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IBM has formally announced the launch of its Innovation and Industry Client Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Inaugurated under the patronage of the Abu Dhabi Government, the center aims to fast track the digital transformation of both public and private organizations through advanced technologies in artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, blockchain, security, analytics, Internet of Things and quantum computing.

The inauguration took place in the presence of His Excellency Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chairman at Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Her Excellency Dr. Rauda Saeed Al Saadi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions & Services Authority, as well as representatives from the public and private sectors. It also coincided with the opening of IBM's new office in Aldar Headquarters Building in Abu Dhabi.

The new IBM Innovation and Industry Client Center joins a worldwide network of Innovation Centers in more than 33 countries, giving clients global access to high technical skills and expertise, advanced technologies and IBM research centers.

It will provide clients with a collaborative and digitally immersive environment to deliver customized briefings, and exploration and technical enablement sessions, proof of concepts and benchmark testing, as well as hackathons and educational training for students on new technologies. It will also offer design thinking workshops to solve customer challenges at the speed and scale of the modern digital enterprise.

His Excellency Jassem Al Zaabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, said: "The role Abu Dhabi is playing in innovation, specifically artificial intelligence, makes it attractive for international companies. IBM's decision to have its Innovation and Industry Client Center in the capital is a clear sign of trust that this emirate holds with major investors and international companies in various sectors.

"The UAE is carrying out the instructions of its wise leadership when it comes to innovation, making it a practice and a go-to approach in the way government bodies work," His Excellency continued. "This ultimately will enhance the work flow and functions of the government, and secure a top spot for the UAE internationally in various innovation indicators."

"Abu Dhabi's investment in ICT will create a new market capable of attracting global investors, and support the private sector initiatives and enhance its contribution. In addition to building a strong foundation in R&D," His Excellency concluded.

Her Excellency Dr. Rauda Saeed Al Saadi, Director of the Abu Dhabi Smart Solutions & Services Authority, said: "The launch of IBM's Innovation and Industry Client Center in the capital is a perfect example of Abu Dhabi Government's commitment to adopt an approach that focuses on achieving technological development and prosperity, by nurturing and supporting ICT initiatives and projects that will push the envelope, and boost the economy and investment in the emirate.

"The government is laying the foundation to become a global leader in ICT, and supporting innovation and empowering it to grow. IBM's new center will support R&D in artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to help enhance the quality of work, life and services."

The new center will be home to subject matter experts and will host a number of demos and IBM solutions across key industries, including government, healthcare, renewable energy, technology, aviation and transportation, and aerospace.

"Abu Dhabi is an important hub of business, industries and manufacturing. It has been a strong player in the global economy and is continuously leading innovation across industries," said Amr Refaat, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan. "The new center will contribute to Abu Dhabi's efforts in paving the way for governments and private organizations to innovate and advance. It will also create a collaborative and a digitally immersive environment in which we put our clients first, enabling them to make decisions based on design thinking methodologies and real-life business scenarios."

Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi's Smart Solutions & Services Authority (ADSSSA) launched its first integrated journey, "New Home Journey", using IBM Cloud.

"New Home Journey" integrates services from government entities and private sector partners to make moving homes in Abu Dhabi a smart and smooth personalized journey for all residents. For example, once users insert their basic information, such as budget and preference to rent or buy, the system automatically provides location options based on their family status. Residents can also view and share their registered Tawtheeq contract, subscribe to telephone, electricity and water services, and receive neighborhood updates, from special celebrations to road closures.

Through IBM Cloud, ADSSSA was able to deliver the service within weeks. IBM Cloud also provides it with the ability to update and build on the service in days, as opposed to weeks, without compromising ADSSSA's focus on security and data privacy.

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