A Vision for the Future

An innovation in building design has been launched in Dubai by Omniyat Properties — the real estate development arm of Almasa Holdings. The local company is currently constructing the first of a number of residential and commercial developments, which it is marketing as the most technologically advanced properties in the Gulf region.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  March 2, 2006

An innovation in building design has been launched in Dubai by Omniyat Properties — the real estate development arm of Almasa Holdings. The local company is currently constructing the first of a number of residential and commercial developments, which it is marketing as the most technologically advanced properties in the Gulf region. Omniyat plan to build on Almasa Holding’s expertise in this field to create ‘intelligent buildings’ where technology plays an important role in improving people’s lifestyles. Whilst many of the company’s ‘hi-tech’ ideas appear somewhat bizarre, including robotic pets that greet owners at the door, and machines that take care of ironing shirts, investors in Dubai have been quick to embrace the company’s futuristic proposals. In fact, Omniyat’s first two developments — high rise office towers One Business Bay, and Bayswater are already both over 90% sold out. “As soon as we launched our company in December and announced our vision, we were inundated with inquiries from investors who wanted to buy into the Omniyat vision before it was put on the market,” says Tim Wilson, senior vice president. One Business Bay, has been designed by German architects Kling Consult, as a tribute to Almasa Holding, “Almasa means diamond in Arabic and we designed the building in the shape of a diamond sticking out of the ground” says Ehab S. Shouly, MD of Omniyat Properties. The apex of the tower is an impressive engineering feat with three floors cut away from the building’s mass creating a void at the top of the property. Similarly impressive, Bayswater is a 25-storey scissor shaped office tower designed by Dubai based architects Dubarch. The design consists of two slim towers side by side forming the shape of a letter X. “We try to come up with unique designs all the time. Good location and good design is a winning formula,” says Mehdi Amjad, CEO Omniyat Properties. Scheduled for completion in 2008, Omniyat has plans to incorporate many hi-tech features into the towers. Car park scanners will match license plates with drivers to ensure against theft. Face recognition software will also be integrated throughout the buildings eliminating the need for access cards and security passes. Intelligent elevator systems will be installed to instantly recognise which floor employees wish to go to, directing them in groups to the appropriate lift and saving on time that is normally spent queuing for lifts in the vast offices along the Sheikh Zayed Rd. Visitors will be able to enter the building via a scanned barcode sent by sms to mobile phones from computers. Cost and energy saving features have also been developed, for example — after 6pm, motion sensors will detect which areas are in use and keep only those illuminated while dimming other areas. Offices will be voice activated — anything from ordering drinks to dictating emails and robots will clean up at the end of the day. Making life easier at work and in the home is the inspiration. “Our slogan is ‘Live the Future’ and we want to give people in Dubai, and the region, the chance to live the future today and benefit from technologies which are available out there,” explains Ehab S Shouly.

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