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5G, fintech and mega-projects: What 2021 will mean for tech in the Middle East

ZDNet

The MENA region is in the middle of a digital transformation, which 2020 and COVID-19 has only accelerated. I asked five experts to share the tech trends they see influencing the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) this year, with digital payments, greater investment in AI and mobile, coupled with the need for greater focus on cybersecurity, all getting a mention. Among the things to look out for on the Middle East tech scene in 2021 is the Expo 2020 event, which is due to take place in Dubai in the UAE for six months starting from October says Matthew Reed, practice leader, Middle East and Africa & Asia Pacific, at Omdia. "The event, which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will still be known as Expo 2020, is expected to showcase advanced technologies and applications including autonomous vehicles, smart city services, and space exploration, with the latter based on the UAE's launch of an unmanned spacecraft to Mars in July 2020. "Saudi Arabia also has futuristic plans and in early January it unveiled the outlines of a major new city project, The Line, a 170-kilometre urban development that will be entirely powered by renewable energy and will be "hyper-connected though a digital framework incorporating artificial intelligence and robotics, according to the launch website. "The Saudi authorities are also increasingly keen to encourage investment and growth in the country's non-oil business sector, and that is likely to accelerate efforts to upgrade connectivity and technology services for enterprises over the year ahead." The fintech landscape in MENA is rapidly evolving from a focus on digital payments to expanding access to finance, both consumer and SME lending, says Ayman Ismail, Jameel chair of entrepreneurship, The American University in Cairo. "The past three years were mostly about establishing infrastructure for digital payments.


The 5 Hottest Technologies In Banking For 2021

#artificialintelligence

In the movie All The President's Men, Woodward and Bernstein meet their informant in a parking garage who tells them: "Follow the money." If you want to know which technologies are hot in banking, you should do the same. The truly "hot" technologies in banking are the ones that financial institutions invest in--not necessarily the ones the pundits talk about. At the end of the past seven years, Cornerstone Advisors has surveyed financial institutions to find out where their technology dollars will go in the coming year. In Cornerstone's What's Going On in Banking 2021 study, the top five technologies for 2021 are: 1) Digital account opening; 2) Application programming interfaces (APIs); 3) Video collaboration; 4) P2P payments; and 5) Cloud computing.


Banks need to strike the right balance for digital transformation

MIT Technology Review

Every financial institution is looking to digital transformation to meet rising customer expectations for speed and convenience, lower its operating cost, and fend off competition, including from tech companies moving into financial services. Some are spending over 10% of yearly revenue on technology investments, according to Bloomberg. "This is a huge investment and most financial institutions cannot support this for the long term," says Michael Fei, SME banking CEO at OneConnect Financial Technology, an associate of Ping An Insurance. The covid-19 pandemic has revealed how even financial institutions that considered themselves digitally advanced are, in reality, still wedded to analog processes along the chain of processing. "For many financial institutions, this has been a wake-up call," says Fei. "In the past, many had thought that if they have an online portal and a mobile application then that's enough. But now they've realized it's not. Some banks have online portals and mobile apps where you can apply for loans, but they still need to send items to the customer and carry out on-site inspection before they can process the loans, which hasn't been possible during covid. Banks have had to reshape and redesign the whole process of their lending products."


Live Stream: AI and Blockchain - Status and Outlook

#artificialintelligence

Referring with my screen, I'm gonna I'm going to finish the presentation first so last night uh as a as a simply next step um oh, yeah. So I think this is good. This confirms what I have uh in my in my slide coming from our consultation. Christians came 30%, I would say this is very uh interesting promising uh and uh perhaps setting the stage for the discussion on how we should we should achieve this. Come out uh next year early next year with the revised plan and with uh a proposed regulatory framework uh that will apply to Europe uh but of course we're interested in uh discussing and exchanging ideas with other countries and in particular with UA and I look forward to this.


The Changing World of Work - 10 New Digital Transformation Jobs

#artificialintelligence

Digital Transformation affects not only companies but also employees. This change is continuous and already reveals that digital skills are essential in the job. Above all, the demands on the employees are subject to this change, because classic processing will no longer count as a job guarantee in the near future. Instead, innovative IT-based professions are currently enjoying a real boom. In a digital world, processes are particularly relevant.


Cartesi - Connecting Linux & Blockchain Technology for DApps

#artificialintelligence

With the power of Cartesi's decentralized verification, applications will be able to outsource and distribute verifiable work. This opens new possibilities for trustless marketplaces and autonomous systems involving humans and machines, propelling loT, data science and Al through new business models.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning: A new blueprint for the fintech industry

#artificialintelligence

The term Artificial Intelligence was coined 70 years ago as the stuff of fantasy fiction and about 50 years post that nothing much moved. Then, in 1997 like a bolt from the blue, IBM's Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov 4-2 in a six game series. Since then, machines have beaten humans at far more complex games – Go, Poker, Dota 2. Computing power grew over a trillion times in the last 50 years. Can you name any industry/trend that has evolved by this order of magnitude? The computer that helped navigate Apollo 11's moon landing had the power of two Nintendo consoles. You have a lot more power in your smartphone today.


The 9 Fintech Challenges for Anti-money Laundering

#artificialintelligence

Money laundering is a significant threat to the good functioning of financial systems. Yet there are still little measurable signs of progress in countering money laundering. AML legislation showed to be the least effective of any anti-crime measure. Law enforcement, policymakers, and the media can get so distracted by the immediacy of criminal behavior that it is easy to forget the aim of these illegal activities is not the crime itself, but the proceeds of crime. In this, total failure for AML enforcement is behind the corner.


Top 5 technologies that will transform the Fintech sector - Fintech News

#artificialintelligence

As remote operations and contactless procedures are becoming the new normal, the Fintech sector has been experiencing a rising hunger towards moving to a 100% digital implementation of nearly all financial products and services. It has also accelerated the demand for must-have innovations and technologies that provide seamless and personalised banking experiences to its customers, as well as guarantee a near-flawless execution in managing fraud activities. Moreover, the pandemic outbreak has also evolved the consumer behaviour patterns and expectations, which forces the institutions to embrace and leverage technology that not only nurtures but also strengthens a customer-centric approach. A recent survey by Lightico in March 2020 found that 82% of customers were concerned about visiting their branch in person and that 63% of those polled were now more willing to try digital applications. As these shifts are expected to be long-lasting, organizations are now investing in new tools and technologies to speed up their business endeavours and be a step ahead from their competitors.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning: A new blueprint for the fintech industry

#artificialintelligence

The term Artificial Intelligence was coined 70 years ago as the stuff of fantasy fiction and about 50 years post that nothing much moved. Then, in 1997 like a bolt from the blue, IBM's Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov 4-2 in a six game series. Since then, machines have beaten humans at far more complex games – Go, Poker, Dota 2. Computing power grew over a trillion times in the last 50 years. Can you name any industry/trend that has evolved by this order of magnitude? The computer that helped navigate Apollo 11's moon landing had the power of two Nintendo consoles. You have a lot more power in your smartphone today.