Turn back the clock three decades back, Dubai was nothing but a desert. Fast track to today and Dubai has become a modern city with global appeal. Skyscrapers, shopping malls, artificial islands, fountains, luxurious hotels and gold rush is what we associate Dubai with, today.

That is how quickly Dubai has transformed and the transformation will continue at a much faster pace in years to come. The only difference is that two decades ago, oil played a key role in uplifting Dubai and now technology will make it stand toe to toe against some of the best cities in the world but how will it happen? Here is how.

Tech Revolution Is Underway

It all began with the announcement of IT strategy in 1999, which paves the way for Dubai Internet City and since then, Dubai never looked back. Home to more than 2.85 million people, Dubai has the highest technology adoption rate in the region. The mushrooming growth in a number of digital marketing and web design agency, software and mobile app development businesses speaks volumes about the conclusive business environment for tech companies. Many initiatives are already underway to convert Dubai into a smart city.

Vision 2021

His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of UAE and the ruler of Dubai wants to “make Dubai the happiest city on Earth” and he wants to convert his dream into reality by 2021. With 2018 knocking on our doors already, Dubai has only three years up its sleeve to make everything happen.

This would only be possible by embracing technology innovation and the higher authorities understand that very well. This is why numerous initiatives and projects ranging from data analytics to blockchain, autonomous vehicles to 3D printing are underway to make smart Dubai initiative successful.

To make Dubai the happiest city on earth, a strategy has been carved out with focus on six different areas.

  1. Convert Dubai into smart and sustainable digital city
  2. Make Dubai a globally competitive economy
  3. Connected and lean government
  4. Easy accessibility to social services with connected society
  5. Establish Autonomous transport system for better mobility
  6. Create a clean environment with innovations

Autonomous Transport

Driverless cars have been around for quite some time now but the latest trend that is about to revolutionize transportation industry all together is of flying cars. Dubai is one step closer to launching its flying taxi. Hate traffic jams and noise pollution? Flying cars is the answer to your problem. Take the hassle out of your commutes with flying taxi and reach your destination quickly. Popular ride-hailing services such as Uber and Careem has shown a keen interest in launching flying taxi to help citizens of Dubai in commuting from one place to another.

Green Innovation

Although, Dubai is not on the list of hottest places on earth there are not far away. The climate is extremely hot and average temperatures range from mid-thirties to mid-forties degree centigrade. Add global warming factor and climate change becomes a major issue for Dubai.

To minimize the impact of climate change, Dubai is focusing its attention on green technology and clean resources for its energy needs. The end goal is to provide pollution free environment with low emissions. Strict checks on water and air quality along with measures to maintain the level of their purity are in place.

With Carbon Abandonment strategy in place, Dubai will be able to cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 16%. With more investments in renewable energy sources such as solar, Dubai will produce more than 7% of its energy through these clean renewable resources by 2021. Don’t be surprised to see a hybrid or electric vehicles replace traditional cars on Dubai roads in years to come.


Despite moving in the right direction towards making Dubai one of the best cities in the world, authorities have their work cut out because they have so much to do and have very little time for it. To reach the target by 2021, Dubai will have to overcome all the odds ranging from operations to financial issues and execute all the plans perfectly.

Some of the major challenges and hurdles that hinder its progress towards becoming a smart city are scarcity of water, harsh climatic conditions, growing energy needs and high cost of quality education. Dubai needs a solid technology infrastructure, which can be used as a launching pad for Smart City project. Participation, collaboration and engagement of the stakeholders will be vital for the cause. Effective public-private partnership can take Dubai one-step closer to the goal and make Dubai the happiest place in the world.

What do you think about the digital transformation of Dubai? What would the future of Dubai look like? Would Dubai be able to become the smart city and set the example for other cities to follow or is it just a gimmick to steal the limelight? Feel free to share your feedback with us in comments section below.

October 2, 2017
Digital Dubai

Digital Dubai: How Digital Technology is changing The Face of Dubai

Turn back the clock three decades back, Dubai was nothing but a desert. Fast track to today and Dubai has become a modern city with global...