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Dubai's new robotics play
Two decades of future-focused policymaking underpins every new Dubai tech initiative
On Wednesday, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of #Dubai, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, announced the launch of the 𝗗𝘂𝗯𝗮𝗶 𝗥𝗼𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗰𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗼𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 (𝗥&𝗔) 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗺𝗲. Under the programme, the government will provide support and governance to the sector, fund new research and development projects, and help fast-track adoption of robotics and automation in government, the public sector and industry.
In many other countries, such an announcement might attract only passing interest. There don't seem to be many details available, there's no website as a reference and some of the communications and media reports do appear a little confusing. The cynically-minded might wonder if this will 'happen', or if it is simply a government public relations stunt. However, those that know Dubai well, will know not to write-off such announcements as just PR. The government has a reputation for putting a stake in the ground, often in unchartered territory, and then building quickly on its vision.
The new Dubai R&A announcement is a very different one to the launch of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy in July, that has made waves globally.. There are different stakeholders, different industries and different potential investors at play. The consistency is in Dubai's drive and commitment to embrace the future, champion it and turn future possibilities into new economic opportunities.
Dubai's love for technology arguably began in the 1990s as the computer revolution swept the region, public Internet was introduced and GSM mobile usage in the UAE rocketed from zero in 1994 to more than 50% by early 2001. Dubai announced its first government-wide ICT (information and communications technology ) strategy in 1999 and then its first initiative to make technology a direct contributor to the economy: Dubai Internet City.
In recent years, the Government of Dubai has purposefully positioned itself to better identify, assess and act on upcoming digital and technology opportunities. It's getting more adept at both defining those opportunities in a form that's useful to support decision making, and at accelerating the speed at which it can develop policy and strategy for emerging technologies, digital business models and shifts in the global digital economy.
Dubai, who's leaders have always been risk takers, now moves to grasp digital opportunities with a new found level of confidence, unafraid of the challenges and unknowns ahead. Its relatively small size (in global terms) and ultra-modern infrastructure, give the government the opportunity to be more agile and ambitious than global competitors. A strength that we now see it taking full advantage of.
For those that demand proof that Dubai can deliver, the evidence is clear for all to see. Every new Dubai tech strategy is underpinned by more than two decades of future-focused policy making and initiatives.
Here are some selected government initiatives that help tell Dubai's technology success story and now add weight to new initiatives:
📅 1999 - Dubai Internet City announced - the first information and communications technology business park in the Middle East, opening in 2000.
📅 2000 - Dubai eGovernment - a programme created to ease the lives of people and businesses interacting with the Government and to help establish Dubai as a leading economic hub
📅 2014 - Dubai Smart City - a strategy to turning Dubai into a 'Smart City', transforming 1,000 services into smart digital services.
📅 2015 - Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) - Dubai's centre for space science and technology.
📅 2016 - DUBAI FUTURE FOUNDATION - founded to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Dubai, positioning it as a leading city of the future.
📅 2016 - Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy - developed by Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) to transform 25% of the total transportation in Dubai to autonomous services by 2030
📅 2016 - Dubai Data Establishment - formed to develop a holistic data ecoystem for Dubai.
📅 2016 - Dubai Blockchain Strategy - which aims to transform 50 per cent of government transactions to blockchain transactions.
📅 2021 - DMCC Crypto Centre - formed by DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre), the new centre and regulatory framework allows crypto firms to set-up and operate,
📅 2021 - Digital Dubai (Digital Dubai Authority) - to ensure integration of the strategies and policies of Dubai Electronic Security Center, Dubai Statistics Center, Dubai Data Est. and Smart Dubai.
📅 2022 - Museum of the Future - designed to inspire visitors with future possibilities.
📅 2022 - Dubai Virtual Assets Authority (VARA) and Dubai Virtual Assets Law - set-up to guide and regulate Dubai's entry into DeFi (decentralised finance) and the metaverse.
📅 2022 - Dubai Metaverse Strategy - established to help Dubai capitalise on the growing metaverse industry and become a global hub for development.
Find out more about the Dubai R&A Programme:
See H.H. Sheikh Hamdan's Linkedin post.
Read the official Dubai R&A Programme announcement.
Read about the Dubai Metaverse Strategy in Middle East AI News 21-Jul-22. (Linkedin version)
This article first appeared on Linkedin.