In the last decade or so, Dubai has seen tremendous growth in the IT sector, even more so than all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. With a dip in oil prices over the last few years, the government and private sector of Dubai have diversified by turning this region into a space for technological innovations. And, with the increased use of smart devices and the internet, mobile apps have fast become a necessity instead of just a luxury.
So, a lot of entrepreneurs have initiated tech startups in Dubai to access the emerging markets and there is considerable support offered by the government and semi-government institutions that represent a variety of sectors, including health, education, and renewable energy.
The push towards making Dubai citizens dependent on mobile apps for a large demographic has been such that almost every other tech startup focuses on having an app to resolve a gap that exists in the market.
In this article, we look at some of the top mobile app startups and their corresponding apps that have influenced the different industries in Dubai.
Bridg is a consumer to merchant mobile payment platform empowered by bluetooth technology. Its Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity allows merchants to charge a customer’s mobile phone without any data connection. This mobile app is the creation of the Dubai-based startup Bridg Payment Solutions which was kickstarted to enter the mobile banking space and offer innovative alternatives to traditional banks.
The startup realized that, although Dubai enjoys an extremely high smartphone penetration rate, many of the consumers, especially those belonging to the lower income bracket, rarely use these smart devices connected over a network. Instead, they rely heavily on a WiFi connection and so there is less scope to leverage the power of mobile banking. Bridg aimed to fill this gap by using bluetooth technology to make payments using its app.
In 2016, Bridg took the top position at the Dubai Temenos Fintech Innovation Jam. With this kind of financial technology empowerment, Bridg Payment Solutions have succeeded in disrupting Dubai’s financial services sector.
This multinational transport network company was founded in 2012 and has been able to expand to over 26 cities across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as Pakistan. It started its operations as an app-based chauffeur driver car booking service company in Dubai (where its headquarters are located). And, when the company was launched, it only had website-based car booking services for corporates, but it later targeted individuals with its mobile app versions.
Users simply have to download the Careem Android app or Careem iOS app and start booking a ride. The bookings can be made for immediate pickups or even for a scheduled date and time.
Clearly, the Careem mobile apps have made the lives of the people in Dubai a lot easier by allowing them to book a cab quickly with the tap of their fingers. More importantly, the apps are also linked to mobile payments which means that users have the liberty of making cashless transactions.
Dubai Health Authority
This may be a government organization in Dubai, but it has initiated an array of health-based mobile apps for Android and iOS in the last few years to aid the people of Dubai with regard to healthcare and medicine.
For example, the Dubai Doctors app offers users the ability to search for healthcare professionals and facilities in Dubai. Another app named Tifli is aimed at expectant parents (mostly pregnant women) by offering them relevant information related to pregnancy, motherhood, and so on.
With the continuous introduction of such mobile apps, the Dubai Health Authority has indeed had a major technological impact on the Dubai healthcare industry.
Souq.com is rightly touted as the Amazon of the Middle East, since it serves as an online marketplace for the majority of the consumer needs across a wide range of product categories. It was launched in 2005 as an auction site which was eventually converted to an online shopping model in 2011.
This ecommerce company realized that more citizens of Dubai (and even of other countries where Souq exists) can easily be captured by making the online marketplace shopping experience available in the form of apps. This led to the emergence of the Souq.com mobile apps for the Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. Now, all Dubai citizens using a mobile phone think about the Souq app whenever they have to buy a product.
This is one of the topmost classified listing portals. It was kickstarted in 2005 and eventually came up with the Android and iOS mobile apps to make it easier for the people living in Dubai to buy, sell or search for anything in their community online. Users can buy a home, sell a car or even search for a job vacancy by using the mobile apps designed for the United Arab Emirates.
Dubizzle is an OLX company, offering services in a number of countries across different continents. It also helps users get demand for underused goods and buy or sell the same without any “middlemen”.
The idea behind presenting the above examples of some of the best mobile apps and related startup companies in Dubai is to drive home the point that mobile apps are being used comprehensively in Dubai. And, with attempts being made to make Dubai the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, the number of app-based startups will increase further in the future.
What do you make of this mobile app revolution in Dubai? Leave your comments below.
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