May. 6, 2020

Dr. Mohamed Baka

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Dr. Mohamed Baka

CEO, Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT)

As the UAE embraces the fourth industrial revolution, CERT is committed to delivering the highest standard of excellence.


Dr. Mohamed Baka is the CEO of CERT, the commercial arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT). With over 30 years of academic and industry experience in the technology sector, Baka is focused on helping drive innovation in
the public and private sectors and execute CERT's programs in capacity building and corporate education. Prior to joining CERT, Baka served 20 years in senior executive roles in the energy sector. He completed a fellowship tenure at Imperial College London and participated in the European Union Strategic Program in Information Technology, managing EU wide ICT initiatives. He holds a PhD in computing from Bristol University and has attended several executive programs at Harvard Business School.

Can you provide an overview of CERT's educational management philosophy?
CERT is the training and corporate arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), which is the largest higher education institution in the UAE. Since its foundation in 1996, CERT has been at the forefront of human capital development as a trusted and proficient education partner. CERT's national skills programs combine immersive and impactful training delivery methodologies and focus on practical, job-oriented education and career success. We are committed to delivering the highest standard of excellence, while also striving to foster an environment where every learner realizes his or her potential as valued members of their organizations and the wider society.

What are some of the ways you cooperate with the private sector and specific industries?
CERT's long-term success in training and education relies on its agility and responsiveness to the rising investment in human capital. The UAE labor market is one of the most diverse in the region, reflective of a fast-paced, globally competitive economy, where 70% of the GDP originates from non-oil sectors. As the corporate arm of HCT, we are in a unique position of convergence of industry, government, and academia. This allows us to design programs according to the latest developments in the field, enhance the employability of the national workforce, solve real-world problems, and address skills gap. Our model of workforce development benefits organizations across all Emirates and sectors. One flagship project in 2019 was our collaboration with Mubadala Investment Co, in the design and execution of the Train for Work Program. This initiative prepared 1,000 job seekers with business, employability, English, and ICT skills, prior to their deployment to Mubadala enterprises. CERT actively engages with strategic sectors and organizations such as the oil and gas industry. An increasing number of organizations entrust us with leadership programs that seek to identify, develop, and coach high-performing aspiring managers in specialized retail sales positions.

The UAE is leading in the adoption of innovative technologies. What role does CERT foresee in this new landscape?
The UAE is a leader in the formulation of national strategies to promote the adoption of transformative technologies in key areas of the economy. The UAE's strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the National AI Strategy 2031 are roadmaps for the integration of AI, blockchain, automation, and nanotechnologies in healthcare, government services, transportation, energy, education, mobility, and other essential sectors. We believe that the key to success in the activation of AI strategies starts with people and the development of their skills for the jobs of the future, prioritizing the interface between machines and humans.

CERT has had many successes in the creation of localized bespoke technology solutions such as CERT Telematics and its state-of-the-art transport management system. How do you see CERT further enabling and contributing to the UAE's 4IR?
CERT and its subsidiaries, CERT Telematics and CERTSOFT, have been market leaders and innovators in the technology sector. Since 2008, CERT Telematics has been a key market player and technology disruptor in the smart mobility and transportation sector of Abu Dhabi. We foresee a significant role in enabling and contributing to the digital economy, spearheading innovations for our clients in the transportation, energy, aviation, e-government, and judicial sectors. Through our 360-collaboration model, we leverage AI technologies, sustainable platforms, data, and networks, localized to the Middle East and the UAE, and reflective of global technology trends. CERT Telematics was the first to implement navigation services for public transport in the MENA region. Our solutions focus on four areas: IoT-enabled in-vehicle devices, AI-enabled taxi management system, fully automated dispatch solution, and an intelligent call center solution. Notably, CERTSOFT provided the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center with a sustainability communication platform. The solution displays real-time energy consumption, with visualization dashboards for electrical, water, solar, and other metered building services, integrated with the building management system. Through our solutions, the center recorded a 59.4% energy saving in one year.