Dubai is using technology from the ground up to create a whole new kind of city destination. Through tech projects aimed at reducing road traffic congestion, integrating healthcare and smart metering to optimize energy, and promoting digital start-ups and innovation, Dubai science and tech drive toward a technology-powered future is very much about turning the emirate into a global hub.
Dubai science and tech: A flourishing digital-powered destination
There has been a recent rise in technology-driven ventures in Dubai as the Middle East seeks to reduce dependence on petrochemical-based revenues across the world, with “oil shock”–the large hole left in Gulf state finances by plummeting oil revenues–becoming a harsh reality. New revenue streams need to be created, and the digital technology is at their forefront.
Dubai science and tech is home to a generation of more demanding, technology-centric people and is hosting major international events such as the 2020 World Expo, and with that in mind, Dubai’s government and leaders have been swift to engage in digital ventures and set the emirate up as a technology hub in the world.
Blossoming investments and inventions
The emirate also focuses on encouraging the technology world to invest inwardly. In 2016, start-up investments in the UAE surpassed $1 billion, and in Dubai Internet Area, companies have attracted more than $2 billion in investment since the launch of the hubs, with funding being placed on companies covering IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Cyber Security, Cloud and Robotics.
Careem, a ride-hail start-up based in Dubai, achieved great success and in December 2016 also joined the’ Unicorn Club’ of trillion dollar startups. It has raised $71 million in funding that has fuelled its expansion into 26 cities throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.
Another success story in Dubai is the e-tailer Souq.com, which became the first big money technology startup acquisition in Dubai: in 2017 Amazon saw the company buy for an estimated $800 million.
Keeping Dubai a smart place to work and stay
Smart cities are one region where Dubai has taken the lead, introducing policies designed to digitize public services and redesign infrastructure to improve quality of life, data access, productivity and sustainability. In March 2014, Dubai launched its Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the smartest city in the world: the initiative has six key focal points, economy, climate, citizens, mobility, living and governance.
Dubai science and tech has also invested heavily in technology-based healthcare, under the smart city umbrella. According to Alpen Capital, by 2020 the healthcare sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be worth nearly $20 billion in aggregate value. And Dubai has become a leading medical tourism destination. In 2014, the emirate also launched a mandatory health insurance scheme. Using IoT and cloud technologies to monitor patient information and analyze data. Construction of two dedicated industrial free zones. Dubai Healthcare City and Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park shows a dedication to healthcare and medical research.
Dubai science and tech picked up awards at the inaugural IDC Smart City Middle East Awards in April 2018. Across categories including Smart Living, Smart Public Safety, Smart Health, Intelligent Transportation, Sustainable Environment and Smart Utilities. All these measures are part of the overall strategy to continue to make Dubai an increasingly attractive place to live. And work, and to bring young, skilled workers from all over the world.
The growth of incubators and business accelerators such as Turn8. Impact hub, Astro labs Dubai and In5 are all at the forefront of the drive. To make Dubai the next Silicon Valley. With Dubai Internet City, the designated technology and innovation zone of the Uae. Aiming for 10 percent annual growth in the number of new businesses it hosts in 2018 and beyond.
Furthermore, technology giant Cisco recently showed its trust in Dubai. By opening an Innovation and Experience Centre, while other ventures are highly tech-focused. The Emirates plan to have “the first blockchain-powered government in the world” by 2020. And also want to become “the 3D-printing centre in the world”. The Dubai Roads and Transit Administration has a plan in place. For a quarter of car journeys taken in Dubai to be driverless by 2030.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. UAE Prime Minister and Dubai’s ruler, said earlier that he sees “technology as an enabler rather than a big target”. And that digital innovation would help drive his dream of “making Dubai the happiest city on Earth.”