UAE’s digital weight spirals during virus - GulfToday

UAE’s digital weight spirals during virus


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If there is one thing that the coronavirus has done, it has enhanced the role of digital or virtual communication manifold. In the absence of face-to-face contact to keep the pandemic at bay, an interaction via the computer is a major option that is not only viable but advisable too. If there is one country that has shown the primal role of a digital environment to the world, it is the UAE.

The early shift to a digital medium of communication helped the country adapt to the challenges arising from the pandemic.

Based on its clear understanding of the long-term value and benefits of digital transformation, the country adopted an integrated strategy to rapidly achieve comprehensive digitisation across sectors.

Government organisations have been proactive in implementing initiatives to raise the UAE’s competitive edge in digitisation. The country’s digitisation plans were significantly accelerated as part of adapting to the impact of the pandemic, said Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office.

Al Marri voiced her views at a forum titled ‘Arab Media During and After the Coronavirus Pandemic’ organised remotely by Bahrain’s Dar Al-Bilad Foundation for Journalism, Publishing and Distribution. The digital readiness not only stemmed the effects of the virus, it also revolutionised radically various spheres of life.

The World Digital Report 2021 spotlights the digital lifestyle in the UAE amid the virus.

The report has some fascinating things to say about the communication trends of this populace. It revealed the total value of digital payment transactions in the UAE during 2020 reached $18.50 billion and indicated that the average time an individual spends on the Internet in the UAE is 7 hours and 24 minutes a day. Furthermore, the report states that an individual spends 40 hours per week browsing the Internet via a smartphone, while 86 percent of the population plays electronic games via the Internet using available devices.

The report has also indicated that the UAE residents spent 320 million hours on smartphone applications during 2020 and the number of smart homes in the country has reached 190,000.

The emergency faced by the world last year has made 2020 a digital year of excellence, as websites, social media pages, portals and smart sites thrived. It mapped the avenues of operation in various fields, including the workplace, education and daily lives. It was the pivot that helped many sectors to maintain a seamless method of functioning.

The period has proved that digital transformation is an urgent necessity and not a technical luxury. The UAE was the first to adopt and develop digital solutions that enabled it to overcome the crisis and score several achievements.

According to the report, 99 per cent of the Emirati community members are active on social media, and 97.6 per cent of the population owned smartphones.

The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority has launched several initiatives to support the vision of the country’s leadership. These are related to remote working, distance learning, e-commerce and providing government services remotely.

It is little wonder then that the government has come out with a National Digital Wellbeing Policy. At a time when the pandemic has been continuing to wreak havoc across the world, the overemphasis on anything online cannot be ruled out.

Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, apart from being the Minister for Community Development, is also the Chairwoman of the Wellbeing Council. She stressed that the National Digital Wellbeing Policy is a strong supporter of societal leadership in education and remote work in line with the directives of the UAE wise leadership. This caters for the happiness of the residents in the UAE, be it Emiratis or residents.

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