mubadala’s strategy to foster long-term economic growth and deliver world-class solutions to the MENA region.”
A separate business entity, Cognit, is now the exclusive provider for IBM Watson in the MENA region, spearheading innovation for local organizations that stand to benefit from evidence-based decision making in today’s data driven world. IBM’s open, Watson platform enables organizations of all sizes to analyze large volumes of unstructured and digitized information to discover new actionable insights.
“We are very excited to be partnering with IBM to accelerate the deployment of cognitive computing across the UAE and the MENA region and the development of Arabic Watson” said Sami Issa, General Manager, Cognit. “Unveiling Cognit during UAE Innovation Week underscores the pivotal role we expect to play in igniting innovation.”
Cognit aims to cultivate a regional ecosystem of entrepreneurs, start-ups and app developers that will be able to harness Watson capabilities in innovative ways. These deep collaborative partnerships will enable a new wave of unique services brought to the Middle East and North Africa, igniting local talent and technology skill-sets to support the diversification of the local economy. IBM has already established a growing Watson ecosystem of over 77,000 developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts, as well as over 350 commercial partners, by placing the power of Watson in their hands via the Watson Developer Cloud.
Brian Mulada, Chief Financial Officer, IBM Watson, commented, “The MENA region is primed for this type of technology. Since introducing Watson through local client engagements, we’ve seen a strong response, and look forward to broadening cognitive adoption by growing the Watson ecosystem through Cognit. Additionally, our partnership with Mubadala is key to accelerating Watson’s ability to understand Arabic.”