Smartworld hosts the inaugural CIOMajlis Annual Conference
Region’s first of its kind ‘Student Innovation Award’ for Emirati and expat university students launched by CIOMajlis
Winners of Student Innovation Award to get jobs in leading UAE companies

CIOMajlis launched the region’s first innovation award for university students, which will give them an opportunity to work in the largest IT companies in the UAE.

The ‘Student Innovation Award’ was launched at the first CIOMajlis Annual Conference, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman & Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, at Le Meridian Hotel in Dubai, UAE, today, amid the presence of top CIOs from government and private sectors throughout the UAE.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is on the forefront in adopting the latest smart technologies across all sectors. We see IT as a force that will drive growth in line with the vision of our wise leadership to be the smartest, ensure happiness for all and be 10x ahead of other places in the world. The CIOMajlis is a remarkable initiative and its success within a year of being formed reflects the eagerness of UAE’s companies to stay ahead of others and set an example in making best use of technology. I would like to congratulate all the CIOMajlis members for their achievement and hope you all take this initiative to greater heights.”

The CIOMajlis is an initiative launched by Smartworld, an Etisalat and Dubai South joint venture, in 2016 in line with the UAE’s Innovation Strategy and the government’s goal to make it the world’s most innovative country by 2021.

The first year of CIOMajlis witnessed CIOs sharing ideas and best practices on highly relevant and current IT subjects ranging from 3D printing, digital transformation, cloud computing to analytics, internet of things and smart machines.

The first Annual CIOMajlis Conference aims to support the UAE’s position on the digital revolution through enriched presentations and panel discussions by CIOs from different sectors and verticals.

Abdulqader Obaid Ali, CEO, Smartworld, said: “The CIOMajlis was formed to facilitate knowledge and idea sharing among the CIOs about the best practices they are implementing in IT and to come out with creative and innovative solutions that they can implement in their respective enterprises.

I am pleased to inform you that within the first year itself that it was formed, this initiative has brought together more than 100 CIOs from across numerous industry sectors. The success of CIOMajlis is only the beginning of our journey which is committed to contribute to the vision of our leadership and further enhance the position of UAE and take the UAE to unparalleled heights of excellence in the field of IT.”

During the conference, the CIOMajlis launched the region’s first ‘Student Innovation Award’, for university students in their last academic year, aimed at promoting innovation among Emirati and expatriate youth by providing them a platform to display their talents and receive unparalleled exposure to the industry’s experts.

Announcing the award, Ahmed Al Mulla, Chairman of CIOMajlis said: “We are pleased to announce the first ever Student Innovation Award, in line with the vision of our leadership to develop an environment that encourages innovation at all levels and across all sectors of the economy. Some of the companies, who are part of the CIOMajlis, will offer jobs to the winners. By offering jobs and other rewards, we aim to encourage all students to go beyond the ordinary thinking patterns and utilise their talent to the maximum and by bringing such talent to companies, we aim to take UAE to further heights in innovation and excellence.”

Two award winners, one Emirati and one expatriate, will be given jobs by top UAE-based companies, special recognition during CIOMajlis Annual Conference and access to CIOMajlis platform run by leading technology executives giving them an opportunity to present their innovative ideas.

The CIOMajlis has tied-up with universities in the UAE, who will nominate students for this award. A panel of CIOMajlis judges will evaluate the projects and select the winners.

The annual conference also had panel discussions on topics shaping the future of IT including Blockchain, Trends in Technology, Opportunities and Challenges and Developing Skills for the Digital World & IT Spending Benchmarking.

With the massive move to digital technologies across industries, the role of a CIO has changed manifolds. According to a Gartner’s recent CIO survey of 2,944 CIOs in 84 countries, CIOs expect their companies’ digital revenues to grow from 16 per cent to 37 per cent.

Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle, said: “CIOs are now in a better position than ever to drive the innovation agenda. They are in fact transforming into Chief Insight Officers by putting data at the core of their strategy and treating this data as the most valuable asset in their company. The CIOMajlis event is a unique forum for us to engage with prominent CIOs in the UAE and share with them the latest insight on the value of cloud application innovations that can help them prepare for the future.”

Shukri Eid, Managing Director – East Region, Cisco Middle East, said, “By combining the vision of its leadership with a unified strategy, the UAE’s efforts towards achieving technology-led transformation is taking shape across multiple domains. As the strategic partner for CIOMajlis, Cisco is proud to work closely with the initiative to drive innovation and digitization that will set the course for long-term economic growth and prosperity in the UAE. The role CIOMajlis plays in driving deeper collaboration and facilitating the sharing of expertise is pivotal to the formation of a strong digital ecosystem and will support the UAE in achieving its bold ambitions across key social, economic and governance domains. The Annual Conference and Student Innovation Award are great additions to the CIOMajlis’ efforts to ensure the UAE fully embraces the digital era and is well-positioned to benefit from the power of digitization to drive positive change.”