Accenture and SAP roll out next-generation technology for Dubai Expo

16 March 2018

Dubai Expo 2020 official partner Accenture has teamed up with SAP to deliver a next-generation digital platform for the widely anticipated global event, with the tech’s data-driven insights to enhance the experience for the Expo’s expected 25 million visits.

As the Digital Services Premier Partner and Systems Integrator for Expo 2020, the global professional services firm Accenture has collaborated with fellow event partner SAP, the market leaders in enterprise application software, to roll out a real-time resource planning suite for digital operations in the lead-up to the global extravaganza.

The newly implemented SAP S/4HANA technology is built on an advanced in-memory platform which will transform back-room capabilities and provide a foundation for real-time analytics, from visitor preferences to sustainability, which, combined with its visitor-facing applications, will optimise the participant and guest experience over the six months of event kicking off in October 2020.

Prior to the live event, the SAP S/4HANA system will allow the Expo organisation team to better source its needs, manage financials, and recruit talent through an integrated, single platform which brings together procurement, finance and human resource activities to increase the speed and agility of overall operations – with the integrated environment in turn linking the finance and procurement departments to various external entities such as banks and government agencies to provide a smoother data flow.

Accenture and SAP roll out next-generation technology for Dubai Expo

Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology lead for the Middle East and Turkey, Gerardo Canta, said; “Data has the power to disrupt by shining a light on new insights that can improve the visitor experience for Expo 2020 Dubai. Our work with Expo 2020 Dubai and SAP is built on innovative ideas and solutions that will not only help make internal processes more effective, but also uncover new opportunities to attract visitors and amplify their experiences on-site.”

Hoda Mansour, SAP’s COO for the UAE and Oman, added; “Expo 2020 Dubai will have a real-time digital core, with the streamlined technology infrastructure that can drive innovation and deliver unique participant and visitor experiences. SAP S/4HANA can connect to big data, the Internet of Things and business networks – enabling innovations such as autonomous vehicles, smart mobile networks, and digital payments across the Expo 2020 Dubai site.”

Expo 2020 Dubai announced its partnership with Accenture mid-last year, which in collaboration with Etisalat Digital was tasked with designing, building and running a variety of back-room and customer-facing digital solutions in areas such as information security, customer relations, virtual assistance and geolocation services, as well as given responsibility for coordinating programme management, architecture and testing across Expo’s multiple technology partners.

“Accenture, Etisalat Digital and Expo 2020 Dubai share a goal of joining together businesses, systems and people around the world,” Canta said of the announcement, “This new partnership represents our common commitment to this mission and aligns with Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme. We recognise the unique opportunity that Expo 2020 Dubai presents and will use our experience, network and specialised digital skills to ensure the underlying systems infrastructure for this remarkable event is state of the art.”

Local activities

Since the initial announcement, Accenture and Expo 2020 have further joined forces to present the 24-hour global Hackathon competition carried out late last year, which saw teams from 11 international cities including Dubai take up the challenge to develop innovative human-centric digital solutions for sustainable urban practices, with the chance to participate in the Expo Live “Innovation Impact Grant Programme” and potentially showcase their winning projects at the Expo in 2020 – which will play host to over 200 nations and multilateral organisations and is expected to attract as many as 60,000 visitors to the site per hour.

In a further development last year, Accenture, which has major regional offices in Doha, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, announced that they would establish a permanent digital hub at the Expo’s legacy site District 2020 – joining the Digital Acceleration Centre the firm had previously set up in Dubai in 2016. Canta said; “The Expo 2020 Dubai journey does not end when the gates close in 2021. Accenture is delighted to be part of this exciting experience long into the future, with our digital hub at District 2020 demonstrating our commitment to helping companies in the region leverage the power of digital to innovate.”

Earlier this month, the Big Four professional services firm Deloitte announced it would establish a state-of-the-art digital centre in Riyadh in conjunction with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to support the Kingdom’s digital transformation initiatives.

Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in Dubai

18 April 2019

The Middle East branch of international construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has launched a new innovation hub in Dubai

Following the appointment of ex-Ramboll exec Abdulmajid Karanouhas as its Head of Interdisciplinary Design & Innovation earlier this year to spearhead the firm’s R&D drive in the Middle East, the local branch of German-origin construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has now launched a new innovation hub in Dubai – designed as a collaborative environment to serve both external start-ups and its own employees.

“It has always been part of our corporate culture to promote our own ideas and initiatives,” said Drees & Sommer executive board member Steffen Szeidl. “Increasingly, digital transformation and our clients are calling for completely new and disruptive business models. The Innovation Centre is one of our responses to these challenges. All 3,200 staff members can upload their ideas virtually.”

According to Szeidl, from there, promising concepts and solutions addressing identified market gaps in areas such as planning, construction and operations will be developed, funded and localised for any market which sees the potential. He continues: “Adding the Dubai innovation hub emphasises our status as a global innovation company by being one of the few companies doing R&D in this region.”Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in DubaiLocally established in 2003, Drees & Sommer was founded close to 50 years ago in Stuttgart, since growing to include some 40 offices worldwide, with its global headcount of 3,200 professionals generating revenues upwards of $430 million in 2017. The firm’s offerings span the gamut of real estate and infrastructure requirements, delivered according to its ‘blue way’, which takes into account economic, functionality, and ecological aspects together.

This, for Drees & Sommer, is an important point in the regional context.  “There is a huge demand in this market for contextual solutions as most models and systems are imported from abroad with little to no adaptation to the local culture, economy, and environment,” explains Karanouh. “As a consequence of this approach, we are facing major challenges related to user-comfort, efficiency, manageability, durability, and overall sustainability and feasibility of the built environment in the region.”

Accordingly, the firm has tailored each of its innovation hubs rolled out so far across the world to drive specific initiatives. In Aachen, Germany’s ‘Silicon Valley’, for example, there is a focus on customised smart buildings, IoT product testing and cyber-security, while the firm’s Stuttgart hub focuses on start-ups and processes and its Berlin one on smart cities and smart quarters. The Netherlands hub meanwhile focuses on wellbeing and sustainable innovation.

Karanouh: “The innovation hub brings together specialists of various disciplines from across the industry as a single interdisciplinary team that advises clients from early feasibility studies all the way to operation and revitalisation of buildings to maximise comfort, efficiency, sustainability, return of investment and overall value. The platform allows for brainstorming ideas, identifying market gaps and needs, adapting existing solutions or/and developing new solutions tailored to the local market and environment.”