Microsoft unveils path to accelerating sustainability with AI in the Middle East

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Microsoft has released a whitepaper titled "Accelerating Sustainability with AI: A Playbook" ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), taking place at Expo City in Dubai from November 30th to December 12th. The playbook outlines a comprehensive strategy for governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in propelling the transition to a net-zero, climate-resilient, and nature-positive future.Commenting on the release of the paper, Samer Abu-Ltaif, CVP and President of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMA) at Microsoft said, “Climate change is the defining issue of our generation, impacting our communities and natural environment like never before. We are at a critical moment for environmental sustainability, and it is vital that government leaders, businesses, and civil society work hand in hand and use every tool available to us, including AI. In line with our commitment to share our learnings, innovations, and best practices with decision-makers, researchers, data scientists, developers, and others, we hope this will serve as an important resource and a catalyst for how to unlock the full potential of AI for a sustainable future."The playbook highlights the three unique, and most crucial abilities, that AI possesses for overcoming bottlenecks that exist on the path to net zero. This includes the ability to discern patterns, predict outcomes, and optimize performances in complex systems; the ability to accelerate the discovery and development of solutions like low-carbon materials, and climate-resilient crops; and finally the ability empower the sustainability workforce of the future.Juan M. Lavista Ferres, Vice President and Chief Data Scientist of the AI for Good Lab at Microsoft – and one of the authors of “Accelerating Sustainability with AI: A Playbook,” - noted that while AI is already contributing to sustainability-related discoveries, its true transformative potential is only just beginning to be realized. “The challenge now is to prime the global technology, energy, and policy landscape to encourage AI innovation. This will enable the deployment of solutions that accelerate decarbonization, which will enable the development of even more sustainable AI operations, and in turn, can enable AI to scale the deployment of more sustainability solutions. It is a continuous cycle of innovation and progress.”Microsoft’s playbook offers a five-point approach to help achieve this continuous cycle which includes: investing in AI to accelerate sustainability solutions; developing digital and data infrastructure for the inclusive use of AI for sustainability; minimizing resource use in AI operations; advancing AI policy principles and governance for sustainability; and building workforce capacity to use AI for sustainability.Microsoft will showcase the playbook at COP28, where the company is participating as a Climate Supporter and Climate Innovator partner in a dedicated booth, along with 20 of its global partners. The company will showcase how its Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability suite is building AI into many of its products and solutions to help customers make more impactful decisions toward net-zero goals. It will also unveil how its AI for Earth and AI for Good programs are helping to place the latest AI technologies into the hands of changemakers globally, who are developing innovative solutions to address many environmental challenges.Discover Microsoft's latest sustainability innovations at Booth #70 in Hall 1 at the Technology and Innovation Hub in the Green Zone. To learn more about the insights in Microsoft’s AI playbook, click here.

KPMG and Microsoft Collaborate on Innovative ESG Education Platform

KPMG, in collaboration with Microsoft and several prominent universities and institutions, has unveiled the KPMG ESG Academy, a scalable and adaptable learning platform designed to foster education and understanding of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters. This academy leverages the KPMG Learning Enablement and Analytics Platform, supported by Microsoft 365, Azure, Teams, and Microsoft Viva Learning, to deliver ESG-focused learning experiences within the workflow. The academy offers customizable content developed in collaboration with globally renowned ESG specialists from leading academic institutions and KPMG sustainability experts. It caters to various learning levels, from basic to advanced, enabling organizations to support their ESG initiatives effectively.The KPMG ESG Academy is a result of the extended global partnership between KPMG and Microsoft, aimed at accelerating digital solutions addressing ESG challenges. The platform is intended to help business leaders enhance their comprehension of ESG and navigate its evolving regulatory landscape for informed decision-making. With a strong commitment to innovation and sustainability, KPMG and Microsoft aim to consolidate ESG insights and information into a single platform to empower decision-makers.This initiative represents one of several digital solutions introduced by KPMG and Microsoft to assist businesses in their ESG journey. Earlier, the partnership introduced the KPMG Circularity Tracker, a solution facilitating a deeper understanding of ESG, automated data collection, and model-based calculations for circularity performance. The KPMG ESG Academy seeks to support decision-makers in Kuwait and beyond as they navigate the complexities of ESG and work towards building more sustainable and responsible businesses.

Keel Comms hires human-like AI host for its podcast SustAInability

Duba: Dubai-based ‘Purpose Relations’ agency Keel Comms has hired a bilingual, human-like AI host for its newly launched podcast named SustAInability.The podcast aims to explore ways in which AI can either foster or suppress sustainable development, making it a crucial discussion platform for the future of technology and sustainability.SustAInability is a bite-sized, interview-style audio-visual podcast designed to engage audiences interested in the potential of AI to create positive change. As AI continues to revolutionize written content, Keel Comms anticipates a shift towards greater receptivity for video content, hence the creation of a "tech for good" podcast. With an AI-powered host leading the conversation, the podcast offers a unique perspective on the topic at hand.Since its launch, SustAInability has featured guests from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. These thought leaders bring diverse perspectives and insights into how AI can contribute to or hinder progress in various industries, including energy, agriculture, and transportation.Keel Comms was established with sustainability at the core of its operations, making it the only purpose-driven PR & communications, social media, and content agency in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company's commitment to promoting sustainable practices and initiatives is evident in its choice to use an AI host for its SustAInability podcast—a move that underscores the importance of embracing technology to drive meaningful change.Baha Hamadi, Founder & Managing Director of Keel Comms, expressed his excitement about the new podcast and its AI host, saying: "At Keel Comms, we're always looking for ways to push the boundaries of what's possible in our industry. With SustAInability, we're not only exploring the potential of AI to drive sustainable development but also demonstrating its capabilities firsthand by using an AI host. We believe this unique approach will captivate audiences and spark important conversations about the future of technology and sustainability."As the world continues to grapple with the urgent need for sustainable growth, the SustAInability podcast offers a timely and essential platform for discussing the role of AI in shaping humanity’s collective future. Through thought-provoking interviews and insightful discussions, the podcast aims to inspire listeners to consider how AI can be harnessed to create a better, more sustainable world for all.

Five reasons to visit Museum of the Future on International Museums Day

Dubai: Museum of the Future is a global hub for intellectual discussions, a magnet for visionaries and thoughtleaders, a playground for innovators, and a catalyst for change. Bringing to life the latest developments in science, technology, AI and robotics across key pillars including sustainability, health, wellbeing, mobility and space, the Museum of the Future unites local and international changemakers with the general public to create innovative solutions for a better tomorrow.18 May marks International Museum Day, which celebrates the role of museums worldwide and highlights the creative aspirations and efforts of cultural spaces globally. The theme for the 2023 International Museum Day edition is Museums, Sustainability and Wellbeing and aims to shed light on the way museums support the Sustainable Development Goals, from educating visitors about climate change, to highlighting pathways to improved wellbeing, to fostering inclusivity.Here are five compelling reasons why you should visit Museum of the Future this International Museums Day:See awe-inspiring architecture: Museum of the Future stands as one of Dubai's most iconic landmarks. With a cutting-edge design, often recognised as one of the world's most beautiful buildings, the museum showcases an asymmetric curved shape, clad in steel and glass. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, the design brings to life Dubai's forward-thinking ethos, whilst the museum's exterior features inspiring Arabic calligraphy featuring quotes from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, adding a touch of artistry to the futuristic structure.Play your part in creating a better future: The Museum of the Future not only offers a platform to learn about innovative ideas but also encourages visitors to actively contribute to shaping a better tomorrow. Through its ‘Tomorrow Today’ exhibition, developed in collaboration with strategic partners from around the world, visitors can explore how today's innovations are addressing urgent global challenges. By understanding and supporting these transformative technologies, individuals can play their role in building a more sustainable and inclusive future.Disconnect to reconnect: Visitors to the museum will encounter extraordinary exhibits that bring to life the limitless possibilities of science and technology. As a "living museum," it invites guests to envision and explore potential futures. Those heading to Al Waha, are invited to explore a world that stimulates their senses in this deeply immersive oasis. Visitors embark on an intimate journey in an environment centered around health and wellbeing, where they can easily detach from technology. During their visit, guests can truly disconnect and meditate, reconnect with themselves and restore natural balance.Engage in interactive experiences: Visitors are invited to go beyond the present and embark on a journey into the realms of innovation. Everyone who steps foot into the museum will be immersed in a world of interactivity and innovation. Each floor of the museum is designed as an expansive, interactive multi-media experience, brought to life by expert storytellers, technologists, and visionary artists. Engage with groundbreaking technologies, participate in workshops, and attend talks by the greatest minds shaping our future. From space travel and climate change to health, wellness, and spirituality, the museum covers a broad range of thought-provoking topics.Inspire young minds: With education at its heart, the Museum of the Future recognises the importance of nurturing the next generation of innovators and visionaries. Within the dedicated space called ‘Future Heroes,’ children aged three to 10 can embark on an open-world experience designed to encourage exploration, play, and the development of future-proof skills. Through interactive activities that foster communication, collaboration, and creativity, young visitors can unleash their potential and gain insights into the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.Celebrate International Museums Day at the Museum of the Future and discover a destination where ideas become reality, and where imagination knows no bounds. Gaze upon awe-inspiring architecture, marvel at the amazing displays, engage in interactive experiences, contribute to a better future, and inspire the young minds of tomorrow.Visiting the Museum of the Future on International Museums Day is an opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of science, technology, and innovation. Tickets, can be booked through the official website, with complimentary entry for children under three, people of determination, and Emirati senior citizens. Advance bookings are recommended.

Schneider Electric appoints Hady Stephan as Vice President of Power Systems

Dubai: Schneider Electric, the world leader in energy management and automation, is pleased to announce the appointment of Hady Stephan as the Vice President of Power Systems for the Gulf region. Stephan will be responsible for driving the growth for key countries in the Middle East and Africa, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.Stephan will lead commercial and operational activities for Schneider Electric’s Power Systems segment, serving critical industries such as Energy and Chemicals, Power and Grid and Transportation. A key focus will be on working in partnership with governments and businesses to help them achieve their sustainability targets by adopting energy management solutions and digital technologies to increase energy efficiency, resilience and profitability.“Hady’s extensive experience in the energy industry, combined with his expertise in developing and executing strategic plans, makes him the perfect candidate to drive the growth of Schneider Electric in the Gulf region,” said Nirupa Chander, Vice President of Power Systems, Middle East & Africa, Schneider Electric.” Chander added: “With power demand and electrification on the rise in the region, Stephan will be working to strengthen Schneider Electric's position as a leader in sustainability and driving critical partnerships in the region.”“I am thrilled to be appointed as Vice President of Power Systems for the Gulf region at Schneider Electric,” Stephan said, commenting on his appointment. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to continue my journey with Schneider Electric to drive growth in a region where electrification and digitization are transforming the energy landscape. I look forward to helping customers achieve their sustainability goals and contribute to a more sustainable and digital future."Stephan joined Schneider Electric more than a decade ago where he held several positions in Tendering, Project Management, Business Development, Marketing and Sales. Most recently, Stephan was Vice President for Energies and Chemicals for the Middle East. Prior to that, Stephan led the Levant Cluster in a critical mission of expanding Schneider Electric’s footprint In Iraq before moving to the UAE to lead the Middle East’s Energies and Chemicals sales team.Schneider Electric has driven a number of key critical partnerships in the UAE for the company including with UAE-based Arab Development Establishment (ARDECO). ARDECO and Schneider Electric joined forces last year to manufacture power and energy technology solutions in the UAE. As part of the agreement, Schneider Electric will manufacture a range of highly advanced energy automation and integrated power solutions, including production of medium voltage and low voltage switchgear and control panels, in a bid to enhance the power systems sector in the UAE, in alignment with the ‘Make it in the Emirates’ strategy.Schneider Electric’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency has been a driving force behind its success. Stephan’s appointment to the role of Vice President of Power Systems for the Gulf region underscores Schneider Electric’s continued commitment to save or avoid carbon emissions, enhance access to clean and reliable electricity, and empower communities to support future energy needs.

Gen Z the worst culprits of data hoarding in UAE: Veritas survey

Dubai: Veritas Technologies, the leader in secure multi-cloud data management, today released results from a survey “In the Cloud, Out of Mind”, revealing that the environmentally aware Generation Z is not necessarily conscious of how their personal digital footprint from online accounts and applications is negatively impacting the environment.Over half of the data stored in data centres by businesses is waste data. Unwittingly contributing to this are the 57% of Gen Z consumers, who said they have dormant online accounts for their banking, online shopping, entertainment, insurance, mobile phones, broadband, and utility services that they no longer use. This figure is higher than for any other age group in the UAE – by comparison, just over one-third (38%) of consumers over 55 have dormant online accounts.In a pattern that was seen across the global survey, the research revealed a perception gap among Generation Z. Seven in ten (72%) UAE Gen Zs said they believe their online accounts have no negative impact on the environment. Yet more than half (60%) also said it’s wrong for businesses to waste energy and cause pollution by storing unneeded information online.Ramzi Itani, Regional Director of Emerging Region at Veritas, said: “Today, we have online accounts for almost everything, and each of these accounts generates cloud-based data. Yet millions of those accounts go unused, particularly among the Gen Z demographic. The largely useless data that comes with these accounts sits idle in data centres, which are mostly fossil fuel-powered and operate 24 hours a day. In fact, data centres account for 2% of all global carbon emissions about the same as the entire airline industry. Gen Z is arguably the most environmentally conscious generation that has ever existed, but without necessarily knowing, they’re also leading the way among consumers in creating the most carbon emissions through their dormant cloud account data.”The survey, which polled 13,000 consumers around the world (with 500 respondents from the UAE), also uncovered the following related trends among Generation Z adults in the UAE:Nine in ten (90%) have entertainment and shopping accounts that they never touch, with more than a third (37%) having 3 or more dormant accounts.More than three-quarters (77%) have at least one online bank account they no longer use.Nearly two-thirds (64%) have an insurance account they no longer use.Three-fifths (63%) have an internet service or mobile phone provider account they no longer use.Half (50%) have utility accounts they no longer access.A similar number (57%) have healthcare accounts no longer in use.The research shows that encouragingly most UAE Generation Z consumers (73%) have attempted to close these dormant accounts. Of the minority (27%) who said they had never tried to close their unused accounts, the most common reasons given were that they may need it one day (63%) and they couldn’t remember their password (25%).This sentiment differs significantly from the global findings, where the leading reason cited by Gen Zs in other countries for not closing unused accounts was that it doesn’t matter to them personally (33%). Interestingly, 0% of UAE Gen Zs polled in the UAE gave this response.Itani added: “There’s a significant information gap if even Gen Z is unaware of the environmental consequences of storing unnecessary data. We all need to be empowered to make good decisions about our online lives and digital footprints—or this issue risks snowballing into a sustainability nightmare. With the UAE working so hard to achieve its net zero goals by 2050, every single one of us has a role to play in addressing our individual impact and putting a stop to this negative trend.“Easy steps to take are deleting online accounts, images, and documents that we no longer use and unsubscribing from, as well as deleting emails, when we don’t need to store them. Businesses can help by making it easier for people to be responsible about their online data presence. Many websites and applications require people to create an account before they can access certain content or features. However, if users do not find the content relevant or useful, they may never return to these websites or apps. This can also result in a large number of dormant accounts which could simply be solved by businesses adopting a policy to delete these unused accounts within a certain time period. Similarly by reminding customers to close down their inactive personal online accounts and making it a simple process for them to do so, business can ease the burden on all generations from creating digital waste, not least Generation Z.”