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Sun 21 Jul 2019 03:58 PM

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Automation Anywhere eyes opportunities in UAE airline sector

Company is also discussing setting up innovation centres and labs with UAE Government bodies

Automation Anywhere eyes opportunities in UAE airline sector
Softbank-backed AI and robotics firm Automation Anywhere produces software powered ‘digital workers’ that it says are three times as productive as human employees.

Softbank-backed AI and robotics firm Automation Anywhere is in talks with a number of UAE-based airlines and telecom operators to provide software it says can boost productivity by undertaking mundane day-to-day tasks, according to Milan Sheth, the company’s executive vice president for India, the Middle East and Africa.

The company – which also has Goldman Sachs as an investor – produces software powered ‘digital workers’ that it says are three times as productive as human employees, helping release them to focus on high-level business value initiatives.

Last week, the company announced that it had opened a regional headquarters in Dubai as it focuses on expansion in the region.

Speaking to reporters, Sheth said that the firm now has 50 customers in the area, including Emirates NBD and Dubai Asset Management.

He added that the company is currently speaking to a number of UAE airlines, although he declined to reveal which ones.

“We are engaging with them right now and they are evaluating our technology,” he said. “We’re in discussions with them to see whether we can be of use to them.”

When asked how the firm’s ‘bot’ technology could help an airline, Sheth noted that many internal processes are still manual, such as the reconciliation of data collected during code-share flights.

“If you fly a codeshare flight, there is a physical stub that comes off your boarding pass. The interaction with the other airline, the reconciliation, is all-manual. It’s a room full of people sitting with the physical copies of the stubs,” he explained. “For airlines worldwide, that’s how it is.”

The same technology is also already being used in the finance, oil and gas and manufacturing sectors, Sheth added.

Automation Anywhere expects to have over 100 employees in the region by June 2020, up from 20 today.

“We want to double our sales every six months in every region,” Sheth added.

Additionally, Sheth said that the company believes the use of bots can ultimately help the UAE with its Emiratisation goals, helping prepare young Emiratis for the high-tech jobs of the future.

“The data-entry roles get replaced by building, managing and updating bots,” he said. “It’s a transition from a certain type of role to future-ready roles.”

Sheth said that Automation Anywhere is also in discussion with “several” government entities in the UAE to set up innovation centres and labs.

“We hope to do it in the next two quarters,” he said.

Around the world, Automation Anywhere has 2,800 customers including Uber, UBS, Citbank, and JPMorgan Chase.

Founded in 2010, the company last year raised $550 million in a Series-A funding round from investors that also included General Atlantic and New Enterprise Associates.

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