In 2016, Dubai ranked 15th in a global league table‑conducted by PWC‑of the world’s 28 most innovative cities.
The city soared past major business hubs Shanghai, Madrid, and Milan.
This year, the desert giant geared up efforts to attract foreign innovation initiatives.
Cisco Systems just announced a ‘first of a kind’ innovation center in Dubai, focussed on customer experience and digitalization. In addition, his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, approved a budget of Dh47 billion (roughly USD 13 million) to innovate the infrastructure and social sector.
He also triggered a search for 1 million Arab coders to stay on top of digital trends.
The Government Media Office recently said:
“The government has given its support to excellence, innovation, and creativity (…) to ensure performance development and assert the culture of excellence, innovation, and creativity.”
Dubai is‑and will remain‑an innovation hot spot for years to come. And its doors are wide open: innovative heavy‑hitters are invited to tackle key challenges and introduce cutting‑edge technologies to the market.
Global Innovators needed to solve Key Challenges
The government now partners with leading global innovators to tackle key challenges and introduce groundbreaking, future‑shaping technologies. Dubai is playing hard to foster its position as the Emirate’s innovation hub, and soar to global ranks.
The third cycle of Dubai Future Accelerators just opened registration: 47 agreements between the government and top‑notch innovators were signed during the first two cycles. For the third cycle, running for nine weeks, the prestigious Emirates airlines will sign‑up partners to shape the future of aviation.
Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Accelerators, said:
“This year, we will see new government entities come on board to collaborate with global innovators to create advanced working models and future solutions across many verticals. (…) It will help transform the UAE into a hub and testbed for innovative ideas, and state‑of‑the‑art projects (…).”
Key Areas in scope for the Third Cycle
Each government entity has issued one key challenge to solve.
Here’s a summary of our favorite ten challenges:
1. Emirates Airlines: develop an autonomous airport fleet
The goal is to use 100% solar or electric vehicles while delivering 50% improvement in operational efficiency. In addition, Emirates is looking for a next‑gen cognitive traffic management platform to increase the efficiency of the new fleet and minimize downtimes.
2. Dubai Police: reduce crimes rates by 50%
Dubai police want to reduce crime rates by 50% and traffic‑related mortality rate to 2.5 per 100 thousand citizens by 2021.
3. Dubai Municipality: reduce waste, implement 3D printing and increase green areas
The Dubai Municipality issued four challenges, namely to reduce general waste by 75% until 2021, implement 3D printing technologies in 25% of Dubai buildings by 2030, increase green areas tenfold by 2020 and explore opportunities for using nanotechnologies.
4. Dubai Health Authority: reduce costs and increase efficiency tenfold
The idea is to reduce costs and increase the efficiency and potency of diagnosis, disease prevention and patient monitoring by the factor of 10.
5. Knowledge and Human Development Authority: create self‑regulating schools
Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority wants to create self‑regulating, future‑ready school communities that rank among the best in the world by 2025.
6. Electricity and Water Authority: transform traditional business models
The aim is to explore and demonstrate new technologies to transform a utility provider’s traditional business model of generating, transmitting and distributing water and electricity.
7. Roads and Transport Authority: make Dubai pedestrian‑friendly
The Roads and Transport Authority aims to significantly enhance decision making, user experience of travel and transport services with the use of:
1.) AI, Digital Twin.
2.) Legislations for autonomous transport.
3.) Clean and environmentally friendly fuels.
4.) Making Dubai a cyclist and pedestrian‑friendly city.
8. DU Telecommunications: develop a cutting‑edge loyalty program
DU wants to Develop an innovative loyalty platform that can improve customer service and retention by 10.
9. Etisalat Digital: reduce digital risks by 50%
Etisalat Digital challenges innovators to reduce digital risks in the UAE by 50% in the next 5 years by building and delivering cutting‑edge digital security solutions focusing on areas of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security, IoT Security or Incident Response.
10. Dubai Economy: develop an intelligent business rating system
Dubai Economy wants to establish an intelligent business rating system. The idea is to assess and score SMEs based on financial and non‑financial parameters to enhance SMEs’ credibility and increase their access to finance by 100% by 2021.