Saudi Arabia’s LEAP23 Created Another Milestone on Its Second Outing

Saudi Arabia LEAP23
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LEAP23, a techno-conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, concluded recently. LEAP is a three-day annual tech convention only in its second year. However, according to tech experts, it is the largest debut tech event as of 2022, with more than 100,000 attendees. Organizers of the LEAP23 event include the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Saudi Arabia), the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity Programming and Drones, consulting firm Tahaluf, and several IT services based in the United Arab Emirates. This year’s conference had more than 172,000 attendees, with speakers and exhibitions from more than 700 global tech companies and over 300 investors. 

Significant announcements

Saudi Arabia’s annual LEAP tech conference firmly ensconced the country as the region’s bustling tech hub. On the first day of LEAP 2023, it announced the availability of investments worth over $9 billion, which will assist emerging digital entrepreneurship and technologies. The investment will strengthen the country’s position as the top digital economy in the region. 

Several tech companies contributing to the investment fund will develop cloud infrastructure for the region, such as Huawei, Zoom (in collaboration with Aramco), and Oracle. Microsoft will build a global superscalar cloud in Saudi Arabia. A $4.5 billion investment will also be available for international and regional assets across different industries. Meta announced the opening of the first Metaverse Academy in MENA countries. The conference launched WEO Technology and Camel Lab’s Hektar, a new Lifestyle Social Media platform with a wide range of content for the needs of Gen Z. 

LEAP tech conference
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First humanoid robot from Saudi Arabia

The tech conference also became the launching venue for the country’s first humanoid robot named Sara. The robot can communicate in Arabic, perform local dances, and respond to various questions. In addition, Sara can recognize various dialects spoken in the kingdom, analyze sentences, and understand the content, which allows it to provide relevant answers and send them by text. 

The robot has a built-in camera that uses AI to know when a person is in front of it. It can start a conversation when a visitor greets it with “Hello, Sara.” The conference organizers introduced Sara by using her to welcome conference visitors. 

Modernizing the economy through technology 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is diversifying its economy through technology. In the initial LEAP conference in 2022, it earned more than $6.4 billion worth of investments in technology. 

Moreover, it is not a newbie when it comes to robots. It became the first country in the world to grant citizenship to a humanoid robot in 2017. The robot, named Sophia, was a creation of Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based company. 

In September 2022, the country launched three robots. They can recite the Quran, give azan or call to prayer at their holiest mosque in Mecca, and deliver sermons. Authorities say that the launch of these robots is part of the country’s strategic plan to apply the smart Haramain project. The project follows Vision 2030 to provide improved visitor services and make the country a better place to invest, visit, and live. 

Saudi Arabia launched several initiatives to make it one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. The LEAP tech conference is only one of the ways for the country to prepare for a technologically advanced future. With the awareness and high participation they gather from the conference, they realize that such an event allows them to connect with tech luminaries, sponsors, governments, and businesses. Tech players now see LEAP as an event not to be missed because of the opportunities it opens. The next LEAP will be in March 2024.