The concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) has recently gained a momentum and sparked an increased number of technologies and applications. These IR4.0 technologies have resulted in an increased interest by experts who strive to employ IR4.0 and its applications to meet the needs of institutions and countries. There is no doubt to see the modern technological advancement as a top priority by nations due to the remarkable societal and developmental changes propagated by smart technologies. The term ‘smart’ or ‘intelligence’ is widely used to reflect the proper use of the technological progress in serving the needs of countries and institutions. Nowadays, there are Smart Governments, Industrial Intelligence, Smart Environment, Smart Health, Smart Education and many more of the lifestyles being supported by smart technological tools,
infrastructures and skills, often aimed at optimizing resources to easily achieve the goals and objectives.
When it comes to data science and statistics, we see countries and National Statistics Offices (NSOs) adopt and employ modern methods and tools to shape and develop statistics and data analytics. These modern methods serve and support policymaking, future foresight, prediction, and intervention efforts to improve economic and social development.
The traditional methods of data collection and data analysis alone are not sufficient to meet the ever-growing needs and expectations of policy makers who strive to make effective decisions in a timely manner.
As a result, developed countries and multinational companies started to employ modern concepts, tools and technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Open Data, Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, and various applications of Data Science (DS) to identify patterns and build predictive models. These trends go beyond structured data to include unstructured data such as data from social media, mobile phones, Internet of Things (IoT), geographic information system (GIS).
Given the regional and international interest in the role of statistics to support decision making efforts using the aforementioned modern data science tools, national statistics and information offices (e.g., NSOs) strive to bring together researchers, planners, and those interested in developmental indicators of various sectors to improve national policies and decisions. This international wide interest is evident in the published UN reports that assess and classify the countries in various areas using different indicators according to statistical data and ,information provided by National Statistics Offices. These data are provided in a timely manner, with high quality, accuracy and supported by continuous update due to the utilization of the modern technologies.
These developments in the field of data science and statistics inspired officials to organize the 2nd Gulf Statistical Forum in the Sultanate of Oman (17-18) February, 2020 under the theme of (Smart Data). The significance of the forum is witnessed by the new changes and advancements in the area of official statistics in the region. Given that national statistics and information institutions are interested and keen to invest in new technologies, they strive to stay updated and learn from new developments in the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Developing robust methods pertinent to official statics and investing in data is an imperative goal to these institutions. Processing raw data into a meaningful information and knowledge to a level of ‘smart data’ will help to understand and explain patterns and build predictive models that would help policy makers in the GCC countries.
The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) is honored to host the 2nd Gulf Statistical Forum which was supported and approved by the GCC Standing Committee for Statistical Work during its first meeting held in Muscat December 10th , 2018.
The organizers of the Forum:
The National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) in cooperation with the Statistical Centre for the Cooperation Council for the Arab Countries of the Gulf (GCC-Stat).
The Forum Message
The best utilization of the modern technologies in statistical and information works to support sustainable development and build up national competencies
The 2nd Gulf Forum aims at achieving a number of major objectives including:
1- Benefit from the 4th Industrial Revolution and artificial intelligence in statistical and information work.
2- Building up local capacities and enhancing their skills in the various research departments of the Sultanate’s governmental bodies and the statistical centers of the GCC countries.
3- Employment of technological progress in the development of statistical technological solutions and innovation of some of the major developmental sectors in the GCC countries.
4- Benefit from the experience of other countries, local and international initiatives for the development of an official statistics mechanism for the production of statistics from renewable sources.
5- Raise the skills of statisticians and decision-makers to utilize the developmental and innovative opportunities provided by the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies in the field of official statistics.
6- Discovering new statistical methods and solutions to optimize the use of official data in their regular and irregular forms.
7- Create an innovative and competitive environment amongst the statistical departments to come up with new solutions that serve the decision-makers and promote the culture of innovation and solutions.
8- Identify some of the successful regional and international applications in the field of Open Data and their numeral forms whether regular or irregular.
9- Best utilization of social networking platforms to produce statistical and information indicators.
10- Open a window for dialogue with those interested in the development of statistical and information work to boost Initiatives and innovations across the different fields and incite the same.
The forum aims to attract (300) participants from various countries and institutions as follows:
o Statistical and informational institutions in the GCC countries.
o Private sector institutions working in the field of statistics, information and data sciences.
o Researchers, academics, students and those interested in data science
o Small and medium enterprises operating in the field of data sciences.
International companies and organizations working in the field of data sciences.
In its second edition, the Gulf Statistical Forum includes three events that fulfill the objectives of the forum:
- Data Marathon (Datathon) for six consecutive days preceding the forum, during the period October 28 to November 3, 2019. The datathon aims to motivate, train and qualify cadres from the GCC countries in the field of advanced data analysis using smart and modern technical solutions in an atmosphere of competition. The event ends with Judging the results and honoring the best-performing innovative teams.
- The main forum is conducted for two days during (17-18) February It will cast light upon the international and regional experiences in the use of external data resources (social networking data, mobile network data, IoT data, AI data, GIS data) and the use of the fourth industrial revolution technologies in the production and analysis of official statistics.
- Exhibition accompanying the forum for two days. This exhibition will serve as a hub for the participating entities and companies to present their technological solutions and smart applications in the production of statistics, analysis, data processing and utilization of the same.
Themes and topics
During the forum, a series of regional and international working papers will be presented and reviewed as follows:
Cell phone data
Cell phone data is obtained in huge quantities from mobile phone usage signals; it summarizes the nature of the uses of mobile phone users.
Statistical and informational centres are working to take advantage of these sources in producing statistical data and information such as extracting some demographic characteristics of the population and some tourist indicators and internal migration.
Remote sensing data
The massive data referencing to the surface of the Earth and its components, that is produced via satellites and planes is called remote sensing data.
It can be used to produce statistical indicators on climate, environment, agriculture and urban expansion by statistical and information centers, among others.
Internet of things data
The data transmitted by the sensors installed in the devices of home uses, warehouses, giant containers, speed control devices, imaging devices, water pumps, electric generators, and others related to the World Wide Web (the internet).
Requiring of these resources by the statistical and information centres produce statistical indicators such as the volume of electricity and water consumption, road accidents and logistical statistics.
World Wide Web sites information
The commercial and economic transactions and services on the internet produce huge amounts of economic and social data.
The statistical and information authorities use such data to produce statistical indicators on taxes and consumer and producer price indices, among others.
Social media data
It is the data that is formed on social networks through the exchange of dialogue between users on various topics and participation, and the exchange of views between the public on topics and issues of public opinion. This information has had a direct and indirect impact on decision-making.
These sources have become providing enormous information, from which primary statistical and informational indicators can be extracted, and benefit in what is known as early warning and others.
Electronic payment information and credit cards
It is the data produced in huge quantities through the uses of credit cards and electronic payment in commercial transactions such as buying and selling.
From these sources, it is possible to produce statistical indicators on purchasing power, household and individual consumption, and other economic indicators for statistical and information centres.
Augmented data science and analysis
Augmented analytics is the use of statistical and linguistic technologies to improve data management performance, from data analysis to data sharing and business intelligence. It is somehow connected to transform big data into smaller, more usable, datasets. Depending on multiple related disciplines such as (computer science and statistics) extracting knowledge to look ahead.