The last couple of decades have seen a swift shift in technology both on the hardware front as well as software. The latest technologies have evolved at a tremendous rate. In the same fashion, last couple of years have witnessed Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) industry boom and garner an increasing attention from both investors and entrepreneurs. So far this industry had been consumer driven in the Middle East and North African region but that is changing fast as the number of VR/AR startups is on the rise. VR/AR technology influence the very way people work, learn, think, play, communicate and even consume content. As the industrialists, corporate sector, education sector and the government become aware of the potential and robust nature of the VR/AR technology, it becomes essential to streamline the technical infrastructure for current and future challenges.
To this end exactly, the Virtual and Augmented Reality Conference is in progress in Dubai, UAE from 26 – 27 November, organized by International Quality Productivity Center (IQPC). The conference brings together the key stakeholders in the industry to communicate and assess the commercial applications and implications of VR/AR technology. The conference is focused at the funding opportunities and the step by step process for government and enterprises to adopt and implement the VR/AR technology as well as the impact the technology is going to have on different industries.
Dr. Sana Farid, one of the most known and talented entrepreneurs, a pioneer AR/VR Strategist in MENA, is chairing the conference. Dr. Sana has come forward as a distinguished ambassador to women empowerment programs and become a successful entrepreneur in a very short span of time. She is predominantly supporting government and non-governmental initiatives on various platforms, leading them to envision, strategize and streamline the use of VR/AR/Ai based programs in different sectors such as healthcare, aviation, education and public services.
A native Arab speaker, co-founder and CEO of Munfarid Consulting, one of the leading AR/VR companies in the Middle East, Dr. Sana takes her inspiration from the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, “For me the inspiration comes from the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and it is my intention to follow in his footsteps to pursue and embrace innovative technologies, as a way to progress towards a globally competitive socio-economic infrastructure and ensure a better future for our generations.” Sheikh Mohammed recently appointed the State Minister for Artificial Intelligence, Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, as acknowledgement of the fact that this is the technology of the future as well as a pledge that UAE is ready to embrace that future. The ongoing edu-tech developmental initiatives and projects by the government are further proof of their conviction and passion for this motive.
The concept of using VR/AR technology commercially is certainly not new. In fact the technology has been around and in use for quite some time now in various industries like architecture, aviation, engineering, hospitality industry, tourism, military etc. More industries are becoming immersive as VR/AR technology allows for every stage in the manufacturing of a product or delivering a service, to form into a collaborative effort. This technology has spurred the pace for everything as designers, engineers and manufacturers are able to design and create products at a much faster pace. The visualization properties of the VR technology help communicate the understanding of the design or product across different departments at all stages. The result is a much more seamless, coordinated and coherent relationship between different departments.
Although until recently the biggest deterrent for the mainstream adoption of VR/AR technology has been budgetary. The average consumer or business was limited by the fact that thousands of dollars went into acquiring the technology. But as the costs have come down greatly both for the hardware and actual content, businesses of all size see the potential in the use of the VR/AR technology. Just as mobile computing and ecommerce has changed the way people communicate and transact, VR/AR technology is capable of even bigger impact on the way people do business.
The conference is a great platform for entrepreneurs, engineers, marketers, researchers, designers, manufacturers and retailers to learn about the commercial applications of VR and AR across multiple industries including construction, education, healthcare, real estate, oil and gas, power and utilities, and more. The conference not only provides insight into the implications and impact of the use of VR/AR but also provides networking opportunities between businesses and software/hardware and service providers for VR/AR technology.
DUBAI – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 27TH NOVEMBER, 2017 – The UAE government has been working vigorously on a number of different projects in conformity with the UAE Vision 2030 and the five-decade long government plan ‘UAE Centennial 2071’. A lot of these initiatives revolve around improving and modernizing the education system in the Middle East. Sheikh Mohammed, recently addressing the nation at one such initiative, said, “We will not stop launching projects and initiatives to support our Arab communities because the stability of our region relies on it. MBRGI has launched over 1,400 projects and 33 institutions dedicated solely to spreading hope and building the future of the Arab world.”
A continuity of this chain of events, the EdEx MENA Conference, aimed at boosting and enhancing the private education sector in the UAE, was a successful two-day event in Dubai. The objective of the conference was to elevate the level of higher education in competition with globally recognized educational infrastructures through the use of emerging technologies and better equip the youth with refined skillsets for future challenges aligned with the national and regional economic and social needs.
The conference concluded with a special focus on the importance of learning coding techniques. This falls in line with the recent launch of ‘One Million Arab Coders’ initiative by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, as part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, MBRGI foundation. The primary goal of this initiative is to empower the Arab youth with advanced skillsets achieving fluency in coding and programming aimed at providing better employment opportunities to the youth as well as the skills to contribute to the development of a digital economy. Speaking at the launch of this initiative, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said, “Coding is the language of the modern era. Our goal is to teach it to one million young Arabs, in order to prepare them now for the requirements needed to excel in the future.”
Earlier in October, another first was achieved by the government of UAE after launching the first Ministry of Happiness last year, in the form of appointing the first ever Minister for Artificial Intelligence in the history of mankind. Oman bin Sultan Al Olama was appointed the country’s first Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence with the aim to be at the forefront of global technological revolution. This significant announcement came just two days after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid unveiled the highly progressive UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, a major initiative in the UAE Centennial 2071 objectives. On this occasion, Sheikh Mohammed referred to the AI technology as “the new wave after the Smart Government upon which all our services, sectors and future infrastructure will rely on”. The strategy is expected to create a highly productive innovative environment by investing in advanced technologies and AI tools that will be implemented in all sectors. An estimate by The Gulf Nation put the global market value of AI at $15.7 trillion by 2030, boosting UAE’s GDP by 35 percent, at the same time reducing government costs by 50 percent [link].
Amidst all these huge projects and programs by the UAE government many new startups have come forth contributing to the national agenda for investing in emerging technologies. Probably the most active and innovative startup is the Bahrain based company Munfarid Consulting, focused at transforming the education framework in the Middle East with the help of immersive AR/VR/AI technologies. The company has been at the forefront of many government initiatives and has received much appreciation and encouragement for their dynamic efforts and unique offering [link}. Munfarid team has been working in partnership with Google Expeditions in the efforts to maximize the scope of immersive technologies in education and training. Munfarid just welcomed the Unity Technologies team from UK at their platform who have come to UAE to participate in the recent EdEx MENA to meet with universities, schools and educators from all over Middle East. Unity Technologies, a giant in gaming industry and now in VR as well, made their appearance for the first time ever in an education event in the UAE with the plans to expand their operations in the Middle East region.
Unity Technologies is one of the world’s most powerful engines, dedicated to developing software and apps in the most advanced technologies. Talking about Unity’s vision for their ed-tech solutions, Liz Mercuri, the Educational Evangelist for Unity Technologies said, “The vision of Unity is to democratize game development globally. We aim to make it as easy and accessible as possible to develop content and use rich virtual and e-learning content in the classroom.”
Unity has a huge scope working in UAE helping to transform the education technology. The timing could not have been more perfect as undoubtedly Dubai, being one of the most happening cities in the world in terms of heavy investments and promotions in education, digital technologies, green technologies, infrastructure as well as corporate development – here the market is rife with opportunities for innovative enterprises.
All heads have to work together towards a common goal when a smooth and coherent transition is required for any cause. This is exactly what EdEx MENA does for the region by bringing together decision makers from institutional leadership, regulatory authorities, investors and solution providers for the improvement of private education. EdEx 2017 is scheduled for November 19 – 21, at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre, Dubai UAE.
The agenda for EdEx involves building a dynamic regional private education ecosystem for improved global competitiveness across emerging economies. Bringing the expectation of the higher education to par for improved input in academic and human development as well as for national and regional economic and social needs.
Liz Mercuri, an Educational Evangelist from Unity Technologies – an established name in VR driven ventures – will be joining Munfarid Consulting to speak at the conference. An active member of the game development community, Liz Mercuri is avidly involved in initiatives to empower and promote the game development talent. Special focus will be on the potential of immersive Virtual Reality Technology in education facilitating the development of creative competencies of developers– providing deeper insight and learning in areas of interest with the help of VR games and applications.
Join EdEx to meet Munfarid and Unity Teams in person. Exchange ideas and learn more about VR technology.
The all-important EdEx MENA conference has been going strong in Dubai, drawing the entire private education community from all over Middle East. A large number of educators, institutional heads and edtech solution providers have gathered for the event.
EdEx MENA is essentially focused at improving the quality of higher education and building a bridge between today’s resources and future opportunities. The idea is to elevate the level of private education to a level where it not only competes globally but also helps shape the competencies of the youth for the requirements and challenges of the changing world.
Once again, the region’s leading company for Augmented & Virtual Reality – Munfarid Consulting – from the Kingdom of Bahrain was the spark of the show, the company is leading innovation in education, corporate and industrial sectors through immersive technologies in the Middle East. Munfarid was joined with Unity Technologies, a world-class name in the technology driven community, and stands at the forefront of the growing VR market with a strong focus on the development of robust software solutions.
Unity Technologies along with Munfarid Consulting, have been winning the attention at EdEx conference with the unique offering of providing Virtual Reality aided learning solutions in education. The idea that the immersive VR technology can rapidly adapt to the demands of the expeditious “technological era”, has definitely sunk in for the educational community. The VR learning solutions not only provide deeper information and sound understanding in less amount of time, they also make it possible to educate students thoroughly about various disciplines in a safe, virtual environment such as geography, archeology, chemistry, medical studies and many more.
This is the first time for Unity Technologies team to have come to UAE to participate in an educational event with the intent to expand their operations in the Middle East.
Dr. Abdullah al Karam, Director General Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), experienced the VR technology and appreciated the efforts of Munfarid VRXOne in bringing innovating ways of delivering education in classrooms to the Middle East. Dr. Abdullah’s positive response is a source of great appreciation for Munfarid team as the KHDA itself is a dedicated government consultancy authority responsible for the growth and quality of private education in Dubai, supporting universities, parents, students, educators, investors and government partners to create a high quality education sector focused on happiness and wellbeing.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 17th November, 2017 – EduTech Middle East 2017 has just come to an end in Dubai – the greatest edtech conference in the world and another one of numerous efforts of UAE government in promoting the latest educational developments and technologies in the region in order to realize the UAE Economic Vision 2021.
The EduTech conference started with the pre-event workshop on 13th November where the discussion focused on the obstacles and challenges posed in the implementation of innovative practices in education as well as informing the adoption of digital citizenship by institutes and integrating technology in Arabic classrooms. Over 1,000 policy makers, educational leaders and educators from all over Middle East graced the conference with their presence sharing key notes and conducting various workshops and seminars over the two days. Liz Sproat and Rania Hadi from Google Education also made their key note speech at the conference. Dr. Sana Farid, a researcher for Artificial Intelligence (AI) based VR education and co-founder of Munfarid Consulting, executed a workshop for ‘AR/VR in Classroom’, explaining the implementation framework for the same.
Highlighting about world’s first Ministry for Artificial Intelligence in the UAE, and His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama – Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Sana has conducted an extensive seminar about ‘AI based VR education’, and appreciated the efforts of UAE Ministry of Ai in this regard, “My team and I share the vision of the Ministry of Ai, to make our future more efficient, we are very keen to follow that vision and make our contribution in the development and implementation of Ai in education and training in the Middle East.’
Both the conference and exhibition showcased many astonishing demonstrations. But Virtual Reality Technology was definitely the biggest hit at EduTech exhibition. Munfarid Consulting, a leading AR/ VR consultancy company in the Middle East, attracted the biggest crowd and conducted a remarkable immersive VR interactive session co-joining Google Expeditions and many other specialized apps in VR, AR, and Ai. Munfarid exhibit was the favorite destination for the attendees being the most informative as well as exciting with their demonstration of immersive technologies.
The conference concluded with the post event workshop on 16th November with understanding and learning about coding and coding environments. The established takeaway message from the EduTech for all participants and attendees was the inevitability of the complete change and transformation the current education system requires as well as how the implementation of the latest innovative technologies is the way forward for the Middle East in the face of future challenges and global competitiveness.