UAE Tech Podcast is an exploration on how technology is merging with and reshaping government in the United Arab Emirates.
A little understood but fundamental transition is taking place across a series of Emirates first established less than fifty years ago, in 1971.
It’s here that the center of technological gravity is shifting from the private sector to a hybrid relationship involving industrialists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, policymakers, creatives and citizens.
It’s also here that signs of a Fourth Industrial Revolution are emerging.
In this series John Lillywhite talks with leaders from across the UAE in an effort to map these macro trends, and probe how innovations in big data, network science and digitalisation are not simply revolutionising government, but could - one day - play a role in influencing the systems that power global civilization itself.
3D Printing, STEM & Jacky's Business Solutions
A couple of years ago there was a big buzz around 3D printing. Many Tech analysts suggested a future in which we’d all be ‘print-publishing’ consumer items in our homes. That hasn’t happened yet. It’s even possible that 3D printing on the consumer end will remain a niche skill set, favored by designers, engineers and inventors. But the wider industrial implications of 3D printing are beginning to emerge. Right now students across the UAE learning the process, software and techniques necessary to operate a 3D printer. Beyond education, architects and defense firms have long been exploring the technology.
Over the past decade one electronic’s store, in particular, has played a key role in importing 3D printing technology to the UAE. For veteran’s of Dubai, Jacky’s Electronics Store in Nasr Square Deira is a familiar landmark established in 1988. We spoke with Chief Operating Office Ashish Panjabi on how Jacky’s Electronics merged into Jacky’s Business Solutions, for a behind the scenes look into the small changes that are incrementally building UAE capacity in additive manufacturing.
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Hamid Tamimi of Booz Allen Hamilton on UAE Government Innovation
Algorithms watching algorithms - a 21st century version of the Latin dictum, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, or ‘who watches the watchmen’. This time written in code.
New business services engineered and launched within days, rather than months - the idea that COVID-19 is forcing an adaptive response in which efficiency and speed are critical; & that empathy, particularly during challenging times, can be designed into a process.
In the UAE, a complex scenario in which government acts as a gravitational center for innovation, pushing a culture of progressive iteration and a demand for new services out into the rest of society.
Today we’re talking with Hamid Tamimi, Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton on what he describes as the ‘paradigm shift’ taking place across GCC economies, governments, and organizations. With a decade of consulting experience in the region, Hamid concisely describes several of the key patterns and trends at the center of the UAE Tech Podcast. The ‘Big Rethink’ is here, but predicting the next chapter isn’t always easy.
Dorian Barak & the UAE-Israel Business Council: Tech Investment & the Abraham Accords
This week we’re talking with Dorian Barak, a prominent investor and fund-manager based in Israel. Earlier this year Dorian founded the UAE-Israel Business Council to explore opportunities for investment between the two countries.
With the passing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, collaboration and integration between two of the region’s most globalized economies is suddenly possible. Until recently, such collaboration existed only behind closed doors.
American-born and educated at Yale, Oxford and UCLA, Dorian has managed venture capital and equity funds out of Israel and around the world. He has also worked with the business community in the UAE, prior to the signing of the accords. As such, he is uniquely well positioned to provide insights and analysis on the journey ahead with specific reference to the technology industry.
In this episode Dorian explains how Israel offers deep tech experience in areas such as computer vision and automated mobility, hosting companies such as MobileEye. Israel could assist the UAE in implementing world-leading renewable solutions, new agricultural methods in terms of “high-intensity vertical agriculture” requiring less land and less water, as well as in cutting-edge digital health services.
Israel could assist the UAE in implementing world-leading renewable solutions, new agricultural methods in terms of “high-intensity vertical agriculture” requiring less land and less water, as well as in cutting-edge digital health services.
At the same time, the discussion explores how the UAE can provide Israeli entrepreneurs and businesses with access to the Indian-Ocean Basin alongside geographic proximity to their head offices.
UAE based logistics solutions, and capabilities in infrastructure and construction are mentioned, as are Abu Dhabi based sovereign wealth funds, which might serve as vehicles for shared projects on high-end technologies in the future.
Abu Dhabi based sovereign wealth funds, which might serve as vehicles for shared projects on high-end technologies in the future. The potential for the Abraham Accords to accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the UAE is significant. This episode considers how that potential can be realized - the journey ahead might look like.
HMD Global: The UAE's 5G Powered Future
Smart city access points that unlock new mobility solutions. A VR enhanced history lesson on the ancient silk roads. A health app that directly monitors your vitals and communicates with local health providers. Faster gaming and larger online communities.
All of these near-horizon services have one thing in common: bandwidth. As smartphones serve as the portal to the cities we live in, and the wider digital economies around us, faster and more robust data networks are unlocking a new phase of economic growth.
By adopting an early lead in shifting to 4G services, Recon Analytics write on how the US added nearly 100 Billion to the economy by 2016, leading to huge innovation and change.
Now the rest of the world is catching up. As COVID-19 batters the analogue economy, the stakes for the digital economy in the UAE and globally, could not be greater.
Today we’re joined by Sanmeet Kochhar, Vice President for HMD Global MENA & India. HMD is the largest European brand in the mobile and smartphone space in the UAE, with a focus on making 5G enabled devices as widely accessible as possible.
Dubai Financial Services Authority on Fintech, RegTech & Innovation
If you’ve been tuning in, you’ll have noticed that FINTECH is a recurring theme in discussions on the UAE Tech podcast. It’s receiving significant VC investment across the region, often with little fanfare. From physical cash to digital 1’s and 0’s, how we receive, send, invest and spend money is critical to, well, pretty much everything. There are two arguments about the nature of the changes taking place across financial institutions.
The first is a ‘cyberutopian’ argument - centralised banks, guys in suits and the old players of the 20th century are fading away. The future is blockchain and crypto powered; it’s more free. You can hear this argument eloquently put by John McAfee in our first episode. It’s a compelling vision of the future which connects back to the original founding ideals of the Internet. If you grew up during the 2008 financial crisis in the West, it might be one you have sympathy with.
But is it correct? History suggests that technologies like the abacus, debit and entry accounting systems or the credit arrangements of the Bank of England in 1694 witnessed an upgrading of existing financial networks, rather than parallel economic systems.
As the UAE leans into the economy of the future, the epicenter of these conversations are taking place at the Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC), a series of prestigious offices based in downtown Dubai. DIFC is administered by DFSA - the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Today we’re talking with Ken Coghill, Associate Director, Head of Operational and Technology Risk Supervision and Raeef Al Bediwi, Head of Cyber Security. Both are based at the DFSA.
Hailey Yoon on Haptic Feedback, NeuroTech and Coding Character into Artificial Intelligence
Can artificial intelligence have character? What’s it like to visualize the brain in VR? How can software be programmed to identify the biomarkers of disease or provide a diagnosis that is often more accurate than a human. How is haptic feedback making physical space more accessible to people of determination?
This week we’re talking with Hailey Yoon, the founder of a Dubai technology practice called IO21, working to build new software products for private and government clients.
Between 2017 – 2018, Hailey served as a Research Assistant at the Nuero Image Research and Analysis Lab at UNC Medical School in the United States. Here she developed the ‘Automatic Extra-Axial Cerebrospinal Fluid software, which aims to provide an early diagnosis for autism in infants.
She holds a Bachelor in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is currently sitting exams right here in Dubai as a part-time student at Stanford University, completing a Postgraduate qualification in Artificial Intelligence - more on that later.
After volunteering at the UNC Children’s hospital, Hailey developed an interest in autism and in engineering accessible technologies for people of determination. Her programming and design methodology combine a love for the cutting edge tech, with a human first philosophy.
And while 1021 still seems to be searching for a product-market fit on its core services, the company has time to grow… after all, Hailey is twenty-four years old.