Dubai – MENA Herald: His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) today announced, that Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority is currently implementing investment projects with a cost of AED1.423 billion. The hi-tech free zone has also attracted foreign investments worth AED1.865 billion; thus making the total investments in Dubai Silicon Oasis AED3.288 Billion

Commenting on DSO’s investments, HH Sheikh Ahmed, said: “The investment projects that DSO is currently working on include the AED1.2 billion smart city project “Silicon Park”, as well as Technohub, the AED97 million office building dedicated for technology entrepreneurs, the AED56 million dorms building for the Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai, the fifth phase of the light industrial units costing AED42 million, and the AED28 million roads improvement project.”

The AED1.865 billion foreign investment capital include the AED1 billion Fakeeh Academic Medical Centre; the AED500 million shopping centre; the AED200 million Axiom building; the AED110 million manufacturing facility for Chang Zhou Almaden, one of the world’s largest producers of photovoltaic anti-reflective coated glass; and the AED55 million regional headquarters for SIG Combibloc Obeikan, a leading system supplier of aseptic carton packaging and filling lines.

On another note, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed revealed DSOA’s positive results that were recorded across all areas of operations in the first half of 2015; registering AED245.4 million in revenue by mid-2015, representing a 16 percent increase compared with the same period last year. DSOA also earned AED93.8 million in net profit while achieving a 14.6 percent growth in recurring revenues compared to H1 2014.

DSO’s outstanding record in attracting foreign investment is testament to the exceptional services and state-of-the-art facilities it offers to hi-tech companies, investors and entrepreneurs. The increase in the number of companies operating out of DSO – from 1,064 in 2014 to 1,187 in the first half of 2015 marking an increase of 12 percent – is further evidence of the park’s success.

Nearly 71 percent of the companies operating at DSO specialize in IT, while the remaining 29 percent operate across a range of sectors including commerce and services. The current breakdown of organizations by country represented at DSO is as follows: 37 percent of the companies are from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; 30 percent are European; 21 percent are Asian; 11 percent are from the Americas; and just under one percent are from Australia and New Zealand.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed added: “DSO has developed its 2021 growth that lays out a blueprint for expansion that will help shape DSO’s future trajectory. The strategy is in line with the emirate’s vision of becoming a smart and innovative city that encourages innovation and creativity, and supports young technological talent to convert their ideas into successful tech-businesses.”

For his part, Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Vice Chairman and CEO of DSOA, highlighted the success stories achieved during the first half of 2015 through the support of start-ups at the park, as well as the prominent agreements signed with local and international companies.

Silicon Park

In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world, DSOA launched Silicon Park, the first integrated smart city project to be built in DSO at a cost of AED1.2 billion and spanning an area of 150,000 square metres. The project, scheduled for completion by Q2 2018, will integrate best international standards to offer a modern lifestyle for residents, workers and visitors.

Additionally, technical trends that reflect the progress of the emirate of Dubai in becoming a smart city include the provision of free round-the-clock Wi-Fi access over the entire expanse of DSO, which extends over an area of 7.2 kilometres. This will mark a significant achievement and, more importantly, provide a facility that will help connect all smart solutions and smart devices across the park.

Fakeeh Academic Medical Centre

In line with Dubai’s plan to attract as many as 500,000 medical tourists a year, a target which if successfully attained should boost the emirate’s economy by up to AED2.6 billion over the next five years, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DSOA, unveiled the commemorative plaque of the Fakeeh Academic Medical Centre (FAMC). The Centre is a state-of-the-art smart hospital and medical university project being developed by Saudi Arabia’s premier healthcare provider, Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital (DSFH).

Estimated to cost of AED1 billion and planned to cover 150,000 square meters of space at the integrated free zone park, the Fakeeh Academic Medical Centre will be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 of the project is set for completion in 2017 and will include the delivery of a 150-bed state-of-the-art smart hospital. Phase 2 of the project, which will be completed in 2019, will increase the capacity of the hospital by an additional 150 beds. This second phase will also incorporate an academic component within the project through the opening of the research-focused medical university. The hospital will also include five centres of excellence specializing in diabetes and endocrinology, muscles, bones and joints, emergency medicine, pulmonary medicine and cardiology.

Photovoltaic Panels Manufacturing Facility

DSOA has signed an agreement with Chang Zhou Almaden Ltd., one of the world’s largest producers of photovoltaic anti-reflective coated glass, to host its new manufacturing and training facility at the integrated free zone technology park.

The 15,000 square meter factory will be set up at a total capital cost of AED110 million, marking Almaden’s foray into the Middle East and North Africa region. The plant has been designed to produce up to 400,000 PV panels every year. The facility will also host a state-of-the-art training centre that will seek to raise awareness about green energy and sustainable solutions for the MENA region.

Axiom Telecom

In 2016, DSO will host Axiom telecom’s new AED200 million hi-tech headquarters. Currently under construction, the building equipped with the latest technology will offer an innovative campus-style facility that serves as a base for all major company operations.

Located over an area of 420,000 square feet, the new Axiom telecom facility – designed by the acclaimed Italian architects Marco Mangili Associati – will recreate the creative ambience of leading tech companies such as Google and Facebook.

Inspired by the concept of a ‘town within a town’, the new headquarters will be equipped with office desks, storage rooms, recreational facilities, multi-function rooms, a fitness suite with a pool, restaurants and a games room. To further enhance employee comfort, the building will feature extensive green spaces, walkways and natural light.

Additionally, the new Axiom telecom headquarters will aim to attain silver Leadership in the Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating. In keeping with this objective, eco-friendly materials and sustainable finishes, as well as a multitude of energy conservation measures will be integrated into the overall construction process.

Shopping Centre

An agreement with one of the largest retail groups in the UAE demonstrates DSO’s continuous efforts to consolidate its position as a fully integrated technology park providing an ideal environment to live and work. The agreement stipulates the building of a one million square feet shopping centre at a cost of AED500 million. The project is anticipated be delivered in 2018.

SIG Combibloc Obeikan

SIG Combibloc Obeikan, a leading system supplier of aseptic carton packaging and filling lines, has opened its new regional headquarters at DSO. SIG hosted an official grand opening in February 2015 at its office premises to welcome key F&B manufacturers, industry partners and local authorities.

Building on the seamless partnership between SIG Combibloc Obeikan and DSO, the new headquarters was built in record time of 10 months at a total cost of AED55 million. Covering a space of 4,700 square feet, the regional headquarters includes three dedicated office stories for regional support functions, a state-of-the-art training centre, an advanced Knowledge Academy with five well-equipped classrooms, and seven multi-functional visitor and staff meeting rooms with audio-visual facilities. The new building can accommodate up to 180 staff and is designed to meet the company’s regional future growth needs.

Yaming International

Aiming to provide advanced technology in support of innovation and sustainability, Shanghai Yaming Lighting Co, a trusted China-based brand and pioneer in lighting technology development, officially opened its regional headquarters at DSO.

The creation of a new regional headquarters marks the start of the organization’s expansion plans in the region. Focusing on innovation and sustainability through developing renewable technology and globally-approved, customized solutions that complement the region’s existing infrastructure, Yaming’s regional headquarters aim to drive the company’s operations across the Middle East, North Africa, and the former CIS countries.

Smart Cities

In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into a smart city and reinforce its global status, DSOA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai Civil Defence for Prevention and Protection, to exchange expertise and apply best practices in the field of smart cities.

Signed on the side-lines of Intersec Dubai 2015, the agreement provides for the installation of intelligent systems at DSO buildings and townhouses, as well as 24×7 alert systems, smart self-inspection systems and console applications for smart lighting. Additionally, smart lamp posts will be installed at DSO to allow members of the public to report emergencies with the click of a button.

The MoU further mandates DSOA and DCD to exchange updates on smart cities, allow mutual access to international applications, and collaboratively conceptualize innovative solutions. In order to realise these objectives, a joint committee will be established to ensure the implementation of the memorandum.

Charging Station for Electric Vehicles

DSO installed its first charging station for electric vehicles at an event held at its headquarters staged in collaboration with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

DSOA’s efforts articulate DEWA’s recent announcement of the inauguration of its first charging station at its headquarters as part of phase one plans to install 16 stations for public use that encourage people to purchase or rent zero emission electric cars.

Sub-Surface Irrigation System

DSOA announced the implementation of the region’s first water saving subsurface irrigation system, in line with its tri-pillar CSR strategy. The initiative, launched in collaboration with Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, aims to reduce the current irrigation water consumption levels and related operational costs at DSO by almost 40 percent.

ISO Energy and Environment Certifications

DSO achieved the ISO 50001:2011 certification for meeting required standards in establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving its energy management system and performance and the 14001 certificate for environmental management system.

Due to the energy management system currently in place, DSO has been able to save 800,000 kW in energy consumption during the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

DSOA’s latest achievement complements its earlier success in gaining the ISO 9001:2008 for quality management systems and ISO 27001:2005 for implementing global standards in Information Security Management Systems at the high-tech park.

The ISO certifications are another milestone for Dubai Silicon Oasis’s efforts to integrate innovative and sustainable solutions through shaping an environment in the free zone conducive to best practice. Such certifications also position DSO as a pioneer of energy/environment efficiency and sustainability comparable to its international counterparts.

Green Rooftops

Reflecting DSOs attention to environmental issues, the amount of green rooftops has increased by 30% compared to 2014, when the roof areas covered in greenery already amounted to a total of 1,700 square metres. Additionally, the park has begun implementing a new project in which more than 180 square metres of walls of the buildings have been landscaped and covered by greenery. With these new initiatives, the total green space within DSO amounts to 925,000 square metres, which constitutes 14 percent of the total area of the 7.2 square kilometres tech-park.

DSO has also installed a smart waste management system that works through the Internet of Things, which alerts the operations and services team when refuse bins are filled and need to be emptied. This smart technology serves to reduce the number of trips taken by garbage collection vehicles, thereby contributing to the reduction of operating costs by 50%, which will have positive effects in terms of reducing the tech-park’s overall environmental footprint.

Roads Improvement Project

DSOA launched its ‘Roads Improvement’ project in coordination with the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai (RTA) with the aim of expanding its existing roads infrastructure by approximately 2.7 kilometres.

Designed to reduce traffic congestion in and around the high-tech park, especially the area adjacent to Dubai Academic City Road, the project was executed at a total cost of AED28 million.

Expansion works included adding a filter for one of the exits from DSO heading onto Academic City Road, increasing the number of exits from DSO onto Academic City Road to three and allowing easier access to the main roads around the hi-tech park. Furthermore, a new lane is being added to the exit from Academic City Road onto the Dubai-Al Ain Road due to the bottleneck affecting traffic flow during peak hours; which is expected for completion by the end of 2015.

Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC)

The Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (DTEC), the largest centre of its kind in the region, has successfully attracted the interest of more than 185 start-up companies and 240 entrepreneurs from 50 countries in the six months since it was launched. The centre nurtures the talent of young entrepreneurs in the technology, digital Islamic economy and Arabic content sectors. Through the DTEC venture, DSO aims to provide a stimulating and interactive work environment that inspires creativity among start-up founders.

Nearly 40 percent of the companies operating out of DTEC are MENA based, while Asian organizations make up 32 percent, European businesses 20 percent, American and Canadian firms 5 percent and Australian and German establishments 3 percent each.

Dr Alzarooni reiterated DSOA’s commitment to fully supporting young local entrepreneurs and encouraging creativity among talented national businesspersons to help them achieve their goals and turn their ideas into reality.

The establishment of DTEC comes on the back of the success of the technology incubation centre, Silicon Oasis Founders (SOF), which was launched in April 2012 to support and encourage local entrepreneurs in the IT sector. SOF provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to establish their own businesses and offers them a comprehensive set of support services, such as consulting services, workspaces, and networking opportunities.

Dr Alzarooni stated that SOF has invested in 20 projects to date and has provided support to more than 300 entrepreneurs in planning their projects.

Digital Islamic Economy and Arabic Content

Reflecting its commitment to play a lead role in backing up emerging economies, DSO has teamed up with Thomson Reuters for the inaugural ‘Innovation 4 Impact’ Competition. The initiative encouraged the creation of well-rounded and enabling environments for incubating and developing technology ventures in the UAE and the wider region.

Supported by DIEDC, Innovation 4 Impact was designed as a global platform for participating entrepreneurs to present their businesses, products or services to an expert panel and audience comprising prominent entrepreneurs, trade visitors and opinion leaders.

The Innovation 4 Impact Competition, managed in collaboration with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, supported start-ups and businesses in the Islamic digital economy space, and serve as an incubator for SMEs across the world. The competition was open to any company or entrepreneur with a potentially ground-breaking idea or original business proposal. Applicants’ ideas were judged according to a range of criteria, including potential innovation, economic and social impacts, and scalability across markets and regions. The proposed concept should be categorized within one of the following sectors:

  1. E-commerce
  2. Mobile computing
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Big data
  5. Hyper-converged platforms
  6. New media and social media

Strategic Partnerships

As a strategic partner of Dubai’s Smart City Initiative, and under the guidance and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, DSOA is mandated to provide a physical site to host a laboratory within a functional workspace fitted out with standard office equipment, with the objective of developing a smart city centre of excellence and innovation. Furthermore, DSOA will be responsible for supporting the lab’s objectives through attracting the UAE’s best innovators and assisting them to further develop their talents through a range of workshops and training components.

DSOA has signed a MoU with Intel, one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers, to jointly establish an innovative lab facility in the Middle East intended to support the development of a smart city centre of excellence and innovation within DTEC, DSOA’s wholly owned technology incubation centre. The new lab facility is expected to be launched soon.

Training Programs to Support Innovation

In keeping with its commitment to support start-ups and entrepreneurs, DSOA signed a sponsorship agreement with SAP Training and Development Institute (SAP TDI) that appoints the firm as a non-exclusive sponsor of DTEC, the largest centre of its kind in the region.

As part of the agreement, DSOA will provide appropriate space within DTEC over a set period to host up to three SAP innovation boot-camps, including Start-Up Focus events, which will be open to the public. Additionally, DSOA will nominate one of the DTEC meetings rooms as the ‘SAP’ Room.

DSOA and Microsoft Gulf signed a MoU that will enable DSOA’s tech start-ups to benefit to the fullest extent from free software and services available through the Microsoft BizSpark Program.

Under the MoU, Microsoft will enrol DSOA’s wholly owned technology incubation centre, DTEC, as a Microsoft BizSpark Network partner to provide all tech start-ups and innovators under its network with free and express access to its software and services.

Transfer of Knowledge and Technology

Dr Mohammed Alzarooni signed a MoU with London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional company, to encourage the transfer of knowledge and technology between Dubai and the English capital, London.

The signing ceremony saw the announcement of new research that demonstrated London’s pre-eminent position as the most important tech hub in Europe. London currently attracts more international investment projects than Paris, Dublin, Madrid, Amsterdam and Munich combined.

DSO is also keen to provide an ideal environment for the support technological development and advancement serving various sectors of the Islamic economy. Towards this end, DSOA signed a MoU with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to enhance cooperation in the fostering entrepreneurship, technology and digital Islamic economy initiatives through a strategic agreement between the Chamber’s Tejar Dubai initiative and DTEC.

As part of the agreement, DSOA will provide exclusive and preferential rights within DTEC to national initiatives and projects affiliated to Tejar Dubai. In their collective efforts to encourage the launch of national enterprises and provide support for national entrepreneurs, the two entities will share their respective event calendars and promote mutual participation at events pertaining to entrepreneurship, technology, digital Islamic economy and Arabic content initiatives.

A wholly-owned entity of the government of Dubai, DSO operates as a free zone technology park for large enterprises, medium and small companies looking to set up their offices in Dubai.