SMART THINKING

Dubai 2020 | OPPORTUNITY | FOCUS

With the creation of a new ambassadorial position to advance technological development, Dubai seeks to lead the fourth industrial revolution.

Already one of the most advanced business and technological hubs in the world, Dubai is now seeking to position itself to lead the fourth industrial revolution.The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, signaled his intentions to expand support and FDI for technological development, with a decree in November 2019 creating an ambassadorial position for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The first of its kind, the appointment aims to bolster the UAE's efforts to strengthen its position as a global hub for innovation and technology-based partnerships that facilitate tech advances. The decision was announced following an encouraging seminar by futurist Henrik Von Scheel during the fifth Dubai Investment Week.

“The more resistant we are to change, the harder it will be for us to adapt," Scheel said at the event. “Normally, businesses have three to five years to react to changes in their industry, but when you have so many simultaneous changes occurring, it becomes disruptive, and your ability to react becomes more difficult."

Wasting no time, government leaders in Dubai are taking immediate steps to ensure the city maintains its business leadership well into the current century, with a wider vision to make Dubai a city of the future.

Scheel, who is a renowned consultant for governments implementing fourth industrial revolution growth strategies, noted Dubai is fertile ground for next-generation innovations, thanks to the UAE's embrace of new technologies and the business community's openness to experimentation.

In the first half of 2019, Dubai attracted 257 FDI projects, nearly two-thirds of which involved renewable technologies. The city has long implemented incentives for the development and implementation of photovoltaic solar panel power stations as well as indoor aquaculture, all of which are being increasingly integrated with state-of-the art software that will lead the world in the future of self-regulating agricultural production.

Continued technological growth through FDI displays investor readiness in Dubai, which has directed capital and talent toward new solutions for 21st century problems, according to Fahd Al Gerawi, the CEO of Dubai FDI.

“Dubai supports global business and start-up growth and expansion, making it a gateway to regional and global markets, and a global hub for talent, innovation, and entrepreneurship," Al Gergawi told Gulf News.

The news comes as the UAE continues to climb in global talent pool metrics, jumping seven places in the last two years to rank 18th in the Global Knowledge Index of 136 countries. Such progress is bolstered by initiatives like the Dubai Future Foundation, a state-supported institution organizing robot-building competitions and hosting blockchain accelerator programs in effort to encourage curiosity in students and scientific innovations in the local economy.

With the overall goal of global leadership, Dubai is uniquely positioned to advance technological research in the 21st century. Dubai officials continue to implement future-ready regulation that is both transparent and allows for collaborative policymaking between government entities and the private sector.

An investor-friendly business climate also encourages FDI by inviting international companies to develop innovative products within the real-world laboratory that is Dubai. The promises of the fourth industrial revolution will proceed with the meshing/merging of the digital, physical, and virtual world and will become more apparent in everyday infrastructure, as municipal authorities continue to implement smart city systems, fostering a cleaner, more energy-efficient, and automated urban environment. The same is true for online banking solutions and fintech applications, which facilitate modern cash flow needs of consumers and businesses in an ever-more connected world.