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 Saudi Arabian, Communications, Space, and Technology Commission  has extended the registration period for the Emerging Technologies Regulatory Sandbox to March 31, 2024. The Emerging Technologies regulatory sandbox is open for technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, and cloud computing, space technology, AR/VR/XR and 3D printing.

This decision supports the nation’s commitment to innovation and technological advancements, offering entrepreneurs and innovators the opportunity to experiment with cutting-edge products, solutions, and business models within a flexible regulatory framework.

By allowing additional time for registrations, the CST is inviting a broader spectrum of innovators to leverage this platform, thereby enhancing inclusivity and diversity in the market. This initiative is part of a broader effort to foster a conducive environment for launching innovative business models, solutions, or services, with the ultimate aim of supporting entrepreneurs and innovators in bringing their visions to life.

The commission’s recent collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the announcement of the winners of the Internet of Things Challenge 2023 are prime examples of its active involvement in nurturing talent and encouraging technological innovation.

This comes at the heel of the signing of the Deep tech Venture Studio between The Hashgraph Association and Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment.

All this is a reflection of the Kingdom’s aim to attract more emerging tech startups and companies to the country.

UAE IHC Holding, which bought 10 percent of UAE Phoenix Group, a leading Bitcoin mining entity continues to spur its growth in Blockchain, AI and IoT in a joint venture with Indian Adani Group.

The joint venture, Sirius Digitech will be based out of Abu Dhabi UAE. Indian based Adani Global Ltd. and UAE IHC’s Sirius International Holding Ltd. will own 49% and 51% respectively in the Sirius Digitech International Ltd. Both partners will have an equal representation on the board of new entity which will also explore Internet of Things and blockchain besides AI.

The venture aims to explore sectors ranging from Fintech and Healthtech to Greentech, leveraging Adani’s proven track record of incubating successful businesses within its extensive portfolio.

The partners emphasized their dedication to collaborative decision-making through equal representation on the board, highlighting the alignment of Adani’s innovation and IHC’s strategic vision. In addition, they aim to go beyond AI, exploring the transformative possibilities of IoT and blockchain technologies to bring about significant advancements across industries.

Prior to this IHC  purchased 10 percent of Pheonix Group which holds investments in Bitcoin mining, as well as investments in the recently launched M2 regulated crypto exchange out of Abu Dhabi. This positions IHC not only in the realm of digital assets but now more so in Blockchain, AI, and other technologies.

IOTA, distributed ledger built for the “Internet of Everything” , has announced that it is establishing a foundation and another headquarter in Abu Dhabi UAE, as part of their commitment to developing a digital infrastructure and innovation ecosystem in the UAE.  IOTA’s Tangle is an open, feeless and scalable distributed ledger, designed to support frictionless data and value transfer.

The IOTA foundation will  grow IOTA’s reach and importance around the globe. As per IOTA news release, the purpose of this entity is to become one of the primary organizations to foster the growth, adoption, and global expansion of IOTA.

IOTA states, “As we open up a new chapter with IOTA, we need to match technology with the right support to establish IOTA as a global ecosystem. We can only do this by operating out of the right environment. We are convinced that the UAE will offer IOTA the best environment to realize its global ambitions.”

IOTA considers the new entity in Abu Dhabi as an additional headquarter, to further decentralize the governance of IOTA.

The news adds that IOTA is to become one of the leading DLT ( distributed ledger technology) entities in the UAE. The news adds, “ Being established under the new regulatory framework, we intend to work closely with regulators, business leaders, and government entities to further advance the UAE’s global role as a leader in technology and business. This distinction highlights our dedication to embracing robust oversight and well-defined procedures to support and enhance the crypto community within the UAE and worldwide.”

According to Dominik Schiener, Chairman of the IOTA Foundation: ”From the very beginning, we have experienced a very warm welcome and unwavering support from leaders, regulators, and businesses in Abu Dhabi. I am simply amazed at how the country operates and how it is being led by visionary and open-minded leaders. This “can-do” mentality is the perfect environment for us to take IOTA to the next level. We are excited to play a role in helping to establish the UAE as a hub for technology innovations.”

One of its primary objectives of the UAE based IOTA entity will be to provide essential funding and support to the rapidly growing IOTA ecosystem. This commitment aligns with our mission to foster innovation and development within the broader DLT space.

The move doesnt come as a surprise as in May 2023, IOTA executives and UAE governmental leaders had fruitful discussions on IOTA’s role in the UAE digital strategy. 

The Central Bank of the UAE, and the Bank of international settleents along with Emirates Institute of Finance, have called innovators and developers to submit blockchain solutions for auditing, enhancing transparency, traceability and accountability in sustainable finance. The call comes unser the COP29 UAE TechSprint, an initiative aimed at promoting innovation in scaling sustainable finance and combating climate change. The launch of the COP28 UAE TechSprint comes ahead of the UAE’s hosting of COP28 later this year.

The initiative aims to encourage the participation of financial innovators and developers from global private and public sector entities in fast-tracking innovative technology solutions to address challenges in green and sustainable finance through technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Internet-of-Things (IoT), and sensor technologies across three problem statements:

AI solutions for sustainable finance reporting, verification, and disclosure in the financial services industry.

Blockchain solutions for auditing and enhancing transparency, traceability, and accountability in sustainable finance.

IoT and sensor technology solutions for sustainable finance to ensure informed assessments of impact or risk. 

His Excellency Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of CBUAE and Chairman of EIF, said: “In line with the vision of the UAE’s leadership, and its endeavors to address the challenges of climate change; we value the partnership with COP28 UAE and the BIS in launching this international initiative aimed at encouraging innovators across the globe to leverage financial technology in developing new green and sustainable finance solutions.”

Agustín Carstens, General Manager of the BIS, said: “Combating climate change is more urgent than ever. It calls for a profound change in the way economies operate and grow. To finance the needed transformation, investors need certainty that their funds are channeled to their intended uses. Technologies that promote the timely measurement and disclosure of climate-related information are part of the solution. The BIS Innovation Hub has explored how to apply technologies such as AI, blockchain and internet-of-things to green finance instruments and climate-related disclosure. This TechSprint in collaboration with the COP28 UAE, the CBUAE and EIF will complement these efforts to address remaining gaps in the green finance market.”

The COP28 UAE TechSprint is open to technology and financial innovators and developers from around the world. To participate, please register at link and submit technology proposals to one or more problem statements by [Friday, 6 October 2023].

Shortlisted participants for each problem statement will be invited to further develop their solutions and will be eligible for a stipend of AED 45,000 (approximately USD 12,000)].

A winner for each problem statement will be selected by an independent panel of experts. The winners will be announced at COP28 UAE in December 2023, with each winner eligible for an award of [AED 220,000 (approximately USD 60,000)].

The Dubai AI and Web 3.0 Campus, situated in Dubai International Financia Centre, announced that it will be issuing artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3 licenses supporting activities ranging from Distributed Ledger Technology Services (DLT), specialised Artificial Intelligence Research & consultancies, IT infrastructure builders, Technology Research and Development and Public Networking Services.

Licenses will be issued by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, which is currently home to an established ecosystem of tech enablers and start-ups at the DIFC Innovation Hub.

The Dubai AI and Web 3.0 Campus is a dedicated campus for AI and Web3 innovation and will provide state-of-the-art physical and digital infrastructure within the DIFC Innovation One new premises, including R&D facilities, accelerator programmes and collaborative workspaces, to attract, build and scale firms in the region. 

The campus was launched earlier this year and is supported by Dubai’s industry-leading regulatory regime aligned with the emirate’s vision of becoming a global leader in AI and Web3. This initiative is designed to bring in $300 million in funds and create more than 3,000 jobs in the next five years.

The campus will also increase accessibility and participation in Web3 development, backed by a collection of underlying technologies such as blockchain, AI, internet of things and the metaverse. Virtual assets owned in Web3 decentralised infrastructures represented about 40 per cent of the virtual-asset global economy in 2021, according to a report by BCG, and the transaction value of virtual assets is said to range between USD150 billion and USD300 billion by 2025. 

Mohammad Alblooshi, Chief Executive Officer of the DIFC Innovation Hub, said: “We are thrilled to announce that we are now granting innovative AI and Web3 companies licenses out of DIFC. The campus will foster a world-class nurturing environment that enables business growth and development. We are confident that by granting these licenses, we will attract more global talent and investment to the region and create a culture of collaboration and innovation. This is a notable milestone for the Dubai AI and Web3 Campus and will strengthen Dubai’s position as the business destination of choice for technology-focused companies and attract more world class talent and diversified investors to the region.”

Oman’s Green Data City, the first data center in Oman to obtain a crypto mining license will have full blockchain capacity in 2023. The datacenter which is nestled in Salalah region of Oman, harnesses its coastal location to utilize renewable energy sources.

As per a report in Oxford Business group, the project is set to receive more than $3.2 billion as part of Vision 2040 and is expected to reach full blockchain capacity in 2023.

The MTCIT announced in December 2022 that it secured OR150m ($390m) in investment from a consortium of local and foreign financiers to develop a large-scale data center at Green Data City. The investment is earmarked for the processing and hosting data; and the adoption of distributed ledger technologies, blockchain and financial technology.

In an interview with Said Abdullah Al Mandhari ,CEO of Oman ICT Group, he noted that advanced technologies and blockchain, in particular, have enormous potential to enhance Oman’s long-term economic development, especially considering the current business environment.

He added, “Artificial intelligence (AI), big-data analytics, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) can boost efficiency and productivity in various sectors, such as finance, education, health care and logistics. It will be important for the energy sector in particular to adopt advanced technologies to increase productivity and align with long-term sustainability standards.”

For his part, Blockchain could be used to provide platforms that manage digital assets and conduct transactions while reducing fraud risks, increasing transparency and streamlining related operational processes. Blockchain would also be able to expand inclusion in the financial ecosystem, as it enables crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The report reiterates that the Oman regulator has announced the development of a regulatory framework for virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. This will help underpin the development of the digital asset and financial technology industry in the sultanate.

By regulating virtual assets, the Capital Market Authority aims to provide an alternative financing and investment platform for issuers and investors alike, while mitigating the risks associated with this asset class. The framework will cover activities such as crypto-assets, tokens, crypto-exchanges and initial coin offerings, among others.

Saudi Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University department of computer Science and Saudi Aramco Cybersecurity chair, published in MDPI a study for a solution for Smart Flood Detection to save lives using the integration of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Blockchain and drones.

According to the study, floods pose a serious risk and require immediate management and strategies for optimal response times. The Saudi city of Mecca has been impacted by climate change in the last decade as floods have increased despite the city’s location in the Arabian Gulf, which has a hot and wet climate. According to the General Authority for Statistics in Mecca, since 2010, the average peak rainfall has increased by 350%. Mecca experienced torrential rains on 23 December 2022, at least partly because of its location, surrounded by mountains, causing numerous vehicles to be swept away.

The authors propose a secure method of flood detection in Saudi Arabia using a Flood Detection Secure System (FDSS) based on deep active learning (DeepAL) based classification model in federated learning to minimize communication costs and maximize global learning accuracy.

As per their abstract, “We use blockchain-based federated learning and partially homomorphic encryption (PHE) for privacy protection and stochastic gradient descent (SGD) to share optimal solutions. Utilizing images and IoT data, FDSS can train local models that detect and monitor floods. The proposed FDSS enabled us to estimate the flooded areas and track the rapid changes in dam water levels to gauge the flood threat. This study concludes with a discussion of the proposed method and its challenges in managing floods in remote regions using artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.

The study introduces a drone application that uses blockchain to manage flooding in remote regions safely and in real-time. The framework can be helpful in missions based on both blockchain and IPFS. The proposed architecture of system nodes makes the process more secure by preventing information from being manipulated and enhancing the data analysis capability within the management system. In a blockchain network, the text data is recorded as part of the transaction information that is recorded during transactions. In addition, a visualization platform will allow access to transaction data, making it easier for operators to supervise their operations.

The study offers a scheme that improves the FL system performance by using DeepAL to select the optimal edge nodes and integrating the learned model parameters into a blockchain-based FL scheme to enhance the reliability and security of the FL system. This method is combined with modern cryptography techniques, such as homomorphic encryption, to achieve a high level of privacy and security capabilities.

In natural disasters, UAVs’ real-time data acquisition can prevent harm by controlling operations efficiently. They can be used to obtain aerial photographs and read water levels, wind speeds, and water speeds to predict weather events, prevent disasters, and aid rescues. These complex interactions can be achieved using AI, the computer-based system that executes tasks requiring intelligence.

With AI and machine learning, systems will be able to resist new, sophisticated attacks with shifting characteristics. Drones must be built with a collective machine-learning model integrating all data from IoT devices and webcams that can be sent to the MEC to create an algorithm with strong predictive capability.

The proposed framework assumes that UAVs collect data and MEC servers store it in the blockchain. This includes basic data, such as the device name, MAC address and type, and geographic data, such as latitude and longitude that help MEC servers acquire data. Before data is added to the blockchain, MEC servers verify UAV validity.

The study utilizes the Internet of Drones (IoD) which can help to save many lives during floods and other catastrophic weather events in places that are difficult for people to reach. IoT devices can be used to collect data on the location and status of people in the affected areas, such as their vital signs, to prioritize rescue efforts.

The data will be sent to a central server where deep-learning algorithms will be used to analyze the data and create a rescue plan. The plan will be sent to relevant organizations involved in the rescue efforts, allowing them to provide aid quickly and efficiently to those in need.

In conclusion the study believes that the system has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of rescue efforts in disaster situations. By utilizing AI, blockchain, and IoT technologies, the system can quickly analyze large amounts of data and provide a comprehensive rescue plan, ultimately saving more lives.

Saudi Arabian unified national platform for government services recently carried out an interesting survey on twitter. It posted a general consultation request by the Ministry of telecom, Space and IT with regards to which emerging technology would citizens of Saudi Arabia like to see implemented in KSA.

People were asked to choose between IoT (internet of things), Blockchain, 3D printing and VR/AR/XR. 7895 votes were casted with 49 percent of them choosing IoT, with 10 percent choosing blockchain, 16 percent choosing 3D printing and 24 percent choosing VR/AR/XR.

This is interesting and shows that Internet of things and AR are the most popular emerging technologies among those who voted. In addition it seems that the Saudi government is interested in these four technologies.

This comes at a time when the Saudi Central Bank is moving forward to CBDCs, digital assets, and more. In addition recently many blockchain use cases have been launched in KSA.

But more eye opening is the recent news about UAE government and IOT Blockchain platform IoTa. Could this mean IOT and Blockchain will be the next use cases both in UAE and KSA?

After a meeting between UAE’s UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani AlZeyoudi and the Founder of Iota, Dominik Schiener, the IoTa Blockchain platform has now been ushered into the UAE’s digital ecosystem. In a tweet on May 25th 2023, Minister Al Zeyoudi states, “Great to meet Dominic Schiener, Co-Founder and Chairman of IOTA and explore ways to introduce their open source blockchain solution to the UAE’s digital ecosystem. With its ability to power a wide range of sectors, it could play a vital role in our advanced technology ambitions.”

This was followed by a tweet by Schiener who replied, “Thank you so much for meeting us Your Excellency Dr. Thani. It’s really inspiring for us to speak with such welcoming and sophisticated leaders like you in the UAE. We are committed to play a key role in the UAE’s continued digital transformation and economic growth.”

IOTA is an open-source distributed ledger and cryptocurrency designed for the Internet of things (IoT). It uses a directed acyclic graph to store transactions on its ledger, motivated by a potentially higher scalability over blockchain based distributed ledgers

On May 18th 2023 in another tweet, Blockchain IOTA Founder Dominik Schiener stated, “It was a pleasure to meet H.E. Abdulla Al Saleh and the team at the Ministry of Economy in UAE today. It’s impressive how they’re leading their digital transformation.”

He added, “We are looking forward to bring IOTA here and create value for the region and the world.”

In the comments it was noted, “Fingers crossed for an ongoing collaboration that propels IOTA to new heights!”

It seems the collaboration is now in full force, welcome Iota to the UAE.