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Innovation & IoT can transform oil-based economies

The market is ripe for pragmatic real-world implementations of IOT and connected smart solutions that drive tangible outcomes and deliver benefits for residents. We are tired of the hype and what-if scenarios and are ready to move proof of concepts into commercial implementations, says ANTHONY SAYERS.

One year ago, I moved to Dubai to live and work. So what have been my impressions so far? What is the business environment like?

I personally love living in Dubai, experiencing a new culture that is very much driven by local tradition and yet very diverse in terms of the different nationalities who live here.  From a business perspective, I am very impressed by the UAE’s desire to create collaboration between the private sector and public sector. This is not just rhetoric – there is a genuine willingness to partner and to use innovative technology as the means to drive real change. Encouragingly, despite or perhaps because of having vast oil reserves, the focus in the UAE seems to be very much on developing a circular economy where economic growth is separated from resource consumption

For example, Dubai is now home to the “Office of the Future”, the first 3D-printed office in the world, which will provide valuable insights on the real application of 3D printing technology. It’s amazing to think that a 3D-printer, equipped with an automated robotic arm, and measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide was used to print a 2690 square foot building with the labour cost reduced by more than 50% compared to conventional buildings of similar size. Imagine what this promises for the future!office-of-the-future-robust-rak

So what has a circular economy got to do with Dell? A circular economy goes beyond recycling as it is based on the concept of designing out waste and duplication.  In the same way, Dell is committed to driving technology based on open standard architecture, allowing systems from different manufacturers to talk to one another. Apart from fostering collaboration and inter-operability, this is a sustainable approach, driving increased productivity, saving money, and avoiding the whole re-invention of the wheel. All part of what a circular economy is all about.

The Internet of Things (IoT) takes this sustainable collaboration one step further by combining the global reach of the Internet with the ability to transform data into intelligent insights. Using the Internet, gateways and sensors, IT can now connect to the operational world of machine-to-machine, allowing us to integrate and connect data that previously resided in separate silos. This brave new world sounds wonderful and is very much achievable but it takes partnership. The reality is that no single company or organization can provide that capability. Therefore, in my view, the silo mentality adopted by some is frankly naive.

When I attended the recent Middle East Innovation Advisory Council, my key take-away was that it is abundantly clear that the market is ripe for pragmatic real-world implementations of IOT or connected smart solutions that drive tangible outcomes and deliver benefits for citizens, residents and visitors. We are all tired of the hype and what-if scenarios and we are now ready to move the proof of concepts into commercial implementations.

Dell OEM’s recent collaboration with ESGI at a large shopping mall in Dubai is a classic case in point. Separate building management systems are now integrated and communicating with one another via the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 series , which aggregates, secures, analyses and relays data from a range of sensors and equipment. So for example, in the event of an emergency, lighting, water sprinklers, cameras, air conditioning, elevators and exit doors would all work in tandem to raise alerts with emergency services and facilitate fast evacuation of the building. Apart from streamlining operations and reducing management overhead, the solution also delivers energy savings.  Win-win all-round!

Innovation like this is a disruptive force for good, challenging us all to create smarter, sustainable, more innovative ways of providing services, managing assets and developing new products. Experience shows that collaboration and innovation are the real game-changers. A human-centric design – incorporating a human view to all steps of the problem-solving process – is a fundamental building block to creating a sustainable society and economy. I am glad to see that this principle seems to be alive, well and kicking in the UAE.anthony-sayers

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