| 03 October, 2017

Area 2071: Dubai gov't says more than 100 entities show interest in tech hub

Area 2071 initiative set to open at the base of Emirates Towers early next year

Dubai's Museum of the Future project.

Dubai's Museum of the Future project.

A Dubai government initiative set up to encourage collaboration around a range of new technologies has said it has received expressions of interest from over 100 organisations looking to get involved in the first phase of its Area 2071 initiative.

Area 2071, which is being developed across more than 100,000 square feet of space at the foot of Emirates Towers, has attracted interest from multinationals involved in aviation, technology and healthcare to innovation-focused government entities, according to a statement issued on Monday by The Executive Office on behalf of the initiative.

Area 2071 was announced by Dubai ruler and United Arab Emirates vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in April this year. It is an attempt to build an 'ecosystem' of organisations that will look to use new technologies to solve major societal issues.

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For instance, it is looking at ways of more rapidly and reliably building houses, futuristic travel technologies, renewable energy and new methods of tailored education.

A new space for the initiative is being created at the foot of Emirates Towers in the former Boulevard shopping and retail space, which had been transforming over the past couple of years following the addition of the first 3D printed office outside the building, the Dubai Future Accelerators programme space and the Government Accelerators. Emirates NBD had also introduced its Branch of the Future, displaying new banking technologies in its former branch.

A diagram of the refitted space shows that it will house an amenity pod, media pods, a digital cloud canopy and a 'furniture swarm' area for people to exchange ideas.

Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, the director of Area 2071, said: “Given that the world’s most pressing problems are large-scale in nature, we need a different operating model to solve them – a model that is centred on co-creation through experimentation, in order to deliver on fundamentally new economic and social value.”

According to the initiative's website, the first phase of the project will begin early next year, and the organisations bringing the 'most viable and disruptive' ideas will get to spend one year developing alongside other participants. The statement said that the objective is to "turn experiments into scalable ventures that will have an outsized impact on the world".

“Whether they are operating as researchers or hackers, start-ups, corporate x-labs, VCs [venture capitals] or governments units – we invite experimenters from all over the world to come and co-create large-scale change,” Al Jaziri said.

© Zawya 2017