The first Industrial Revolution was distinguished by the mechanisation of the textile industry and the invention of the cotton gin in Great Britain. The next transformative age arose in the early 20th century with the invention of the steam engine, electricity, and moving assembly lines. The modern UAE economy flourished during the third industrial revolution marked by the emergence of fossil fuels and oils.
Today, as the world moves beyond the fossil fuel era, we are witnessing the initial stages of a fourth industrial revolution characterised by digital manufacturing. The UAE is at the helm of the digital revolution, paving the path with robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, flying cars, autonomous vehicles, and smart cities.
UAE Forging the Path to Digital Innovation
In a recent report, The Digital Evolution Index 2017, the Fletcher School at Tufts University in conjunction with Mastercard recently named the UAE one of the world’s leaders in the global digital revolution. Their study recognises the UAE’s efforts and achievements integrating connectivity and developing digital economies into the lives of its residents.
The UAE Vision 2021 stands out, setting the bar high for other countries to match. This national innovation strategy targets core sectors, including 3D printing, nanotechnology, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, software, and smart cities.
The UAE along with the UK, Singapore, Estonia, New Zealand, Japan and China (Hong Kong) are among the digital elites characterised by high levels of digital development and a fast rate of digital development.
The Tufts report also cited the UAE is an exemplary example of the power of digital technologies to make life better. According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, the UAE currently holds the top slot as the happiest nation in the Middle East.
With approximately half of the world’s population online, Tufts research outlines the technological advancements of 60 countries around the globe, comparing their competitiveness and market potential for further digital economic growth. The study measured “four key drivers and 170 distinct indicators to chart each country’s respective course including internet access and infrastructure, consumer demand for digital technologies, institutional environment, and innovation.”
The Index measurements found that the UAE demonstrates high levels of digital development while continuing to lead in innovation and new growth. The report also takes into account the pace and nature of digital advancement, and the collected data places the UAE in the ‘Stand Out’ category.
“We all know technology can do more to improve economies and make our lives better, but growth is only achievable if everyone has confidence in the developing ecosystem,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, global enterprise risk, and security of Mastercard. “In our pursuit of a truly connected world, trust and security are critical to successful digital development.”
All eyes are on the UAE as we continue to pave the path towards the digital revolution in anticipation for the Dubai Expo 2020. Between robotics, smart cities, autonomous cars and other ground breaking technological advances, the future is at our doorstep!