Innovation hubs: The digital generation’s new playground

Collaborative environments that focus on innovation are key to driving digitisation, writes Hussain Al Mahmoudi of Sharjah RTI Park

Tags: American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE) (www.ause.ae)EntrepreneurUnited Arab Emirates
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Innovation hubs: The digital generation’s new playground Innovation hubs such as Sharjah RTI Park can link academia and new technology with business and industry-focused R&D efforts, says Al Mahmoudi.
By  Hussain Al Mahmoudi Published  August 19, 2018

The profound changes in the way we live are already being altered each day digital technology expands into the mainstream. The fundamental movements in our daily lives are increasingly being integrated into the ubiquitous connectivity to almost everything. Digitization is both here and now, a life-altering digital revolution led by technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Smart Apps, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), that are rapidly piquing the curiosity of the young generation.

Digitization, dubbed also as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is currently sweeping the world's leading economies. AI, for instance, which simulates human intelligence to fulfil key tasks, including automated responses, are rapidly being adopted by many businesses to provide services. In 2018 alone, technology experts predict that AI is already becoming part of every tech-savvy person's life. There are virtual assistants, voice-based assistants and speech recognition, personalized media researchers, market reporter, and more increasingly visible in diagnostics and healthcare services.

The Internet of Things is another development that attracts urban planners and community developers as cities, not just homes, are envisioned to run through IoT - from recycling trash to autonomous transport, many other possibilities have already been tinkering the minds of those who have an enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit. With these developments already taking place in some parts of the world, keeping up with the massive scale of development that entails digitization requires a conducive and supportive environment.

The Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (Sharjah RTI Park), an initiative of American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE) is one of the latest global innovation hubs which focuses on building an ecosystem that aims to make digitization work and deliver positive outcomes to many in the future. The park integrates digitization as one of the six core focus areas that would further boost and contribute to global innovation and the entrepreneurship agenda. The other five, also viewed to benefit from the growth of digitization are water technology, renewable energy, environmental technology, transport and logistics, and production, design and architecture.

To be able to do that, a robust learning environment where science and technology thrives is ideal, coupled with constant engagement in research and development (R&D). Innovation hubs or ecosystems proliferating across the world, and collaborations among national, international and global institutions are seeking ways to come up with the most effective innovation hubs.

Sharjah RTI Park envisions innovative and entrepreneurial ideas will spring from the ‘triple helix' collaboration between the academic, government and business entities. Companies seeking to grow their business in technology and natural sciences can harness the advanced facilities and resources operating within the park, where knowledge, innovation and productivity can stem from and be reproduced for the wider community.

Digitization, to increase its benefits to the most number of people, require a breeding ground that nurtures it within a complete ecosystem. Only then can local communities tap global solutions right within their doorsteps.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi is CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park.

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