UAE based Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced that it is utilizing cutting edge technologies including blockchain to develop innovative and sustainable energy solutions to provide its electricity services according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, sustainability, and quality. This is supported by an advanced infrastructure for managing facilities and services through smart and integrated systems, utilising cutting-edge technologies such as the smart grid, artificial intelligence (AI), Space-D programme, blockchain, energy storage and integration of its sources, Internet of Things (IoT), and 3D printing, among others.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, emphasised DEWA’s ongoing efforts and commitment to global sustainability goals, leadership in digital transformation, and spearheading clean and renewable energy projects and initiatives. These efforts are aligned with the vision of the wise leadership to enhance effective adaptation to future developments and address challenges securely and sustainably across all areas. DEWA’s preparedness reflects its strategy and unwavering efforts to achieve its vision of being a globally leading sustainable and innovative corporation committed to achieving Net-Zero by 2050.

Energy production and storage projects:

DEWA relies on pioneering initiatives and projects to diversify clean energy production sources. This includes clean and renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic panel technology, concentrated solar energy, and green hydrogen production using solar energy, along with projects and initiatives to increase energy efficiency.

DEWA is also developing energy storage technologies through several pioneering projects, including the fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will have the largest energy storage capacity in the world of 15 hours, allowing for energy availability around the clock, and the pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant in Hatta.

Smart grid:

DEWA aims to enhance its leadership in innovation, sustainability, and future shaping across all its projects and initiatives, focusing on Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and digital transformation. To achieve this goal, DEWA has developed a comprehensive strategy to implement a smart water and electricity infrastructure, known as the Smart Grid. This intelligent grid incorporates advanced features such as automated decision-making and interoperability throughout the electricity and water network.

Among the programmes launched by DEWA under the umbrella of the smart grid is an Automatic Smart Grid Restoration System (ASGR), the first of its kind in the MENA region, to increase the control, management, and monitoring of its power network. The system works around the clock without any human intervention. It uses a smart, innovative, and central system that locates the fault in the power network, isolates it, and automatically restores the service.

Smart meters

Smart meters serve as the backbone of the smart grid and play a pivotal role in driving digital transformation. They enhance operational efficiency and mitigate losses. In Dubai, all active traditional meters for electricity and water have been upgraded to smart meters. These smart meters offer numerous benefits, enabling customers to proactively and digitally manage their consumption without the need to contact DEWA. The Smart Meters Analysis and Diagnosis Centre remotely monitors the smart meters every 15 minutes. As of the end of 2023, the number of smart meters in Dubai reached 2.2 million.

Automatic Smart Grid Restoration System (ASGR):

Among the programmes launched by DEWA under the umbrella of the smart grid is an Automatic Smart Grid Restoration System (ASGR), the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, to increase the control, management, and monitoring of its power network. The system works around the clock without any human intervention. It uses a smart, innovative, and central system that locates the fault in the power network, isolates it, and automatically restores the service. This improves grid automation, fault detection and retrieval of connections.

Enhancing efficiency through Space-D

DEWA’s Space-D programme contributes to raising the development, maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks. It improves the efficiency of DEWA’s generation, transmission, and distribution divisions by monitoring solar power plants and enhancing the accuracy of generation predictions. This is achieved through forecasting weather patterns, seawater temperature and salinity, and monitoring electricity transmission lines. Additionally, it aids in detecting water leaks and identifying any changes in the infrastructure, further optimising DEWA’s operations. As part of its Space-D programme, DEWA launched two nanosatellites DEWA-SAT1 in January 2022, and DEWA-SAT2 in April 2023. DEWA is the first utility in the world to launch nanosatellites to improve its operations.

Innovative initiatives for the production, transmission, and distribution divisions:

DEWA’s initiatives for its production, transportation and distribution sectors, which rely on expertise, experiences and capabilities, contribute to enhancing DEWA’s leadership and excellence. These initiatives ensure the sustainability and preservation of resources and provide ways to develop them by applying best practices in all initiatives and projects to raise production and operational efficiency. During 2023, there were many initiatives undertaken by various divisions within DEWA, the most important of which were: Distribution Automation of Secondary Distribution Substations, Distribution Network Smart Centre, and DEWA Cable Lab.

Globally competitive results:

The seamless, swift, and effective operation of the smart grid has enabled DEWA to achieve competitive results that surpass prominent European and American companies in terms of efficiency and reliability. DEWA has reduced electricity Customer Minutes Lost (CML) in Dubai from 4.9 minutes in 2014 to 1.06 minutes in 2023, which is the lowest in the world. DEWA has also reduced losses in electricity transmission and distribution networks from 3.3% in 2014 to 2.0% last year by adopting the best international technical standards and the most accurate engineering practices in the planning, design, construction, and operation of energy systems. This percentage is also the lowest worldwide. In 2014, water network losses were at 9.1%, and reached 4.6% in 2023, which is the lowest in the world.

The Oman Development Bank will be digitizing its operations utilizing low code blockchain enabled solutions from NewGen Software.

Newgen Software, a global provider of low code digital transformation platform will streamline Oman Development Bank’s banking processes.

Oman Development Bank, the financing arm for the government to support SMEs based in Oman is dedicated to enhancing its banking processes, aiming for a seamless, secure, and omnichannel experience for its customers.

The bank has opted for Newgen’s intelligent process automation (BPM) and contextual content services (ECM) offerings, built on the NewgenONE low code platform. This project would be executed with the help of Newgen’s platinum implementation partner, Ikyam Technologies.

The Newgen Intelligent process automation and contextual content services are built on a low code platform that manages content, processes ad communication. It empowers  employees to easily develop applications, from automating small departmental functions to enterprise wide solutions

The platform helps leverage cutting-edge capabilities such as robotic process automation (RPA), digital sensing, mobility, analytics, and blockchain,

Leveraging Newgen’s solutions, the bank will oversee the entire content lifecycle, from origination to disposition. The solution provides efficient tools for capturing content from diverse sources and facilitates instant document uploads—managed within a secure, centralized repository. The bank can optimize processes and foster collaboration between front- and back-office teams through user-friendly workflow automation. Moreover, the solution will allow DB to mitigate business risks by ensuring compliance and securing business-critical information. The integration with core banking and third-party systems will provide a unified experience.

“With Newgen’s robust solution, we look forward to achieving a paperless work environment that will enhance efficiency, reduce overall costs, and eliminate process bottlenecks. This will help us meet the targeted growing demand and scale operations to handle high-volume transactions efficiently, leading to a better customer experience. With this implementation, we are poised to set new benchmarks in delivering innovative financial services, empowering SMEs financially, and aligning with the country’s economic development goals,” said Mahmood Al-Yafai, Digital Transformation Program Director, Development Bank.

“It brings us great pleasure to partner with DB, supporting and advancing their digital transformation program’s goals. DB’s trust enhances our standing as a robust, adaptable, and scalable platform meeting the diverse spectrum of banking customer needs. We look forward to helping the bank build a strong foundation with digital banking and supporting their future initiatives,” said Vivek Bhatnagar, VP – EMEA Sales, Newgen Software.

Synechron, a leading global digital transformation consulting firm focused on financial services and technology organizations which works with emerging technologies such as AI, Blockchain and others has opened its new office located in Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (“KSA”). The new office will enable Synechron to expand its array of key services to multiple banking and technology firms within the Middle East. This marks the 44th office Synechron maintains across 19 countries.

Synechron currently operates two offices in the United Arab Emirates, respectively in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In recent years, KSA has experienced a transformation of its banking and financial technology sectors, presenting an opportunity for Synechron to scale up its business to support the growth of these sectors. Riyadh, the capital of KSA, was selected for the location of this office as it is at the epicenter of where multiple banking and telecom companies maintain their head offices.

The firm has previously executed projects in KSA, including building a digital branch for a global bank, and currently provides payments-related services for another financial firm.

Faisal Husain, Synechron’s Co-founder and CEO, said of the new office opening, “We are excited to join the Riyadh business community and establish Synechron as a key participant in KSA’s financial services industry, while contributing to the region’s vision and growth. With our expanded footprint, we are able to more closely collaborate with our clients and better enable their digital technology-led business transformation.”

Suhail Basit, Managing Director and Head of Synechron’s MENA Business, added, “We are pleased to expand our presence into KSA and look forward to welcoming a local workforce of talented individuals with the knowledge, skills and passion to work in tandem with our global exerts. We are investing in senior talent to lead our ongoing initiatives and to bring in the desired growth from this fast-growing market. Together, we will develop the customized business solutions that our existing and prospective clients require to scale their businesses. This includes bringing advanced methodologies and tools for Digital Transformation, Data and Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and more.”

The UAE Sharjah Digital Office’s “Sharjah NFT” is now live. The NFT will be used to issue verified digital certificates using soulbound tokens which efficiently store and track documents using blockchain through a QR code.

As per the press release, this marks a significant achievement in Sharjah’s digital transformation journey and underlines its commitment to a sustainable future for all.  The platform was inaugurated at the Sharjah Government Pavilion during GITEX Global 2023. It provides an innovative and user-friendly system enabling various entities, including government authorities, educational institutions, private businesses, and event organisers, to issue authenticated certificates as non-fungible codes stored in a digital record.

Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi commented, “In light of the rapid advancement of technology in work and life, Sharjah Digital Office remains dedicated to integrating cutting-edge technologies to benefit the community. These efforts are central to the emirate’s digital transformation journey, driven by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who underscores the importance of fostering innovation in Sharjah’s technological domain and prioritising flexibility and efficiency across all sectors.”

He added, “The introduction of the Sharjah NFT Platform signifies a shift from traditional paper certificates to secure and dependable digital certificates, which are easy to issue and offer a high level of reliability and security. The platform acts as a firewall; it is impervious to any form of tampering or fraud and ensures the authenticity and credibility of certificates through blockchain technology, guaranteeing their direct association with the legitimate recipient.” He also stressed that this initiative aligns with Sharjah Digital Office’s strategy to reinforce and expedite the digital transformation journey in the emirate, with a strong emphasis on making significant strides in the domain of smart living.

Users can design and generate customized certificates to meet their specific needs, utilizing the platform’s blockchain-based infrastructure to efficiently create certificate records and serve as a central control hub for coordinating their distribution with maximum efficiency and minimal manual involvement.

UAE based Emirates NBD has inveted in Blockchain enabled Komgo, trade finance platform.

As per the press release, the strategic equity investment was made by Emirates NBD’s Innovation Fund, the Bank’s corporate venture fund.  The fund created in early 2023, aims to strengthen synergies from strategic partnerships by combining the Bank’s digital ambitions and regional expertise with the agility and technological innovations of fintech companies.

Emirates NBD’s corporate venture capital arm will enable the Group to make investments in tech start-ups and companies that further support its digital strategy. The Innovation Fund’s mandate is to invest in a wide range of stages, from early to growth, depending on the strategic fit for the Group, with the aim of delivering strategic benefits and realising a long-term return from investments.

Komgo’s solutions empower Treasury, Credit, and Trade Finance operations, streamlining communications and strengthening operational capacity for more than 10,000 enterprise users worldwide. From its Swiss roots, the company has expanded to key international locations including Singapore, Paris, London, Toronto and Houston, and is trusted by a diverse customer base that includes more than 200 multinational corporations and global trade banks. Approximately USD 1 billion in transaction value flows through the Komgo Network each day.

Komgo has two main products, Trakk which logs documents, creating a digital fingerprint on its blockchain, and  Konsole that matches corporates with banks and offers several solutions including various digital letters of credit and guarantees.

Ahmed Al Qassim, Group Head of Wholesale Banking, Emirates NBD, said: “Our strategic equity investment in Komgo reflects our commitment to constantly innovate and develop tech solutions that can accelerate business processes. We recognise how the fast-changing fintech landscape impacts our industry and we will continue to find and support the next generation of technologies that will help us shape the future of finance and to further strengthen our position as one of the leading financial institutions in the region.”

Souleïma Baddi, CEO at Komgo commented, “We are delighted that Emirates NBD has taken a strategic equity stake in Komgo, becoming the first Middle Eastern bank to hold shares in the company. This marks a significant milestone and a powerful affirmation of Komgo’s solid track record and promising future.”

Souleïma Baddi  CEO at Komgo used to sit on the board of VAKT which also utilizes blockchain to enhanve trade finance.

Prior to this Emirates Bank was one of the founding banks for UAE’s Blockchain fraud detection platform UAE Trade Connect.

UAE Trade Connect is now seeking to its expand its membership based out of the UAE Banking sector to other GCC countries including KSA.

As part of the strategy to build  crypto mining datacentres in Oman, the first phase of Asyad Group crypto mining center was launched in the Free zone in Salalah.

Built and managed by Exahertz, a subsidiary of Afaq Advance Technologies firm, the first phase was inaguarated during a ceremony attended by top Omani governmental officials. The ceremony was held under the auspices of Eng. Said Hamoud Al Ma’awali, Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology. It was attended by HH Sayyid Marwan Turki Al Said, Governor of Dhofar.

The ceremony included the inauguration of a pilot facility for the first phase of the project on the centre for data processing and hosting of cryptocurrency mining.

During the event the second phase of the project was also launched.

Al Ma’awali stated, “The inauguration of the first phase of the project reflects the ministry’s keenness on promoting digital investment and localizing advanced technologies. He added that the company in charge of the project is expected to achieve a quarter of envisaged volume of production before the end of 2023.

Dr. Ali Mohammed Tabook, CEO of Salalah Free Zone, underscored the significance of laying down the foundation stone for the Exahertz Blockchain Data Centre at an investment value of $348 million on an area of 312,000 square metres.

According to Sam Ferdos, CEO of Moonwalk Systems and Strategic Partner of Exahertz International, a wider network of blockchain-based data centres in planned in the Sultanate of Oman, starting with a pilot in Salalah.

Ferdos stated to Observer media, “The pilot is already online with 11 megawatts of power and over 2,000 machines. By October, capacity will be ramped up to have up to 15,000 machines online, with development fast-tracked to cover three locations in Salalah and one in Al Jabal Al Akhdar in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate.”

Prior to this announcement, Oman Ministry of Transport, Communications, and IT in partnership with Green Data City (GDC) the next generation data blockchain ecosystem, launched the first licensed sustainable crypto mining datacenter in Oman, and the GCC.  The delegation witnessed the first Bitcoin officially mined in Oman using immersive cooling technology which will reduce electricity consumption.

Under this license, industrial mining companies can now register directly with GDC Mining and operate within the development.

In addition Oman Investment Authority (OIA) took part in a $350mn equity round in Crusoe Energy Systems. The US firm helps oil and gas producers cut flaring by using stranded natural gas to power cryptocurrency mining. Crusoe systems set up operations in Oman as well.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Zul Javaid, CEO of UAE Trade Connect, the UAE’s first trade finance platform to combat fraud, announced that they had hired Wissam Massud to lead their international expansion.

As per the post, Massud will define market-entry strategies as UAE Trade Connect widens its horizons to GCC, other Middle East, Africa countries.

In the post, Javaid states, “We know that UTC’s unique #blockchain technology addresses a real-life pain for banks and tradefinance lending everywhere, so we fully expect to be knocking on lots of countries’ doors in the coming year.”

Prior to this announcement, In May 2023 Zul Javaid coming back fro a recent participation at Global Trade Review conference in KSA had noted that UAE Trade  Connect was interested in offering its solutions to the Saudi Arabian banking sector.

As per Javaid, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a robust banking market, and we are very keen to bring our unique blockchain and AI based engine into the country to help banks de risk their trade finance lending.”

UAE Trade Connect currently has 11 UAE banks among its members and has surpassed $27 million in transactions identifying interbank duplicate financing and preventing fraud attempts.

The UAE Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, recently announced its migration of high percentage of its application and workloads to the Azure Cloud utilising various cloud computing services such as Blockchain, AI, and Data warehouse.

ADIB has selected Cloud4C to work with them on this transformation project. Cloud4C is an Azure expert specialised in advanced cloud-managed services. They were chosen because of their broad and deep portfolio of cloud services, overall commitment to security excellence, and strong financial services experience.

Commenting on the migration to the Cloud, Ashley Veasey, Group Chief Information Officer at ADIB, said: “ADIB has been at the forefront of digital transformation and continues to invest in re-architecting its technology to be more innovative and responsive to customer needs. We migrated to the cloud in recognition of the need to create an environment that is optimised for rapid changes and that will help in rolling out our digitisation strategy to better cater to the constantly evolving needs of customers. With this migration, ADIB is now able to deliver new applications rapidly, while adhering to the highest standards of security.”

Excited about the partnership and successful migration, Rakesh Reddy, Regional Director, Cloud4C MEA, said: “ADIB’s commitment to migrate to Azure cloud is a reflection of their strategy to provide the best customer experience and on being a leader in innovation. We are excited that ADIB has worked with us and benefited from our expertise to support them in this project. This is the largest single-phase migration in the region involving hundreds of core applications and thousands of servers. Post a thorough assessment of the existing landscape, a tailored Azure cloud migration blueprint was chalked out by Cloud4C’s Azure team. Once completed, the implementation was performed fail-proof, with dedicated Azure advanced networking, server migration, application migration, DR setup, and support services. Today, ADIB banks on data-driven business decisions leveraging tools and consulting from experienced cloud and domain experts.”

In the past ADIB Bank has been a strong proponent for technology and Blockchain. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) became the 10th bank to join Blockchain trade finance platform UAE Trade Connect (UTC), developed by e& enterprise, formerly Etisalat Digital. 

The UAE Ministry of Justice announced in its 2023 digitization report that utilizing blockchain technologies and video communications, 95% of court cases were conducted remotely. In addition all marriage services were completed digitally. The ministry introduced a digital system that can issue powers of attorney in less than 10 minutes without any human involvement. 

As per the news, this achievement aligns with the UAE’s digital agenda, reflects the ministry’s commitment to its digital transformation journey, and aligns with the UAE’s 2025 Digital Government Strategy.

The ministry developed a comprehensive and innovative digital system, which allowed the remote completion of marriage services in the first quarter of this year, facilitating users’ dealings and reducing paperwork. The Ministry of Justice also announced that in the first quarter of the year, the Notary Public used video conferencing and blockchain technology to generate 99 percent of powers of attorney in a digital format. 

Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice, said that this achievement underscores the ministry’s keenness to provide a wide range of comprehensive e-services to save customers time and enhance their user experience, in line with the directives of the UAE’s leadership and the UAE Government’s objectives.

The ministry introduced a digital system that can issue powers of attorney in less than 10 minutes without any human involvement. The first phase of the system only covered lawyers’ powers of attorney, but it has now been extended to other types of powers of attorney, such as those for cars, stocks, real estate, disputes, licencing and cases.

Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 part of  UAE’s ADNEC Group, plan to build a major film studio – ‘twofour54 Studios’ to span over 100 acres, twofour54 Studios will be a future-proof, virtual production-ready, metaverse-enabled and fully-fledged production destination, addressing high demand in the regional and global production landscape. 

Spanning 400,000 sqm (4,400,000 sqft), twofour54 Studios will boast an impressive range of features including 11 best-in-class soundstages, a 3,000 sqm (32,000 sqft) exterior water tank and six versatile standing sets offering filmmakers ample opportunities for inventive storytelling. Complementing this lot will be 7,000 sqm (over 75,000 sqft) of office space and an array of other production facilities, encompassing post-production, permanent tenancies and screening rooms. At twofour54 Studios, every aspect has been carefully designed to foster an environment that nurtures creativity and ensures a seamless and efficient production process.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Board Member, Managing Director and CEO of ADNEC Group, said: “The creative industries have been identified as one of Abu Dhabi’s priority sectors given the important economic and social value they create. We are proud to drive Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a leading global destination for content creation through twofour54 Studios. It will take film and TV production to the next level, creating jobs and contributing to the local economy following its completion in 2025.”

“twofour54 has facilitated thousands of productions over the last 15 years, establishing a compelling track record and building a deep expertise of the global film industry’s demands. Leveraging this invaluable experience, twofour54 identified an opportunity in the MENA region – the demand for an integrated, future-ready production destination. We remain steadfast in our mission to foster creativity, nurture talent and provide a world-class platform where visionaries can bring their cinematic dreams to life.”  said Mark Whitehead, CEO of twofour54.