Five of the 30 Teams Taking Part in the Inaugural Program of the Dubai Future Accelerators

Paul Smith, Head of Program, Dubai Future Accelerators:
•    Dubai is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of strategic economic sectors all over the world. The emirate is not simply adopting the latest advancements; it is actively creating them.

Maha Al Mezaina, Project Manager, Dubai Future Foundation:
•    The program aims to tap into any and all sectors that affect people’s lives now – as well as any novel sectors that may affect them in the future – and play an active role in identifying the challenges and opportunities that may arise.

The Dubai Future Accelerators program carries on with its first round, having succeeded in attracting 2,274 applications from 73 countries in less than a month – out of which, the 30 most innovative entries were shortlisted.

The number of applications that the Dubai Future Accelerators program has attracted in record time makes it one of the fastest-growing business acceleration programs in the world. This cements Dubai’s global status and role as a major player in the development of next-generation technologies and business models.

Paul Smith, Head of Program at Dubai Future Accelerators, said: “The global reach that the Dubai Future Accelerators program has achieved serves not only to place Dubai firmly on the global innovation and technology map, bringing the world’s top innovators to the emirate, but also enables Dubai to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of strategic economic sectors all over the world. The emirate is not simply adopting the latest advancements; it is actively creating them.”

One example of the successful entries is Comae Technology, a UAE-based Cyber Security start up specialized on memory forensics for both digital forensics and incident response to cyber incidents purposes. According to US tech giant and cybersecurity specialists Symantec, the number of zero-day vulnerabilities (a hole in software that is unknown to the vendor) discovered in 2015 more than doubled to 54 – a 125 percent increase from 2014. This makes start-ups such as Comae not only relevant but necessary for cities and governments in the 21st century.

Meanwhile, Mistbox, another finalist, presents a connected device that promises to render AC units up to 30 percent more efficient, all the while tracking savings through a mobile app. Relying on evaporative cooling, Mistbox offers a new way to not only save money, but also substantially reduce carbon emissions – the company claims, in fact, that, if implemented on a global scale, the net effect would be equivalent to taking 1.4 billion cars off the road.

Carrying on with the spirit of reinventing economic sectors, Loyyal aims to reinvent how loyalty is created and rewarded. Using blockchain and smart contract technology, Loyyal has built an interoperable loyalty and rewards platform to address a highly fragmented industry. It offers multiple industries an innovative way to incentivize customer behavior.

With a more regionally focused approach, finalist Pixelbug is working through DFA to create a more engaging way for children to learn Arabic. The Dubai-based award-winning augmented and virtual reality company was recently named one of the UAE's most promising start-ups by Forbes Middle East. Its products are used by leading multinationals such as P&G, Nestlé, Lego, and Sony.

Another notable entry in round one of the program is Vinaya, which specializes in designing wearable devices – among other technologies – that aim to improve people’s mindfulness in a fast-paced modern lifestyle. Their products include ALTRUIS, a range of designer Bluetooth-enabled rings, bracelets, and necklaces, that use cutting-edge technology to enhance mindfulness and digital balance; and Zenta, which is the first biometric smart band that uses sensory technology and learning algorithms to collect data, build a profile of the wearer, and give personalized insights in 5 key areas: Physical Activity, Sleep, Positive Habits, Happiness, and Stress. Mindfulness is fast becoming an area of interest in many economic sectors: a 2010 study published in Consciousness and Cognition Journal, showed that brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.

Maha Al Mezaina, Project Manager at Dubai Future Foundation, said: “As evidenced by the projects presented by the finalists in Dubai Future Accelerators, the program aims to tap into any and all sectors that affect people’s lives now – as well as any novel sectors that may affect them in the future – and play an active role in facing the challenges that may arise and flag the opportunities ripe to capitalize on.”

The full list of finalists chosen to take part in the first round of the program includes a selection of the most innovative companies in the world that are currently developing and testing creative ideas and advanced technologies with a future outlook, which offer solutions to the challenges facing key sectors including health, education, energy and water, transport, infrastructure, security and safety, and technology.

For 12 weeks, these 30 companies will work with the eight government authorities participating in Dubai Future Accelerators to develop and test products and solutions for the challenges that face key economic and strategic sectors in the cities of the 21st century in the UAE, and that can also be applied to countries in the region and around the world.

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