The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), founded on ICT networks and technologies, is leading us into an intelligent era where there will be 100 billion connections and 40 billion smart devices around the world by 2025. Information is expected to move faster, more securely, and it is predicted that there will be more intelligent data exchanges. Annual data generated will reach 180 billion TB in the next four years, a 20-fold increase compared to 2018. This path toward an intelligent world with ubiquitous high-speed connections will lead to unprecedented economic growth, innovation, and value creation.
Demonstrating incredible foresight, the UAE government launched its Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2017. It is driven by the vision of strengthening the UAE’s position as a global hub for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and for the UAE to become an open lab for 4IR applications. 4IR has many commercial, industrial, and sectoral applications that will be advantageous to society more broadly. Manufacturing, healthcare, utilities, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The UAE’s Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution set into motion various plans on the integration of advancing innovation and future technologies to boost the UAE’s national economy. It also laid the foundation of the future digital economy of the UAE.
According to predictions made by Huawei and Oxford Economics, the global digital economy will be worth US$23 trillion by 2025. A recent research believed that the digital economy contributed 4.4% to the UAE’s GDP. During the pandemic, we witnessed an accelerated adoption of ICT technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and cloud in the UAE. In a post-pandemic world, having a robust digital economy, in tandem with greater application of 4IR technologies powered through 5G, will ensure the UAE’s continued economic success.
The UAE government recognises that the value of building a robust digital economy during the 4IR given the scale of contributions it can make in creating real opportunities for foreign direct investment. It plays a pivotal role in enhancing the country’s economic security by adopting digital economy and blockchain technologies in financial transactions and service.
As the UAE gears up to host the Expo 2020, further development of its digital economy, ICT infrastructure, powered by technologies like 5G, will enable it to create more value not just for its visitors, but the nation as well. It will support in creating an environment that fosters computational thinking will help in the development of advanced mindsets, which in turn will stimulate critical thinking. It will also ignite job creation at an unparalleled level.
To ensure that we can unlock the full potential of the 4IR in the UAE, two key elements need to be considered – world-class ICT infrastructure, and talent development. To build the ICT infrastructure to capitalise on the 4IR, the UAE is empowering and partnering to co-create solutions. Secondly, developing local talent is also crucial to the success of the UAE’s 4IR and digital economy ambitions. Global ICT leaders such as Huawei have embraced the responsibility of upskilling the existing workforce, and also contribute towards nurturing the youth of our nation.
The UAE government is taking concrete steps to establish a strong digital economy, and through ongoing collaboration, we can help fulfil the nation’s vision for the 4IR.