As Saudi Arabia continues to revamp its regulatory framework to create more opportunities for tech businesses and investors to thrive, a growing number of startups are adding their innovations to the country’s digital entrepreneurship ecosystem. Saudi Arabia has attracted over USD $9 billion in investments in future technologies – and tech giants including Microsoft and Oracle Corp are building cloud regions here.
Digital tech has seen a global surge in acceptance and development since the COVID-19 pandemic – and emerging technologies are changing lives.
So what are the top five emerging digital technologies in Saudi Arabia?
According to digital transformation experts at Alareeb, the metaverse is a key emerging technology in Saudi Arabia – with more and more people exploring its potential to enrich their lives and businesses.
Data from Statista suggests that the number of metaverse users in the country will reach 11.1 million by 2030, and user penetration is 9.3% in 2023. Recently, The Metaverse Insider reported that Saudi Arabia is leading metaverse investments – while the nation’s startup ecosystem more broadly is growing at an “astonishing” pace.
The conversation about blockchain has been pretty exciting at LEAP – and it’s been coming up elsewhere in Riyadh, too. At the Saudi Vision 2030 summit, blockchain industry leaders from BSV Blockchain and ThinkTech advised that this technology could bring important digital transformation advancements to the country.
The potential of blockchain is grounded in its position as a reliable and scalable platform – enabling enterprises and government applications to solve the problems that citizens and businesses face, with relatively low costs, and with life changing transparency.
3. WiFi 6E
In 2021, Saudi Arabia announced the rollout of a new generation of connectivity, with WiFi 6E – becoming the first country in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to make the 6 GHz frequency band available for WiFi users.
The 6 GHz band ranges from 5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz, enabling a record amount of spectrum and the fastest WiFi connections in the world. These speeds are expected to drive significant GDP growth – taking Saudi Arabia from $4.7 billion to $18 billion by 2030.
4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
In 2022, the King Abdullah University (KAUST) and the Saudi authority for data and artificial intelligence (SDAIA) announced the creation of a centre of excellence for data science and AI in Saudi Arabia.
Together, KAUST and the SDAIA are working to increase the human skill sets and innovation in AI – responding to the ‘enormous demand’ for AI courses and training in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region.
As Dr. Majid Altuwaijri (CEO at NCAI) told Zawya, “The SDAIA-KAUST Center of Excellence will be the hub for innovative solutions and talent development by leveraging Artificial Intelligence to position the kingdom as a leader in the new data driven era.”
5. Robotic process automation
The use of robotics in business is becoming increasingly prevalent, as enterprises compete for efficiency. Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software technology that streamlines the process of building, deploying, and managing software robots that replicate human actions and undertake repetitive tasks.
The use of RPA tech is growing across industries – notably, in the banking and financial services sector. As well as driving efficiency for internal processes, RPA is linked with better customer satisfaction outcomes; helping to provide quick, high quality services.
Explore our digital future at LEAP
Look out for announcements coming soon about our LEAP 2024 speaker lineup. You can expect to explore the global digital transformation in depth, and immerse yourself in the most exciting new digital technologies – all in Riyadh, one of the most dynamic digital cities in the world.
Register now to attend LEAP 2024.