18 November 2020

SPS Automation Middle East 2020 links international businesses through virtual platform

Two-day industrial and building automation conference and exhibition gets underway

Robotic automation

Dubai, UAE: SPS Automation Middle East, the region’s premier showcase of innovative solutions in industrial and building automation, opened virtually today (18 November 2020), with a two-day conference programme and digital exhibition featuring the biggest names in the automation business. 

Organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the 3rd edition of the annual showcase allowed delegates the opportunity to discover innovative technologies and solutions, stay abreast of the industry trends, and gain insights on how they can enhance their automation strategies.

The morning conference session focused on Industry 4.0 and digital transformation in the Middle East, spearheaded by a presentation from Dr. Hamed Ali Al Hashemi, Strategy Director of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, who spoke about the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare.

Dr. Al Hashemi highlighted the important role digital technology and AI played in the Abu Dhabi government’s response to the covid-19 pandemic, adding that it will now have a more transformational role in delivering healthcare in a post-pandemic world.

“We have seen an acceleration in the adoption of digital technology during the covid-19 crisis, and I think without the use of the digital technologies, we would not have been able to respond the way we did, especially in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain,” said Dr. Al Hashemi.

“Our successful response to containing the virus was due to the utilization of technology in different areas, whether from images or getting synthesis from the data that we receive from different sources.  We look forward to seeing how digital solutions in general will be a game changer in terms of how healthcare is delivered beyond covid-19.”

Dr. Hashemi said the way healthcare is delivered in five to ten years will be very different from today’s reactive process to diagnose an already sick patient and treat accordingly.  Via big data and the Internet of Medical Things, healthcare providers will be able to predict potential future health problems in would-be patients, and advise them on corrective measures to maintain good health.

“We are now applying machine learning and AI to develop predictive capabilities for healthcare solutions in chronic diseases; we created one solution for cardio, another solution for diabetes,” he said.  “We applied algorithms to data that we gathered over the last 10 years, which reflect the socials determinants and demographics of Abu Dhabi.

“Through this, we’re able to predict whether someone will have a cardio or diabetes problem in five or ten years.  These algorithms have to be continuously trained over time to increase their predictive capabilities.  But we’re now looking at creating a platform so that practising physicians can also access this tool, input critical data of a visiting patient, calculate risk factors and gain more insights in real-time.”

The SPS Automation Middle East 2020 virtual exhibition featured an array of leading global suppliers, including ifm, Siemens, DELL Technologies, Automat, Beckhoff, Pilz, StarTech, Advantech, C3 Automation, Softing, Helkabel and Festo, all of which had digital booths to showcase their products and customisable solutions.

Pilz from Germany is a complete automation solutions provider comprising sensors as well as control and drive technology – including systems for industrial communication, diagnostics and visualisation.

Kemal Evsen, Business Development Manager of Pilz, said automation and Industry 4.0 – the convergence of the Internet and Robotics – is the perfect enabler for innovation and new approaches in Middle East manufacturing.

“There is a great potential for automation technology in the whole of the Middle East, which forms an important link between Europe and Asia,” said Evsen.  “In particular, Dubai plays a key role as a marketplace and is attracting investors from all over the world.

Evsen said Pilz has been active in representative offices and direct business throughout the Middle East for many years, and to strengthen its regional presence, it established a local sales and service hub.  “The established base of Pilz products in sectors such as automotive, machine tools or presses is already large,” he added.

“One example is Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi where our automation system PSS 4000 monitors all the safety-related functions on the dockside cranes, such as emergency stop, safety gates or position.

“A total of 19 control systems PSSuniversal PLC and 38 decentralised systems PSSuniversal I/O are used and are all networked together. In contrast with a centralised control system, a modular user program is available within a centralised project. This enables simple, standardised handling across the whole project.”

The programme includes government-led keynote addresses and expert speakers, a virtual round table, and an exclusive technology spotlight session led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Police, LEGO Group, Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority, and many more.

Mohammed Samiulla Khan, Head of Business Development at Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “SPS Automation Middle East provides a detailed cross-section of automated manufacturing and building infrastructure, from drive systems and components, software, IT, and mechanical infrastructure, to interface technology, power supplies, and Human-Machine interface devices.

“The show gathers professionals of the automation, IoT and Artificial Intelligence industries, providing a dedicated platform for the latest innovations and solutions steering the region toward a smarter and high tech future. This year, it will also the perfect preview for SPS Connect, which runs over three days next week, with a global perspective of industrial and building automation.”

SPS Automation Middle East is one of four Messe Frankfurt-organised SPS (Smart Production Solutions) events worldwide, joining SPS in Nuremberg Germany, SPS Italia, and SIAF Guangzhou, in China.

The show continues to rise in prominence in the Middle East which is increasingly prioritising digital transformation and sustainable development in line with ambitious manufacturing and industrialisation targets.

According to reports, the UAE has earmarked US$75 billion worth of investment for the manufacturing sector by 2025, leading to automation requirements for various industries such as packaging, construction, oil and gas, food and beverage, paints and coatings, and healthcare.

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Elsewhere, Jordan wants manufacturing to account for 27 percent of its GDP by 2025, while Saudi Arabia has established a National Industrial Development and Logistics Programme to pursue its goal of becoming a global industry leader.

SPS Automation Middle East’s virtual conference will feature over the next two days some of the most notable thought-leaders in the automation industry.