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Dubai Future Accelerators Opens Up Applications to Solve These 20 Incredible Challenges

Run by the Dubai Future Foundation and the government of Dubai, the acceleration programme aims to tackle the global challenges of tomorrow, using the Emirati city as a testbed. Here's the problems they are trying to solve.

“This is not about how to write a business plan or how to pitch your startup. It's not about coding languages or SEO. We aren't going to tell you how to run your business or how to develop your website. This is about changing the world. Today.” That's how the Dubai Future Accelerators describes its scope, as it gears up to gather the corporate and public sector with the region's bold entrepreneurs to solve the challenges of tomorrow. 
Launched in 2016 by Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the accelerators entails an intensive nine-week programme pairing global technology companies with Emirati government organizations to create transformational solutions across different areas, from transportation, to health care, to the refugee crisis.
The nine-week programme is structured into 8 stages facilitating the collaboration between government entities and companies, while in parallel, organizing a series of workshops, office hours with mentors, and cultural activities.
In order to make up the challenges, each participating entity issued a challenge addressing some of the most important opportunities of the 21st century. The programme not only offers entrepreneurs access to funding and mentorship, but also covers the flight and accommodation in Dubai for the duration of the programme. 
"The future needs champions: smart, innovative companies that create new solutions and powerful, motivated partners with the courage and budget to make them real," says the accelerator in its call for proposals. With a wide array of challenges for brave entrepreneurs, these are 20 of their most intriguing ones: 
9. Disrupting electricity & water utility business models through creative solutions and 4th Industrial Revolution technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Water Harvesting Solutions, UAV, energy storage, Blockchain, IoT and others.

10. Explore sustainable and integrated requirements for autonomous and electrical transport testing and operating using emerging technologies such as wireless charging and Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems.

11. Implement breakthrough systems for cyclists and pedestrians, in addition to the new personal modes of transport.

12. Introduce futuristic construction methods and materials for transportation and roads infrastructure that will reduce time, cost and impact on traffic.

13. Utilize digital twin technology to increase fleet maintenance efficiency, in roads and transport.  

14. Etisalat's internal challenge: Accelerate Etisalat’s transformation to a digital telco by increasing customer adoption of digital self-care channels thereby enhancing customer experience and reducing 50% calls to Etisalat customer care over the next one year using artificial intelligence, analytics/insights, machine learning etc. 

15.Etisalat's external services: Transform the experience of visitors (students, residents, leisure and business tourists, etc) of city attractions (Expo2020, museums, libraries, landmarks etc) by leveraging extended reality (AR/VR) and artificial intelligence at every stage of the visitor journey (pre, during and post), aiming at 90 percent adoption by the targeted audience by 2021.

16. In the field of residence and foreign affairs: Fully integrate artificial intelligence to enable a seamless journey for passengers by using the Smart Passage. Seeking solutions that focus on electronic auto approvals in the system in order to remove all human interaction with regards to passenger pre-clearance. Based on other processes applied within GDRFA, such as pre-clearance, counters and/or smart gates, artificial intelligence is applied but only in a small section in the process and there is a lot of human interaction that occurs.

17. Using behavioral nudges to increase adoption of government digital services by 25 percent, in partnership with Smart Dubai office.  

18. Using IOT for inventory management on the government ERP system to save 30 percent of employee time and efforts, in partnership with Smart Dubai office as well.

19. In partnership with Du Telcom: Leverage machine learning and big data to optimize the relationship with enterprise customers from lead management to the point of service fulfillment by 30 pecent.

20. Utilizing technology to improve the livelihood of refugees, in partnership with Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives. The challenge aims to address the situation of 70 percent of refugees, who are living below the poverty line in their host countries, up from 50 percent in 2015. In the Middle East, 86 percent of those living outside of camps in Jordan are now living below the poverty line, while in Lebanon 70 percent of Syrian refugee households live far below the national poverty line. As UNHCR does not have 59 percent of the funds needed to reach refugees who require assistance, there is a funding shortfall of USD 795 million.

Applications are open until February 6th here.

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