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  • Writer's pictureElise Quevedo

Dubai,UAE embraces technology and sustainability


Dubai Skyline, Photo by Ivan Siarbolin

I just got back from a trip to Dubai where I attended a tech event. It had been a decade since I was last there and I was happy to see in person how much further the city has gotten.


Dubai continues to position itself as a global innovation and technology hub. So what has Dubai done over the last decade?


Dubai has invested heavily in becoming a smart city or as many are now calling it, “a city of the future”. This includes the implementation of smart technologies such as smart transportation, smart street lighting, and integrated smart services to enhance the overall quality of life for residents and visitors.


As a visitor, I personally got to experience some of these integrated innovative technologies including virtual reality experiences and smart hotel services.


It is worth mentioning the Dubai–Abu Dhabi Virgin Hyperloop, the electric sky pod network , and driverless taxis as a few examples. Dubai has been testing and introducing autonomous vehicles on its roads, including autonomous taxis, which are part of its broader vision to transform transportation and reduce traffic congestion. Dubai aims to have 25% of its transportation systems autonomous by 2030.


Dubai has also been at the forefront of adopting 5G technology and AI, which has enabled faster and more reliable wireless communication, supporting innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city applications. Dubai has integrated AI into various sectors, including healthcare, transportation, and government services.


If you didn’t know, the city also established the "Dubai AI Ethics Board” in 2019 to encourage fairness, transparency, and accountability for Artificial Intelligence systems in Dubai. Something that is now more paramount than ever.


Similar to Estonia, Dubai has been expanding its e-government services to make it easier for residents and businesses to interact with government agencies online. This includes services related to visas, permits, and various administrative functions. Estonia and Dubai were among the first to make it possible to digitize one’s identity and residency.


Sometimes I look back at how quickly technological advancements continue to evolve to the point that I giggle when thinking of what else will evolve as I write.


I remember looking at the visitor numbers of Expo 2020 Dubai (well 2021 as due to the pandemic, the opening was postponed), and how over 24 million visitors got to experience the showcased variety of technological innovations and sustainability solutions.


Dubai has also adopted various sustainability initiatives, including green building standards and eco-friendly urban planning to create a more sustainable and eco-conscious city. I would like to mention the development of solar power projects like the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, one of the world's largest solar energy initiatives.


But why sustainability now? In the past, Dubai relied heavily on oil revenues for its economic growth. However, understanding the finite nature of this resource and the need to diversify its economy, Dubai has been investing in sustainable industries such as tourism, renewable energy, and technology. Sustainability helps create a more resilient and diversified economy, reducing its dependence on oil.


Dubai has a strong global brand and aims to be seen as a forward-thinking and modern city. Embracing sustainability is an integral part of maintaining this image, attracting foreign investment, and building international partnerships.


They also understand the importance of planning for future generations. Sustainable practices ensure that the city remains livable and prosperous for its citizens in the long run. Pursuing sustainability encourages innovation and the development of new technologies and industries. And since Dubai seeks to position itself as a top hub for innovation, sustainability is a key driver of this ambition.


And ambition is a keyword here of the success of Dubai. During my conversations with a few CEOs, I noticed that ambition is a big part of how far they have gotten. No project is too big, no idea is too small and they have the ‘nothing is impossible’ mentality.


How else would a city in the middle of a desert become what it is today and what is yet to become?


The bottom line, Dubai continues to prioritize technology and innovation as it strives to maintain its position as a global economic and technological hub.


I look forward to visiting again soon and seeing how much more they have evolved. As I always say, let's continue discovering more solutions to how technology and innovation can help society be more efficient and productive.




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