By Maha Mohammed
The modern world is largely driven by data, and the digital infrastructure of organizations can play an important part in the success of their operations. For this reason, it is essential for organizations to have a secure and safe IT infrastructure, in order to protect their data, as well as enable them to utilize and develop advanced computing solutions to benefit their business. Cloud computing will enable users to do just that. Cloud is forecasted to be one of the most important and influential technologies of the next 10 years.
Accelerating Digital Transformation
Cloud computing has many advantages. Since it is enabled by the internet, the cloud gives companies a flexible way of accessing their data remotely and at any time. The cloud also provides companies of all sizes with an optimized, scalable and agile platform that accelerates digital transformation by supporting 4IR technologies such as AI, Big Data and analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT). It does so without the burden of costs that creating such functionality physically would require—making these tools accessible to start-ups and small to medium enterprises.
For example, cloud computing plays an important role in keeping Internet of Things (IoT) technology—which is a system of interconnected computing devices — connected at all times, in a secure and scalable way. Organizations of all sizes, and heavy-asset industries in particular, produce a wealth of data. This data contains hidden insights, that require intelligent solutions to contextualize and visualize, so it can extract valuable information to further business development and growth.
We realize the immense potential of 4IR technology at Aramco.
A Strategic Partnership
At Aramco, we know the immense potential 4IR technologies have for accelerating digital innovation and improving business outcomes. These new digital technologies, which range from AI and machine learning to the deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are already increasing the safety and efficiency of Aramco’s operations, boosting productivity and sustainability while also cutting costs.
Now, thanks to our strategic and exclusive partnership with Cognite, we have created CNTXT—a new company through which we will provide Cognite Data Fusion, which is a leading industrial platform with the potential to improve the usability, reliability, and business intelligence of multiple industrial sectors. In addition, through our agreement with Google Cloud, we will also be reselling high-performance cloud services through this new company to businesses throughout Saudi Arabia—helping to meet the rising demand for these services.
Our JV, CNXT, will bring Google’s first in-Kingdom full-scale data centers to Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Putting KSA on the Global Cloud & Digital Technologies Map
The cloud market is forecast to grow to up to $10 billion by 2030, according to global market intelligence firm, IDC. As part of our strategic agreement, Google Cloud will be establishing and operating a new cloud region in Saudi Arabia. This new Google Cloud region will bring Google Cloud’s cutting-edge technology to businesses and help customers and partners grow and scale their offerings in Saudi Arabia. Google Cloud’s services, which will be offered through CNTXT, will include Google’s first in-Kingdom, full-scale data centers, set to be located in Dammam, in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
Businesses and enterprise customers in Saudi Arabia will benefit in a number of ways, both by taking advantage of the digital products offered, and by moving their digital infrastructure onto the cloud. Using cloud services can drastically reduce a company’s capital expenditure and operating costs. For example, IT organizations typically spend more than a third of their budget on digital infrastructure including data storage, processing, management, and security.
Switching to a cloud-based infrastructure can deliver significant savings by removing equipment costs, as well as the associated expense of upkeep and energy use. By leveraging the technologies enabled by the cloud—such as data management, smart analytics and AI—companies can enhance security, drive innovation, and increase the speed and agility with which they bring new products and services to market—including responding with greater flexibility to surges in demand.
Boosting the Digital Economy
The benefits of a Google Cloud region’s presence in Saudi Arabia will extend well beyond the individual businesses and organizations that will run their IT infrastructure on it. The introduction of cloud services across both the public and private sectors will create new job opportunities, giving Saudi nationals the chance to develop world-class skills in cloud computing and other technologies.
Aramco has a role to play here too—firstly, by hiring IT and cloud computing specialists and also by establishing, as part of its agreement with Google Cloud, the Center of Excellence (CoE). The center is a digital academy which will provide training and certified qualifications across a range of skills related to digital transformation. This investment in new digital jobs and training will help to develop Saudi Arabia’s digital ecosystem as a whole.
Many of the ambitious digital transformation initiatives, underway or planned for the region will depend on heavy computing power and 4IR technologies to make them possible. With the launch of CNTXT, and our agreement with Google Cloud, we’ll be helping to accelerate this process by providing a scalable platform to drive digital innovation and transformation.
— The Arabian Sun: August 15, 2022