Riyadh "Riyadh Daily"
An EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Abdullah AlQallaf, GM of Vast Data in Saudi Arabia about the company’s participation at LEAP this year, growth and future plans in Saudi Arabia.

1- Tell us about your exhibit this year at LEAP 2024? 

At LEAP 2024, VAST Data is unveiling its groundbreaking approach to continuous AI computing and the future of AI-based discovery. This marks a significant evolution from our initial storage-centric focus to unlocking the full potential of intelligent AI-based systems. Our latest innovation enables data-driven AI systems to analyse, react, and learn from data on a global scale, disrupting industry norms and empowering organizations to maximize the value of their data. We are emphasizing the synergy between human intelligence and artificial intelligence in tackling societal challenges, highlighting the pivotal role of data in driving intelligent system development. We are showcasing how VAST enables organizations to scale their AI journeys and operationalize AI at scale. Since our inception in 2016, our vision has been to build an infrastructure that facilitates advanced, universally intelligent AI systems, placing data at the forefront of decision-making processes and empowering organizations to overcome their most complex data challenges.

This year at LEAP 2024, we are bringing our comprehensive solution - VAST Data Platform, aimed at bridging the gap between event-driven and data-driven architectures. This comprehensive solution encompasses several key elements: the VAST DataStore for simplified data access, the VAST DataBase for structuring unstructured data, the VAST DataEngine for AI pipeline management, and the VAST DataSpace for global data storage and processing. Building upon VAST's universal storage capabilities, this platform introduces new data access and analytics features, promising real-time analytics from event streams to archives. With its unique architecture and performance optimizations, Vast aims to revolutionize data management and analytics, offering seamless scalability and performance consistency from edge to cloud. 

2- How VAST Data is supporting the Saudi Arabian market in indigenizing the AI revolution and future-proofing its workforce?

Emphasizing trust, security, and responsibility, VAST Data is committed to empowering businesses to leverage AI's benefits amidst the Kingdom's burgeoning adoption of innovative technology. As Saudi Arabia invests significantly in AI R&D through initiatives like the National Strategy for Data and Artificial Intelligence, the company aligns itself with the Kingdom's Vision 2030 objectives, envisioning a future where every developer becomes a data developer, with applications intricately woven around data manipulation, analysis, and insight generation. By forging strong partnerships with local players and global technology providers, VAST Data is instrumental in enabling organizations in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region to harness the full potential of AI and shape its future workforce accordingly. 

3- How do you intend to assist organizations along their AI path?

We at VAST Data adopt a multifaceted approach tailored to address organizations' evolving needs. We recognize that prioritizing AI in data strategies necessitates accessible infrastructure for storing vast datasets and executing data-driven algorithms. Our mission is to decentralize control over valuable data, empowering enterprises of all sizes to harness its potential. To achieve this, the company's innovative AI data platform supports in liberating organizations from outdated infrastructure constraints, enabling seamless integration into the new digital era. Moreover, we provide comprehensive database and compute engine services, ensuring that organizations have the necessary tools and support to implement AI initiatives effectively, particularly at scale. (1)

4- How do you foresee potential for Saudi to become a global AI innovation hub, and the anticipated growth of AI adoption in the Middle East?

The META region's AI data platform market is booming, driven by the need to handle unstructured data, embrace hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, and leverage generative AI applications and large language models. Enterprises today are seeking adaptable platforms for diverse environments, maximizing performance while minimizing environmental impact. This paradigm shift compels all organizations to reassess their AI strategies. Businesses in the Middle East find themselves at a pivotal moment, where embracing AI and advanced technologies is imperative for staying competitive on the global stage. Countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar are leading the charge, with significant investments in AI technology bolstered by strong governmental support. 

Notably, Saudi Arabia stands to gain significantly with its National Strategy for Data and Artificial Intelligence, aiming to develop a comprehensive AI ecosystem aligned with the Vision 2030 objectives. Additionally, the National Centre for AI (NCAI) further propels this vision, aiming to position the Kingdom as a global AI leader by 2030. With projections indicating AI contributing over US$135.2 billion to Saudi Arabia's economy by 2030, equivalent to 12.4% of GDP, and the Middle East capturing 2% of the global AI benefits amounting to US$320 billion, the growth potential in the region is undeniable. By fostering a robust AI ecosystem through specialized training, support for startups, and attracting both domestic and international investment, Saudi Arabia is poised to emerge as a formidable force in the global AI landscape.

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