3 things to look out for at Dubai Expo 2020

Last updated: 13 December 2017

Stepping into a Star Trek movie doesn’t seem so far-fetched any more. The Hollywood franchise actually used Dubai as a backdrop for one of its futuristic cities. And while it’s not quite as futuristic in real life, technological advancements are slowly but surely helping Dubai to make its way into new realms of connectivity. The Gulf region has started a trend that has spread throughout the Middle East, by adopting state-of-the-art infrastructure projects that set the standard for smart cities. Dubai’s tech-savvy population aspires for its city to be a hub for technology innovation, and Expo 2020 has been the perfect catalyst for adopting smart technologies in the city.

So if you’re planning to visit Expo 2020 in Dubai, here are three major areas of innovation that are expected to elevate visitors’ experience.

1) Smart Transportation

With millions of visitors entering Dubai in 2020, transportation will benefit from a tech transformation, as digital buses and driverless cars take over the roads. Public transportation will be updated and moderated via the Dubai Drive app, making your commute much easier. Among other things, Dubai Drive already provides a digital version of the user’s driving license, the ability to pay for any road tolls or other charges, and renew vehicle registrations.

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), the car paradigm entirely shifts. From enhanced in-car services to fully autonomous vehicles, driving in Dubai will never be the same again. In a recent blog on new mobility, we discussed some of the benefits we can expect to see from connected and driverless cars, such as live data on available parking spots, accurate mapping and feedback on the driver’s performance. The UAE government is clearly on board with this revolution in driving, as it has ordered 200 self-driving taxis which are planned to hit the road in 2020, just in time for the Expo.

Moreover, smart roads will be a seamless experience with numerous projects initiated by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) that are dedicated to traffic management, smart parking, smart pedestrian crossings, pedestrian smart road shopping and roadway monitoring mobile cameras in major traffic diversions.  New projects may even include ambitious projects such as self-driving buses in addition to more practical ones like expanding pedestrian crossings.

2) Easy Payment

Forget about travellers’ checks and credit cards, at Expo 2020, cashless payments will be the standard. With the rise of wearable tech and mobile software with contactless payments, cash is a thing of the past and Dubai is making sure of it. Research has even found that the city can increase its GDP and create jobs by continuing to innovate in digital, cashless payments.

In big event like the Olympics 2016 or Expo 2020, wearables can make the whole experience even better and more convenient.

Another payment method devised for your convenience is mobile payment such as Samsung Pay, made possible by the Gemalto TSH. This type of payment should also be possible within the Expo premises, allowing owners of compatible smartphones to purchase anything in a matter of seconds.

3)  Always connected

One thing is certain when it comes to the Expo; visitors and residents will not lose their connection. As a matter of fact, you’ll pretty much have the fastest network on earth. Dubai will seize this opportunity to put 5G networks in action.

A recent report by consultants Deloitte estimates that the Middle East’s expenditure on mobile operators’ network infrastructure will be around US$ 50 billion from 2017-2021, focusing particularly on 5G networks. These investments come at the perfect time, as Expo 2020 will bring with it a mass influx of approximately 25 million visitors that surely need their mobiles to interact and share glimpses of their experience on social media.

When it comes to the expectations of technology and smartphones, consumers will always yearn for more; with high expectations for rapid evolution. That’s why smartphones will always keep on evolving as consumers more and more – from using mobile devices as their primary form of ID, to expecting super-fast, 100 gigabit data speeds.

5G connections will introduce an unparalleled standard of service offered to the whole region. For telecom companies, Expo 2020 offers the perfect opportunity to deliver cutting edge tech services to their clients, and usher them into the future of connectivity.


So buckle up for this ride, but don’t freak out if no one is driving.

Are you planning to attend Expo 2020 in Dubai? What’s impressed you most about the technology in the city? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @gemalto.

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