UAE Blazing the Tech Path

Birender Singh

Birender Singh

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is at the vanguard of tech innovations in a wide range of segments including fintech, gaming, AI, IoT, AR & VR, and much more. The tech market here has overtaken Europe, Southeast Asia, MENA, and even North America.

Here is a look at some of the sectors where UAE tech startups are expanding the boundaries and what they mean for the future of the segment.

5G Technology

UAE has been at the forefront of 5G adoption in the world, being only the fifth country to implement the most modern mobile technology in 2019. 5G allows hundreds of times downloadable speeds as compared to the previous 4G tech and provides a more reliable network with less lag.

With the adoption of the technology, tele-surgeries will be more efficient as they can be performed closer to real-time because of the lesser lag in networks and faster internet speeds. Also, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will enable companies to collect more reliable data and monitor their critical systems better. It is estimated that the adoption of 5G and IoT will allow the oil and gas sectors to increase their contribution to the GDP by 4.9%.

The emirate has seen a spurt in online shopping and contactless payment options, which gained popularity during the pandemic. A global Mastercard study states that in MENA, nearly 70% of the respondents said they are using contactless payment options. It is ten times quicker than the traditional methods of paying for goods and services.

AI and Automation

As far as AI and automation are concerned, the fintech industry has been the early adopter of the technology, especially for its chatbot services. For example, Emirates NBD bank uses AI-powered chatbots, Liv and Pepper.

Even Wealth management companies are offering advanced investment services at reduced costs because of Artificial Intelligence. One such is UAE-based Sarwa is a zero-commission trading platform.

The International Data Corporation predicts that by 2023, nearly 40% of insurers will automate claims processes that will increase efficiency and speed. Also, another study by stated that nearly 65% of customers preferred automated services to solve simple problems.


Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are expected to contribute $4.1 billion to the UAE economy by 2030, which is a boost of over 1% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Across the world, it has the potential to give a fillip of $1.5 trillion or 1.8% of the global GDP, states a PwC report. UAE, which is already at the forefront of tech innovations, is all set to tap this opportunity.

AR and VR allow faster conceptualization, designing, and rollout of products, cutting down costs and time. It allows companies to train their employees in real-life situations, including risky scenarios. UAE’s NDB bank already trains its staff using the technology, but from the perspective of customers.

Health Data

The Health Data segment got a boost during Covid as the Emirate digitized most of the patients’ files helping the government fight the pandemic effectively. The data was shared with the state-run hospitals that helped reach medicines and vaccines on time.

Health data will dramatically transform the healthcare sector with improved diagnosis and treatment.

The Emirate, over the last few years, has been promoting health tourism, which was growing at 5.5% annually. But it hit a roadblock during the last two years of the pandemic. The Dubai Health Authority has Dubai Health Experience, an online portal that allows patients to plan their travel, stay, treatment, and agents all at one spot.


Being at the forefront of the digital revolution has brought its own concomitant risks for the Emirate. In 2021, it was ranked fifth in the world in the global cybersecurity index. Globally, the number of cyberattacks increased by 50% in 2021 as compared to the previous year, but the UAE saw a whopping 71% jump during the same period. In 2020, when the pandemic was at its peak, there was a 250% increase in cyberattacks reported, where almost 78% of organizations were being targeted.

To prevent such attacks, the UAE Cybersecurity Council was set up in November 2020. Of late, the UAE has been opting for a model centered around services, instead of technology, for cybersecurity. It signed agreements with Deloitte, Huawei, Amazon Web Services, and Cyber Protection X in March 2022. Such efforts will bring down costs, boost cyber security efforts, improve local cybersecurity expertise and allow sharing of best practices.