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27 May 2024

DEWA hosts the First Industry Exchange Day

By E247

DEWA hosts the First Industry Exchange Day in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, for the 1st time in the world

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has inaugurated the First Industry Exchange Day, hosted by DEWA and organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the first in the world. This is part of DEWA’s efforts during the Year of Sustainability in the UAE, and its strategic partnership with the largest international organisations. The event was attended by HE. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; HE. Khalfan Belhoul, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Future Foundation; and Mirek Dušek, Managing Director, World Economic Forum. Around 50 C-level executives from local, regional and global organisations from the government and private sectors attended the event, which was held at Armani Hotel in Dubai.

A global hub for the 4IR

HE Omar Sultan AlOlama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, emphasised the UAE’s position as a prominent global hub for fostering Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions and leveraging them to drive comprehensive digital transformation. This strategic pursuit aligns with the visionary objectives of the leadership, which prioritises the establishment of a thriving digital economy. The UAE's success in this endeavour is reinforced by an advanced digital infrastructure, including a supportive regulatory and legislative framework that fosters and catalyzes the growth of the digital economy.

During the session discussing the UAE's vision for the digital economy, AlOlama highlighted the country's ongoing commitment to drive the process of digital transformation. This commitment is demonstrated through strategic focus on several crucial areas, including skill-building, fostering digital capabilities, promoting innovation, fostering entrepreneurship, and supporting digital startups. These efforts aim to facilitate the widespread adoption of digital foundations across various segments of society, alongside a focus on enhancing digital literacy. Recognising the rapid advancement of technology and the transformative potential of artificial intelligence solutions, digital literacy stands as a key priority in the current era.

Al Olama added that the UAE Government reinforces its strategy by creating partnerships and establishing cooperative frameworks with governments and institutions worldwide. This aims at facilitating the exchange of success stories, knowledge, and experiences. Recognising that knowledge-sharing serves as a fundamental catalyst for the success of initiatives, the UAE places great significance on these collaborations in fostering readiness for future.

Strategic cooperation

In his speech, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer commended the World Economic Forum for organising the first Industry Exchange Day, which is part of the strategic cooperation between DEWA and the World Economic Forum. DEWA has partnered with WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It was the first government utility to join the San Francisco-based centre, which includes international organisations, as part of DEWA’s efforts to keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and develop disruptive technologies in the power and water sector.

Al Tayer noted that the timing of this conference was very appropriate since Dubai is experiencing the positive aftermath of a remarkable World Expo and DEWA’s success as the largest utility listing in the world, having attracted over US$ 85 billion in international investor demand, representing an oversubscription of 37 times. This was closely followed by the successful listing of Empower, its majority-owned subsidiary and the world’s No.1 district cooling company by installed capacity,

In his speech, Al Tayer shared DEWA’s strategy of transition to green energy, its commitment to advanced and innovative technologies and leveraging digitalisation opportunities in all business operations, which lie at the heart of DEWA’s remarkable success story. It has helped DEWA to establish world-leading benchmarks in availability, reliability and efficiency of the generation, transmission & distribution infrastructure built at a cost exceeding AED 210 billion.

“With the vision, guidance and unlimited support of the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE is preparing to host the largest international climate event, which is the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) in Dubai Expo City later this year. At DEWA, we promote sustainability, innovation and future-shaping in all our projects and initiatives to achieve the goals of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 that seek to provide 100% energy from renewables. We believe that innovation, technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital transformation and the circular economy will play a key role in achieving this ambitious goal,” said Al Tayer.

“Information is power. We launched the world’s largest carbon-neutral green Data Centre at Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park under our subsidiary, Digital DEWA, as confirmed by Guinness World Records. AI and digital solutions are the foundation for smart, secure and sustainable future cities. Smart services adoption by our customers has reached over 99%, and DEWA was recently placed in the top position of global utilities in the independently prepared Digital Quotient Report 2022. Hence, we see a decisive role for Digital DEWA in shaping a new digital future for Dubai. We started using AI in 2017 by developing a roadmap to enrich the experiences of our customers, employees and other stakeholders. We are now working to enhance our services with ChatGPT technology. DEWA is the first utility globally and the first UAE government entity to use this new technology,” added Al Tayer.

“DEWA has recently launched its ‘DEWAVerse’ platform on the Metaverse, being the first local government organisation to serve customers, employees and members of society innovatively. We believe this technology will support the development of projects that will contribute to business growth, enhance efficiency, reduce costs and contribute to stakeholder happiness. To enhance the operational efficiency and effectiveness of electricity and water networks, we have launched two nanosatellites: ‘DEWA SAT-1’, which is a 3U nanosatellite and ‘DEWA SAT-2’, which is a 6U nanosatellite, as part of DEWA’s space programme (Space-D). DEWA is the first utility in the world to use nanosatellites in its operations. We also use big data through sensors in solar power stations that gather real-time data and analyse it in conjunction with data from our satellites,” said Al Tayer.

“With the increasing challenges associated with climate change, there is a need for serious global cooperation to protect the environment and natural resources and advance the global sustainability agenda. I am confident that this forum will be an important milestone in climate action, enhancing cooperation, exchanging experiences and best practices among various industry sectors, developing new strategies to overcome current challenges with modern technologies to create a sustainable world for future generations,” concluded Al Tayer.

Dubai's and the UAE's leadership

HE Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, emphasised that organising this event reflects the importance of the strategic partnership between the World Economic Forum, and Dubai and the UAE over the past years. This partnership has led to numerous global projects and initiatives, including the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE), which is overseen by DFF. The centre aims to employ the latest future technologies in various key sectors and exchange experiences and successful practices to design a better future for the entire world.

During his participation in the First Industry Exchange Day, Belhoul highlighted the most pressing current and future challenges and the potential of adopting metaverse applications in government services, economies, and communities. He pointed out the importance of encouraging and supporting the private sector to contribute more significantly to the digital and technological transformation at multiple levels. He also showcased the key elements of Dubai's and the UAE's leadership in adopting and developing future applications and boosting digital infrastructure to enhance readiness for the future locally and globally.

Collaboration between government and the private sectors

“Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Web3 present business leaders with important opportunities to transform industries and address critical challenges including climate change. Realising these opportunities, while also adequately addressing the attendant challenges and dilemmas, requires close collaboration between government leaders and the private sector. The World Economic Forum provides a platform for such cooperation and dialogue to take shape and we are delighted we were able to make a contribution in this respect today here in Dubai together with DEWA,” said Mirek Dušek, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

Various topics and panel discussions

The First Industry Exchange Day featured different discussion panels and workshops on various topics in AI and digital transformation, with the participation of officials and experts from local, regional, and international organisations from the government and private sectors. Topics covered at the event included: ‘MENA's vision for the Digital Economy’, ‘Digital Transformation in MENA’, ‘Overcoming challenges through technology’, ‘Metaverse – why should my business care?’, ‘UAE’s vision for the Metaverse’, ‘Technology applications to accelerate energy transitions in industries’, and ‘Overcoming Challenges: Generative AI’. The First Industry Exchange Day also highlighted DEWA’s leadership in digital transformation and the ‘DEWAVerse’ platform it launched as a successful role model for digital innovation in the utility sector.