Dubai – MENA Herald: The growth opportunities emerging on the back of Dubai’s digital and technological development drive were highlighted by Dalya Al Muthanna, President and CEO of GE Gulf, in a wide-ranging interview she gave recently to a team from the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Muthanna told OBG that Dubai’s efforts to build its digital capabilities ahead of Expo 2020 and with the world on the brink of what is being dubbed the industrial internet era had given the emirate an edge.

“Data optimisation, data sharing and analysis are becoming the new ways of doing business in so many different environments,” she said. “This is especially relevant, given Dubai’s progression in positioning itself as a Smart City by 2017. While the trend is evident across the Gulf States, Dubai undoubtedly sits at the forefront.”

Dubai sharpened its focus toward this end in 2015, having declared it the Year of Innovation. The emirate rolled out a raft of innovation-oriented projects, while introducing new legislation to support its move towards a knowledge-led economy and smart initiatives. From its side, GE is keen to make technology a driver of growth regionally by using it to boost productivity.

Muthanna described the industrial internet, which seeks to integrate physical devices and machinery with networked sensors and software, as “the tool of tomorrow”, with the ability to “bridge the physical and analytical worlds”. Improved digital capabilities, which included faster speeds and lower costs, would put businesses on the path to better outcomes and higher productivity, she noted.

The UAE-born business leader, who ranked 13th on Forbes Middle East’s 2015 list of most powerful Arab Women, said Dubai’s multi-pronged strategy for developing its economy would yield opportunities across the board for the ICT sector, particularly its plans to improve efficiency and sustainability.

Al Muthanna was talking to OBG’s team in the emirate as part of the Group’s research for The Report: Dubai 2016, the firm’s forthcoming report on the emirate. The publication will contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors. There will also be contributions from leading personalities, including the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the President of the Department of Civil Aviation, CEO and Chairman of The Emirates Group and Chairman of Dubai World Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. International representatives featured include the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Report: Dubai 2016 will be a vital guide to the many facets of the emirate, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication will be available in print or online.