AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Enabling workforce development and tech for good at the AWS Summit Bahrain: recap

On September 15, Amazon Web Services (AWS) held its third annual AWS Summit in Bahrain – the first summit since the new Middle East AWS region launched in August. More than 1600 executives and technologists attended to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS in more than 20 breakout sessions on topics ranging from machine learning, to databases, to workforce development. In the keynote address, Teresa Carlson, VP Worldwide Public Sector, AWS, shared regional announcements and welcomed local customers to share their journey on AWS. Read more about what you missed in Bahrain.

The first cloud degree in the Middle East, powered by AWS

The University of Bahrain (UOB) announced that it will launch a new cloud computing degree program to prepare the next generation of cloud professionals – the first in the Middle East. UOB will introduce a one-year cloud computing certificate and a full cloud computing bachelor’s degree in collaboration with AWS Educate Cloud Degree initiative. The new one-year cloud computing 101 certificate will launch in the beginning of 2020, and will initially be available for UOB’s students in the engineering, information and computer technologies (ICT), and business colleges, and then in fall 2020 will be offered to all students. The four-year bachelor’s degree in cloud computing will be introduced in the fall semester of 2020, and will equip students with technical skills and hands-on experiences to prepare them for careers including cloud architecture, cybersecurity, software development, and DevOps.

AI hackathon for good

AWS hosted its first artificial intelligence (AI) hackathon in Bahrain, a two-week event culminating at the summit. The goal of the hackathon was to work towards Bahrain’s national focus on developing digital skills for its citizens. Twenty-six students in eight teams from the University of Bahrain (UoB) went deep into innovation, fun, and development. The teams had 15 days of technical training, design thinking, ideation, culture of innovation training, prototyping, and visual presentations. Each of the eight teams chose a unique problem to solve with AI tools on AWS. The winning team built a prototype serving sign language, using technologies like AWS DeepLens, AWS Lambda, Amazon SageMaker, Alexa for Business, Amazon Polly, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Translate. The solution enabled sign language to voice translation, translation within languages, real-time voice to sign language, and smart home control via sign language.

We Power Tech

We Power Tech panel at AWS Summit Bahrain

We Power Tech panel at AWS Summit Bahrain

A We Power Tech panel featured leading women in IT who are driving digital transformation across organizations in the Middle East, powered by diversity and inclusion. The conversation – moderated by Kathryn Xistris, Head of WWPS Professional Services, AWS, EMEA – included: Huda Ahmed Mohsen, Chief Of Information Technology in Ministry Of Information and Authority; Louise Blake, VP Data, Seera Group; Mais Rihani, Chief Technology Officer at Aramex; Sameera Mohammed Al Atawi, Information and Communications Technology Director at American University of Bahrain. The panelists shared their insights on the evolving role of IT, how cloud is empowering their organizations to become more agile and innovative, and the importance of diversity when building teams to realize transformation.

Out of the box services for outside the box solutions

Ahmed Hamadan, CEO and Co-Founder, Unifonic, a cloud communications platform, discussed the role of cloud technology to help the company scale. Hamadan spoke to the unprecedented growth of data, and the need for the cloud to continue that growth. Unifonic selected AWS to support their growth because of the ability to use AWS solutions directly “out of the box” – AWS CloudFormation templates, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), and Amazon CloudWatch. Unifonic is developing new products on the serverless AWS Lambda architecture, experimenting with the Amazon API Gateway for API based services, and using Amazon Kinesis and Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics for our real-time large data processing needs.

Constituent services, served faster

Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Deputy Chief Executive, Operations & Governance, Bahrain eGovernment Authority (iGA) talked about how quickly they are able to move with the cloud and AWS. A project that previously took 30 days now takes only 1.2 days. This speed and agility allows the iGA, a national portal that provides access to government information and services, to provide more value-added services to their constituents.

Disruptive banking with the cloud

To disrupt the banking industry, Bank ABC turned to the cloud. Mr. Sael AlWaary, Deputy Group CEO, discussed how their cloud first and cloud native strategies are helping bring more digital banking services to the masses. Bank ABC is looking to artificial intelligence (AI) and data science – served up through the cloud – to deliver the next innovations for banking that help them deliver on their customer mission.

AWS Startup Day

The day after the summit, more than 300 people attended the AWS Startup Day Bahrain, for a full day of educational content, practical learnings, and networking opportunities for startups looking to accelerate their innovation and growth. Attendees had the chance to hear from AWS technical experts, startup founders, and leading figures from the startup community, who offered opinionated advice and recommendations for how to go from intellectual spark to beyond.

Learn more about AWS in the Middle East

Learn more about AWS Public Sector in the Middle East, keep up to date on news and customer stories from the region, and learn more our global infrastructure of AWS Regions and Availability Zones by visiting our website.