HCT 3rd InnCuVation Forum Explores Digital Trends & UAE’s Transformation to a Global Innovation Hub
The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) hosted its 3rd InnCuVation Forum 2023 with a series of captivating panel discussions exploring a wide range of hot-button digital technology issues currently affecting society, the workplace and education.
The two-day 2023 InnCuVation Forum, held under the theme of Reach. Connect. Launch, is a unique opportunity for innovators and game changers, academia and industry & government representatives to collaborate on and explore current issues, trends, world-class research and innovative startups through a series of panel discussions and presentations in the highly relevant fields of Technology Changes to Construction, the Development of Smart Cities and the Future of Mobility.
The panels considered how the three fields impacted the issue of Building Stronger Ties – Connecting Applied Research & Industry for a Better Future. The Forum’s three Panel discussions on day one saw a collection of industry and academic leaders in their respective disciplines, such as business, finance, government, transport, engineering and sustainability.
Day 2 of the Forum is comprised of a Startup Pitching Day, where eight nascent startups, developed by HCT students, will compete to gain incubation from HCT’s Startup Development Program, eventually leading to commercialization.
Dr. Faisal Alayyan, HCT President & CEO, described the Forum as a “unique opportunity” for innovators and game changers, academia and industry & government representatives to collaborate on and explore current issues, trends, world-class research and innovative startups.
“This focus is extremely vital for not only the success of HCT, its students and graduates, but also of our nation. It showcases HCT’s proactive and future-focused strategies and initiatives that are linked together with the pioneering and enlightened UAE’s National Innovation Strategy, the UAE Centennial 2071 and the UAE Employment Strategy,” Dr. Alayyan said.
HCT’s President & CEO remarked that the Forum was intrinsically aligned to the objectives of the month-long, nation-wide UAE Innovates 2023 initiative, applauding the UAE Government’s deliberate focus on entrepreneurship and innovation.
He explained the Government’s strategy to diversify the economy so it is not wholly reliant on one source. “To move to the Smart Government, with the innovations we would not be able to move to that. To move into manufacturing,” he said.
“The UAE has the decree that in 2071 that if the energy is gone, we will celebrate that, by having more diversity into the economy, which means we will not only rely on oil and gas,” he added.
Dr. Alayyan described the UAE’s move to ensure the economy is not wholly dependent on one source as a “very aggressive plan for all of us”. “The UAE would like to guarantee a quality of life for to the people here by having a strong economy,” he said.
Keynote speaker, Mr. Ranjit Rajan, Vice President and Head of Research for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region at International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading global technology research and advisory firm, gave a wide-ranging presentation about mega technology trends, globally and in the UAE, and what proactive steps the UAE is undertaking with Smart Cities.
His insights included a discussion on the exponential growth of immersive reality tools, including AI and Machine Learning-based tools.
“We are going through unprecedented period of digitalization of the global economy. The development of digital technology is growing at 8 times the growth of GDP at a worldwide level. Digital transformation is sweeping economies around the world,” he said.
He said the UAE is currently in a transition phase of its economic focus, “transitioning from a regional tech gateway for the last 15-20 years, to a global economy platform and innovation hub”. “The UAE is striving to reimagine its role and become a global hub for transformation and innovation,” he added.
Mr. Rajan shared there are several key initiatives driving this, short and long-term strategies, including the D33 Strategy for Dubai, becoming a Data, Cloud and Emerging Tech’ hub, the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, the national AI Strategy 2031, developing a footprint as an international talent hub, as well as hosting COP-28, “which will play a significant role in placing the UAE on the map of sustainability worldwide,” he said.
“Now we are at the stage where we have platforms and communities, which leverage mobility and cloud in order to drive innovation, a golden period of multiplied innovation,” he added.
Dr. Faisal Alayyan, HCT President & CEO, reiterated the significance of HCT’s innovation-driven initiatives, such as the Forum. “Major events, such as this Forum, reiterate that Innovation, Education and Entrepreneurship are tied together and at HCT, elements that are interwoven into our DNA, our culture. It is part of our dedicated approach to providing industry-driven, technology-oriented and practical education – education that ultimately facilitates our graduates finding meaningful jobs where they can contribute to the UAE’s continued and sustained growth. That is our ultimate goal,” he added.
“By encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset in our students, we are aiming to develop graduate entrepreneurs. This will eventually result in creating more start-ups and more, diverse jobs, as sought in the UAE Vision 2021. We are also instilling in our students the self-belief and confidence to keep going forward with their innovations, so that they ultimately succeed and become their own business owners.”
Dr. Alayyan urged the students to apply themselves to their education for the future. “If you would like to have a luxury life in the future for you and your kids, for another generation, you need to work very hard. We need to accelerate the process. We need to make sure that the next generation is more educated than us,” he said.
While the focus of the three panel discussions was on trends and developments in their respective concentrations of Technology Changes to Construction, the Development of Smart Cities and the Future of Mobility, all panelists agreed the UAE is making significant achievements and developments with ventures based on innovative digital technologies, resulting in positive transformations for society. The panelists also implored the current generation of university students to strive for relevant industry-based skills and knowledge, while having the courage to be the change they want to be.
For more information about the InnCuVation Forum visit: https://hct.ac.ae/en/events/3rd-hct-inncuvation-forum-2023/