The UAE has been at the forefront of digitization and smart revolution for quite some time now. It is, after all, one of the most advanced digital economies in the world, according to the latest edition of IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2018. In this report, the UAE moved up to rank 17 (one spot up from rank 18 in the 2017 report), beating developed economies like Germany, Ireland, France, New Zealand, and Japan.  

While the IMD 2018 report posited the UAE as the only country in the Arab world to lead in digital competitiveness, a recent HSBC research – Trust in Technology – depicts that digital adoption in all aspects of life is much faster in the UAE than in the West.

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The primary factors driving UAE’s commendable digital development are its increased adoption of innovative technologies and digital strategies, and strong support from the government. The UAE’s ever-increasing thirst for technological adoption is clearly demonstrated as follows:

  • The UAE government is heavily invested in building ‘smart’ cities that will include everything – e-governance, e-participation, automated traffic lights, free WiFi in public areas, remote monitoring of infrastructure, city designs with 3D- simulations, and much more. The idea is to leverage technology to improve every aspect of the daily life of the citizens, keeping in line with the latest consumer trends.
  • According to the HSBC research, the UAE holds the third position (at 25%) when it comes to the adoption of Fingerprint technology after China (at 40%) and India (at 31%) in the world. The positive attitude of the people of the UAE toward the adoption of disruptive technologies is to thank for this.
  • By 2020, the Dubai Government hopes to be among the smartest cities in the world. The Smart Dubai Government (SDG) commissioned a global third-party to conduct a six-month study to study Dubai’s savings through the adoption of shared smart services. The study found that the emirate has saved nearly US$ 1.17 billion since 2003.

  • In the last quarter of 2017, the UAE took a significant step to launch two landmark digital initiatives – the  Dubai Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy and the Digital Wealth Initiative. With AI and IoT incorporated in the Dubai IoT Strategy, Dubai aims to build ‘the world’s most advanced IoT ecosystem.’
  • Nearly 77% of the people in the UAE prefer using the latest innovative technology whenever they can, as compared to 49% in Canada and 51% in Germany. Also, 59% of the citizens of the UAE believe that biometrics will become the most prominent technology for accessing financial information in the next ten years.

Increasing awareness of the latest technological trends and the faith that technology holds the potential to improve the overall quality of life are allowing the UAE to march ahead of its Western counterparts. This is how the UAE has established itself as a model for other nations to follow and emulate.

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