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Rapid technological change is increasingly impacting every aspect of people's lives, leisure and work activities. Most every business in the world turns to digital solutions to keep pace with ever more demanding customer needs.

A key catalyst for these changes is the application and development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), as it impacts the whole of the digital ecosystem, including the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, cloud computing, cyber security and entertainment as well as local, national and international connectivity.

The potential and key importance of AI has been recognized in Saudi Arabia for some time. An indication of this focus is the formation of the Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI), a company wholly owned by Public Investment Fund (PIF). SCAI’s directive is to grow and develop artificial intelligence (AI) and embed these emergent technologies into industries in the KSA, to substitute innovation in strategic sectors and to accelerate key national technological priorities.

Within this ambitious framework, stc, the leading digital enabler in the region, has launched a long-term strategic partnership with SCAI and DataRobot. This partnership will drive the growth and development of the Kingdom’s AI capabilities and empower the next generation of Saudi changemakers and tech talent. All partners will leverage their resources, networks and ecosystems within a range of ongoing collaborative efforts, working together closely and sharing best practices to advance the Kingdom’s tech landscape, transforming it into a hub of innovation.

As part of the agreement, DataRobot — the AI Cloud leader — will establish its regional headquarters in KSA, where both an AI development hub and research and development center will also be set up. The launch of the partnership marks the latest step taken by stc and SCAI to bolster the Kingdom’s AI infrastructure, with DataRobot underlining its commitment to democratizing artificial intelligence by providing people and communities easy access to quality AI solutions. Crucially, this will also contribute to the enhancement of regional and global AI services in oil and gas, green tech and healthcare, highlighting the Kingdom — on the global stage — as a pioneer of tech innovation. 

The launch of stc’s strategic partnership with SCAI and DataRobot is very much in line with its Vision 2030 goals and “Dare” strategy, which aims to improve and develop the local economy, while safeguarding the Kingdom’s sustainable growth and supporting its human capital development. SCAI and DataRobots join stc’s long list of partners, including Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia — likeminded entities that have supported the digital service provider in establishing three innovation centers for research and development in the Kingdom.

This adds even more weight to stc’s impressive stature as the only global player owning and operating the complete digital ecosystem of IoT, cloud, connectivity, cybersecurity, entertainment, banking, every aspect of connectivity and 5G, etc. It builds on other key developments of note: the $1bn launch of the “MENA Hub”, its major digital hub for the Middle East and North Africa, investment with Alibaba Group in the Alibaba Cloud in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with an initial capital investment of $238.3 million (SAR 894 million), and a 50:50 joint venture with PIF forming a specialized company for IoT. These are just three recent illustrations of stc’s determination to invest with expanding scope, increasing scale and accelerating pace.

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