Innovation in the Middle East
The Middle East as a region is finally taking its rightful place on the global stage by investing in, and unveiling technological advances that change the world around us. Middle Eastern governments and companies have recognised the great potential that disruption has brought about in all areas, which can improve our lives through efficiency, ease of use and boosts in productivity. Here, I look at five exciting concepts that are being pioneered across the region.
Changing the way, we pay
Blockchain, the peer-to-peer secure financial network, will modify the way we pay and receive money for items. Qatar’s Commercial Bank was first to market with a completed blockchain pilot earlier this year. Emirates NBD in the UAE, are working on their pilot of the network and even the Smart Dubai Office intends to implement a citywide blockchain-based based platform.
Great strides are also being made in medical technology across the region, most notably through the use of medical devices and VR (virtual reality) technology, but also with smart pharmacies. Dubai Hospital will now have a robot dispensing medicines through a barcode system, reducing waiting times and storing the information for future use.
The future of oil production
Becoming the first in the region to do so, Oman has begun using Superheat technology to extract oil. A local SME called Enhanced Oil Recovery brought the new technology into the country to produce oil from even untapped reserves, using fewer resources. Studies have shown that the technique uses 90% less water and 80% less energy than the standard ways of producing oil in the country, thus lowering costs and having less impact on the environment. As oil remains a high export for Middle Eastern countries, Oman’s investment in the new technology seems sure to raise revenue for the country and revolutionise the industry.
Driverless, Miss Daisy?
In keeping with the cities’ commitment to sustainability and the environment, driverless electric shuttles will soon become a reality in Dubai. Up to 10 passengers will be able to board these EZ10 cars to take them along pre-programmed routes across the city. 360-degree sensors will detect what speed they should travel at and prevent collisions. These shuttles will also reduce the need for parking. The first vehicle was trialled in Downtown Dubai in November 2016, with excellent confidence rates from the public, who reported they felt even safer than with a driver. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi has had its’ own private driverless vehicle fleet on campus since 2010.
Staying with Dubai, which is at the forefront of much of these changes, a new era of architecture and construction has been introduced with the Dynamic Tower. This 420-metre tall tower will not only be the second tallest residential building in the world when completed in 2020 but will rotate on demand so that residents can choose their view. Architect David Fisher believes that the majority of the tower can be built offsite, cutting construction time by 30% and allowing for substantial cost savings. Dynamic Tower will also generate its energy through solar panels and wind turbines between the floors.