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Digital Transformation Lab

Digital Transformation Lab

Faculty Profile 2

Digital Transformation Lab

The digital transformation lab at RIT Dubai is funded by the TRA ICT fund and was established in 2018. The aim of this lab is in the research and development of secure and smart solutions across a number of verticals that support digitization for government, enterprise, and education.
The current Covid-19 crisis has rapidly increased the pace of digital transformation. Solutions that need to be developed are beyond the scope of enterprise or government but rather in almost every realm of society.
Solutions developed in this lab will not only fulfill the demand of society but also look at the impact of these technologies on the evolution of society. The use of artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, softwarization of networks and radio will change the way automation will define the job market and shape the careers of future generations.
Through the innovations accomplished in this lab, we not only will define the future capabilities of government and enterprise, but also the curriculum in education.

The EE and CS faculty at RIT Dubai work with industry partners to shape the research directions which balance the achievements across both applied and theoretical research. Currently, a number of industry partners engaged with the DT Lab include SoftwareAG, Alcatel-Lucent, UAE Telecom Regulatory Authority, Dubai Healthcare Authority, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Stallion and NXN.
The DT Lab works towards the achievement of KPIs defined together with the TRA ICT fund to ensure that high-impact research output from the lab benefits both industry and society.

Current research directions include:

  • Application of AI for advanced  predictive maintenance in the field of oil and gas - Dr. Muhieddin Amer, Dr. Jinane Mounsef, and Dr. Ali Raza

  • Secure IoT gateways for cellular interworking in multi-radio access technology (multi-RAT) - Dr. Ali Raza

  • Data anonymization for enhanced applications across verticals in transportation, healthcare, and education. - Dr. Khalil Hussaeini

  • Natural Language processing for enhanced diagnostic outcomes in the Arabic language - Dr. Ali Raza and Dr. Jinane Mounsef

  • Indoor navigation solutions - Dr. Wesam Almobaideen and Dr. Omar Abdul Latif

The DT Lab currently has two research focus groups that involve students under the supervision of Dr. Ali Raza:

  • NASA-TG: Network and security automation - technology group

  • DEFEAT: Development for Education Automation Technology

  • Smart Gate - the focus of this R&D work is towards the development of an edge-based ANPR and Facial Recognition access gate.

  • Smart Pipeline - towards the development of an AI-driven automated pipeline leakage detection and mitigation solution.

  • Indoor smart navigation - towards the development of an indoor concierge service for navigation indoors of large venues using BLE sensors and position estimation algorithms.

  • Drone-based lightweight authentication protocol - towards the development of delivery drones with secure authentication.

  • Smart delivery box - towards the transformation of personal package delivery for private users.

  • Smart door with facial recognition and scheduling - towards the development of facial recognition-based door entry system to prevent physical access, scheduling, and auditing.

  • NLP focused research for medical diagnostics using the Arabic dialect (Mossa’ed) - towards the development of accurate medical diagnostics to overcome dialectical Arabic language barriers.

  • 4G/5G IoT GW - towards the development of secure IoT gateways for interworking between multiple radio access technologies.

  • Social Distancing with Computer Vision - towards the development of an automated social distancing detection and reporting system for open spaces.

The TRA ICT Fund enabled RIT Dubai to provision the Digital Transformation Lab with a private on-premise cloud. The cloud infrastructure was deployed in partnership with Cisco and hosts state-of-the-art computation and storage capabilities. The virtual cloud environment has led to the deployment of AI-driven solutions which have been powered by the GPU capabilities available.
In addition to the DT Lab Cloud infrastructure, the lab hosts a wide range of technologies in the IoT, Wireless, Networking, and Security domains. Recent acquisitions have yielded a capability to fabricate printed circuit boards allowing for prototyping of near-commercial grade IoT solutions.
Security forensic research in the strands of digital, network, cloud, and mobile is made possible with digital investigation platforms provided by FTK Access Data and Magnet Axiom. These are complemented with the hardware capabilities to recover and analyze data from any of these four strands.
Research and development in the realm of cellular technologies like 4G LTE and 5G NR are powered through the use of software-defined radio. Supporting the research and development in the space of IoT GW development, the lab hosts a range of single board computers, sensors, and mobile ad-hoc technologies.
The physical lab space hosts a number of dedicated R&D pods which allow students to collaborate in person and virtually. The pods are furnished with high-powered desktop machines which are also able to utilize the power of the DT Lab cloud infrastructure.

The DT Lab infrastructure is geared towards investigations that are multi-disciplinary. The students in the EE and CS degree programs work collaboratively on projects. As such the equipment available allows students in the EE programs to leverage the hardware components and fabrication capabilities to design advanced circuitry which supports their learning in various courses such as Digital Systems I and II, Embedded Systems Design, and Communication Systems. The CS degree program courses such as System Administration I and II, Network Security and Forensics, Wireless Networks, and Virtualization (to name a few) are also supported by the infrastructure available in the lab.

The DT Lab at RIT Dubai is well equipped to deliver high-value training programs to community and industry partners. The team at RIT Dubai engaged with the DT Lab have the experience to curate and design training programs which can be tailored to meet learning objectives of an organization interested in driving digital transformation. At a community level, training programs are offered to help bridge skill gaps as technologies evolve. Currently, the courses planned to be offered by the DT Lab include:

  • Cybersecurity for Smart Energy and Smart Grids.

  • Web Application Security.

  • Cognitive wireless 4G and 5G networks.

  • Software Development for Network Automation and Security.

Students and faculty working on projects in the DT Lab strive to develop a solution that is current in nature and can be applied to solve issues in society. Our work is usually submitted to venues for open peer review. Some projects of high impact are highlighted below:

  • NLP focused research for medical diagnostics using the Arabic dialect- Mossa’ed (Finalists for the Fablab competition in June 2021).

  • Social Distancing with Computer Vision (Winners for the Fablab competition in August 2021).

  • Smart Pipeline (Winners of the Future Innovators and Disruptors Award - GITEX 2020).