UAE: Here are the most innovative projects of 2023

Winners of UAE Innovates Awards receive prizes during a ceremony at Dubai’s Museum of the Future

By Angel Tesorero

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UAE Innovates Awards ceremony at the Museum of the Future in Dubai. — Supplied photo
UAE Innovates Awards ceremony at the Museum of the Future in Dubai. — Supplied photo

Published: Tue 28 Feb 2023, 8:17 PM

An innovation that helps police identify suspects through biometrics; a smart app for vehicle ownership transfer; and enhanced electronic document authentication system are some of the projects that won the UAE Innovates 2023 Awards.

UAE Innovates is the largest national event of its kind, with the aim of consolidating the culture of innovation, enhancing community participation, celebrating local innovators and applying their innovations in a way that improves quality of life.

The awarding ceremony was held on Tuesday at Dubai’s Museum of the Future. There were seven main categories and the winning innovations were selected from more than 400 projects, events and activities across the UAE, including competitions, presentations, hackathons, conferences and workshops.

UAE Innovates 2023 was overseen by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation (MBRCGI) and supported by federal and local government entities, the private sector and academic institutions.

There were seven categories, including Most Innovative Automated Government Procedure, Most Innovative Digital Transformation, Most Innovative Use of Resources, Most Innovative Government Process, Most Innovative Community Services, Most Innovative Disruptive Project, and Most Innovative Project in Sustainability.

Automating government procedures

The Ministry of Interior won the Most Innovative Disruptive Project category for Smart Identification, an innovation that helps police identify suspects through biometrics.

The project helped to boost efficiency and reduce costs by almost Dh3 billion in 2021. The system’s accuracy rate is more than 90 per cent, while its positive identification rate is more than 97 per cent. The solution helped to reduce the time to positively identify criminals from a pool of suspects by 90 per cent.

The Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi (SCAD) also won an award in the same category for its smart platform that supports decision-making through transforming data into strategic assets.

The Most Innovative Automated Government Procedure category was won by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for further enhancing its electronic document authentication system. The innovation utilises artificial intelligence and character recognition technology to identify the details of documents to provide automatic authentication. This enables the customer to receive an electronically certified document within minutes. The platform can verify more than 100,000 documents in under six minutes.

In the same category, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) was cited for its smart app for vehicle ownership transfer, enabling buyers and sellers to transfer ownership without the need to visit any RTA centre. This innovation resulted in customers saving 90 per cent on transaction costs. The solution resulted in savings of 48 papers per year per transaction.

Digital transformation

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and Digital Government Regulatory Authority won the Most Innovative Digital Transformation category for creating a digital verification platform that helps facilitate the process of authenticating and documenting digital documents. More than 3 million digital documents have been issued and more than 70,000 documents verified on the platform.

The Ministry of Finance won the Most Innovative Government Process category with its digital procurement platform, which facilitates procurement through a unified digital system that connects federal entities with approved suppliers digitally. As a result, the purchase process has been reduced from 60 days to only six minutes (for catalogue purchases).

Dubai Police also won the Most Innovative Government Process award for creating a service to support people who have lost their passports. It uses blockchain to link several government entities, such as the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai, Dubai Courts, and Public Prosecution in Dubai. Users can apply for a lost passport certificate through the Dubai Police application, making the process quicker and easier.

Dubai Courts won the Most Innovative Community Services award for creating a digital version of the Wadeema child protection law, presenting it in a simple, visual way so it can be easily understood by children.

Green projects

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi won the Most Innovative Project in Sustainability category for its three innovations: The Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Preservation and Rehabilitation Programme, the Green Business Network, and the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative, which involves dropping mangrove seeds from the air by drones with the aim of planting one million mangrove seeds.

This initiative contributed to an increase in the fish stock index from 8.9 per cent in 2018 to 62.3 per cent in late 2021, with the cultivation of more than one million coral reef colonies, the protection of 5,000 sea turtles and 700 dolphins in the waters of Abu Dhabi, in addition to the cultivation of more than 15 million mangrove trees, which store 8,750 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Environment-friendly buildings

Dubai Airports won the Most Innovative Use of Resources category for improving the quality of buildings and providing them with environmentally friendly lighting, helping to save energy on a large scale. Dubai Airports made energy cost savings of Dh52 million and cut CO2 emissions by more than 47,000 tons.

Celebrating innovation and innovators

The awards ceremony was attended by Huda Al Hashimi, deputy minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs, as well as officials representing the winning entities, representatives of the executive councils of the UAE, in addition to partners of UAE Innovation Month.

Al Hashimi said: "UAE Innovates represents the largest annual event of its kind to celebrate innovation and innovators, which embodies the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to embed a culture of innovation within government to enhance future readiness. It reflects the government’s approach to adopting innovation as a foundation for development.

“The activities of UAE Innovates 2023 received excellent engagement and wide participation from various government entities and members of society. It contributed significantly to spreading the culture of innovation and stimulating creativity to help develop and innovate effective solutions to future challenges that benefit society,” she added.

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