Blaize to set up edge AI joint venture in Abu Dhabi

Blaize to set up edge AI joint venture in Abu Dhabi

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

AI chip and software developer Blaize has signed a multi-year deal for a joint venture and data centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Blaize joint venture with Mark AB Capital will provide edge AI systems and a data centre for smart city and airport applications, with a minimum of $50m of orders a year as the UAE looks to digitalise and train up its workforce in AI.

“Mark AB and Blaize will work together to make UAE the world’s first total edge AI nation, allowing full use of AI to create efficiency in energy, security, and education while building its future economy,” says the company. “This is a major strategic collaboration,” Dinakar Munagala, CEO and Co-founder of Blaize tells eeNews Europe. “The UAE has diverse uses for AI, smart cities, oil and gas, airports, there’s tremendous use cases,

Blaize will also create an AI Data Centre powered by its fully programmable Blaize Graph Streaming Processor. This comes as the US is looking to restrict the shipment of leading edge AI technologies from Nvidia and AMD to countries in the Middle East.

“The UAE has an objective to be a completely digital economy from defence to government, so what we have been doing is looking at the available edge AI technologies,” Shahal Khan of Mark AB Capital tells eeNews Europe.

Mark AB Capital started in 1998 as a family office and investment company for a few of the Royal Family Members in the Middle East and reorganized in the UAE in 2020 is now one of the leading investment firms in the Gulf region.

“Blaize is very interesting as they have a chip that is interesting but also the hardware system that can go into immediate implementation for infrastructure in retail, and allowing cameras to be sentient for security and monitoring so it allows us to be a true smart nation,” he said.  

“We looked at the true real time capabilities and the software and to put this into security and public safety we didn’t find anything we could implement straight away,” he said.

The edge AI joint venture will develop real-time monitoring of video and data-enabled IoT technologies and connected sensors based on the Blaize chips and software, as well as training engineer in application development and deployment. An AI software training centre will certify at least 5,000 UAE citizens on the Blaize AI Studio development tool.

“We believe we can train locals and nationals to become AI implementers through our universities and this is where the software platform is more like a SaaS platform to create products efficiently and quickly,” said Khan. “It’s a joint venture with UAE investing with local contracts and local workforce training and funding local software development, then there will be licensing for local venture for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and across the region.”

Mark AB also works with G42 which is installing one of the world’s largest AI supercomputers with wafer-scale chip technology from US developer Cerebras. “We are implementing Nvidia chips in the UAE in data centres but what we saw in Blaize is it covers a lot of the smart city at the edge and doesn’t compete with Nvidia at the edge,” said Khan.

He doesn’t see an issue with export restrictions.

“We are working very closely with the ministry of defence which is working with its US counterparts and you need special permission for that and we have not had any issues,” he said.

“We define edge AI as all the way from the edge of the data centre. Petabytes vs Zettabytes so the opportunity for AI is so much more but it needs a suitable architecture for the edge and that is what Blaize has focussed on,” says Munagala. “We have export control specialist who work on this.”;



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