The Middle East demonstrated less demand for AI (45% vs global mean 75%) and advanced process and engineering design (44% vs global mean 74%) yet led global demand in five technologies, more than any other nation: (i) 3D Visualisation (59% vs global mean 27%); (ii) IoT /Edge (56% vs global mean 30%); (iii) Enterprise mobility (51% vs global mean 31%); (iv) Model Simulations (50% vs global mean 25%); (v) Laser Scanning (41% vs global mean 21%).“New emerging technologies like AI are taking time to gain traction in the Middle East so the research findings mirror what we are witnessing in the market. AI has the potential to disrupt markets in the Middle East by creating innovative new services and entirely new business models. We are already witnessing its impact in Europe and North America across several industries and market sectors and we are confident that the trend will follow in the Middle East region,” commented Mohamad Awad, regional VP for the Middle East, AVEVA.
The research also identified three key global investment priorities for organisations when it comes to embarking upon the digital transformation journey: (i) Making sense of data utilising artificial intelligence and real time data visualization – (a) The research highlighted a strong demand for technologies that provide predictive outputs from large data flows, with AI and analytics listed as the most important enabler (75%), closely followed by real-time data visualisation (64%), augmented, virtual, or mixed reality (60%) and big data processing (59%). (b) AI was a top enabler across all industries globally, with the greatest importance assigned in power and utilities (81%) and oil and gas (particularly upstream 79% and midstream 78%). (c) Japan (88%) and China (84%) prioritised AI highest, with the UK (79%) and US (77%) following closely behind. (ii) Fostering collaboration through advanced process and engineering design – (a) Advanced process and engineering design was the second most important technology (74%) and was in the top three technology priorities across all industries globally, scoring highest among engineering, procurement and construction professionals. (b) This was perceived as an essential technology for global production, ranked as the most important enabler for marine ship building (75%), buildings/infrastructure (74%) and packaged goods (73%), with oil and gas, and energy all ranking the technology highly. (c) Japan (85%) and Germany (82%) are early adopters with high importance attributed across all regions. (iii) Stepping up cyber security and safety capabilities – (a) Cyber security was the third most prioritised technology enabler (71%) and in particular a focus for mining (76%), downstream oil and gas (75%), power and utilities (70%) and marine (70%) and the highest priority for planning and scheduling specialists. (b) Improving safety and security through technology investment was a priority across all regions, with the Middle East (68%), Australia (63%) and India (60%) particularly highlighting this issue.For global corporates the two most valuable assets are their people and their data. Businesses today have great responsibility to protect employees and customers, with technology that provides the foresight to critical failures before they occur.
Lisa Johnston, CMO, AVEVA, commented: “As digital transformation moves to the forefront of the industrial agenda, the power of technology to unify data and break silos is allowing specialists to collaborate and change business models.”“The world’s most capital-intensive projects, from sustainable energy production and mining to smart factories and connected cities are now being designed, planned and delivered by global multidisciplinary teams all connected seamlessly through technology.”
Asset performance managers (APM) were found to have the most demanding desires for technology investment, requiring a far-reaching product set and visionary approach. APM was set apart from all other professional categories in the strength of their demand for technology to create new services, or products; use data to drive new revenue streams; and to enable collaboration with AI and analytics their most important enabler. APM also identified technology as providing a great potential to upgrade both safety and security and emergency response times.Face-to-face engagement and trust remain key vectors for driving sales success. Face-to-face meetings with a vendor, either at a vendor event, or as an introductory meeting, are most influential across all categories, with personal referrals also particularly meaningful. Experience with a vendor is highly prioritised in UK, China and India while France, Japan and Australia place considerable weight on case studies from the vendor.
Remote operations centres and learning management and training scored highest for relevance across global industries. China and Japan see a command centre as most relevant, while the US and Australia cite supply chain optimisation is key to their business.Delivering cost reduction and enhancing safety prioritised by high growth organisations. The countries prioritising cost reduction have been fast to scale over the past decades. China (61%), India (58%) and the Middle East (60%) indicated that significant margin improvement is possible in these geographies from software solutions. This demand for greater efficiency mirrored a requirement to invest in technology to promote safety as these economies continue to mature (China 51%, UAE 68% and India 60%).
“This research was an opportunity to hear from both our existing as well as potential new customers across the globe and our findings mirror the growing demand for technology solutions in the market globally today. Emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and edge computing, which are transforming the technology landscape with vast data streams delivering operable output as well as true business outcomes for our customers today,” concluded Johnston.For the latest refining and petrochemical industry related videos, subscribe to our YouTube page.