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ACA/SCA 2023


DP World the big project DP World today announced a team from Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) as the first winners of its Big Tech Project – an international competition challenging students from leading universities in the UAE and India to solve trade challenges across the globe through the power of the metaverse.

Dhanalaxmi Gaddam, a Masters Student in Machine Learning and Abbas Bamidele Abdulsalam, pursuing his M.Sc. in Computer Vision, described their winning solution as two ideas in one – using the metaverse, virtual and augmented reality technologies to enhance training and productivity at DP World’s ports and terminals around the world.

The first solution is a virtual training simulator for new employees to gain on-ground experience and training without having to physically visit the terminals. The team also developed a second solution using Google Glass to enhance efficiency and maintenance at ports and terminals by providing easy to access instructions for work done in real world operations. Together, the solutions will reduce the risk of accidents by facilitating virtual inductions and increase efficiency by streamlining operations.

Accepting the award Abdulsalam said: “It is very promising that companies like DP World are focused on using the metaverse for solutions to their challenges and our experience has given us a feel for what working with the company would be like. We would definitely want to work with the company in the future as they are committed to using technological solutions to solve a range of pressing issues the industry and the world faces today.”

Adding to her teammates comments, Gaddam said: “We never knew that we could create solutions for this industry. We have been exposed to practical things that we had not experienced before. And working with our mentor from DP World has been invaluable and given us an understanding of process and planning. Both of us would relish the opportunity to work in the industry and for DP World now that we know how valued our input and solutions would be at such a forward-thinking organisation.”

The finalists were invited to showcase their ideas in a ceremony held at DP World’s Pavilion at Expo City Dubai – living up to its promise of being a catalyst for changemakers and innovators. An expert panel of judges from DP World assessed the four shortlisted solutions, which have the potential to change the face of global trade in the future.

Alongside the MBZUAI team, there were also three strong solutions presented by two universities from India – two solutions from the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Bangalore and one from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. All four teams will now be offered exclusive two-month internships and mentoring with DP World, while the first winner also received a top-of-the-line MacBook and a $5,000 cash prize. The runners up, Team Kamikaze from IIIT Bangalore also received $3,000.

Sultan Al Hajji, Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations at MBZUAI, said: “We are thrilled to see two of our students developing such an innovative solution, which could have a positive impact for DP World and its customers, as well as the wider industry.

“At MBZUAI, we are dedicated to advancing AI as a global force for humanity. By building the AI future leaders and fostering an innovation ecosystem, we act as a strategic think tank for the public and private sectors. As such, we aim to develop future solutions that will impact the world and change the way we imagine things. The Big Tech Project is a tangible example of that work in practice, and we would like to thank DP World for hosting such a forward-thinking competition that gave our students a chance to develop real-life industry solutions.”

Pradeep Desai, DP World’s Chief Technology Officer, who was part of the judging panel said: “The metaverse is still in its infancy so it is hard to predict exactly how it might be utilised in our industry in future. But the ideas these inspiring students put forward have the potential to change the face of global trade. They came up with solutions and put together prototypes in less than eight weeks, which is very rare for these kinds of challenges. It’s an outstanding achievement and shows their resourcefulness, drive and ambition. These are all attributes we value at DP World. We were impressed by what we saw and are really looking forward to the students joining us for their internships.”

By digitising a traditionally analogue industry, DP World aims to make trade smarter, increase visibility and minimise disruption across the supply chain. Its tech hubs and the talent it recruits are crucial to the company’s commitment to digitisation.

DP World continues to expand its tech centres worldwide. Through integrating technology and solutions, DP World is working to streamline operating systems that drive warehousing, inland container depots, container freight stations, railway or ocean terminals to deliver a seamless logistics experience.

In future editions, the BIG TECH PROJECT will expand to invite studies from universities in new markets, encouraging students globally to join DP World in reimagining world trade by creating the smartest, most efficient and innovative solutions. It will be open to even more countries in the years to come.

“At DP World, we are focused on making trade flow seamlessly by deploying technological innovations and solutions. We believe that technology will make trade more resilient by infusing flexibility, resilience and transparency into the logistics ecosystem,” Desai added.

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