The UAE’s future lies in its developing Knowledge Economy, and this week there is no better place to see just how the economy will unfold than at Gitex Technology Week.
Since 2015, which the UAE designated as the Year of Innovation, both the government and the private sector have used Gitex as a launching pad to reinvent themselves for the future.
This year’s show opened with more innovation from government sectors, include the launching of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (Dewa) Block Chain initiative for Green; the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) launching plans for a smart tunnel at Dubai Airports that will use biometric data to streamline passenger movements; Dubai Police revealing a robo cop, an auto police patrol, and a flying motorbike; and Dubai Health Authority launching several new smart initiatives and updating apps to better serve patients.
The private sector too has made numerous announcements, including Uber announcing it would add Tesla’s environmentally-friendly car to its line-up and Noon.com, the recently launched e-commerce website, signing MoUs with etisalat and Dubai Economy, the latter of which will serve to protect consumer rights.
All of these accomplishments should be applauded.
And walking down the halls at the Dubai World Trade Centre, visitors can get a sense of just how much more is being developed, such as Artificial intelligence, which can be used to automate factories or control traffic flow; augmented reality, which can help in project management; and financial technology (fintech), which can better facilitate and secure financial transactions.
If anyone wants to truly get into the heart of the future, they should visit the Future Star of Gitex, where small tech companies are using Gitex to develop themselves into companies that truly embrace and drive a digital economy.
But despite all this, there is still one concern — and it is not an issue that Gitex Technology Week can fix. For years tech companies have struggled to find qualified people, and as the world continues to focus on knowledge economies, demand and competition for qualified people will continue to grow.
Technology can keep the UAE on the global stage in terms of innovation, but at the same time, the country will have to make sure its people have the qualifications to implement and use the technology. While Gitex makes the tools of the future available for all, the UAE must find ways of ensuring that people have the skills to use them.