By Emma Okonji
Visa, a global payments technology company has opened its innovation centre in Dubai Internet City (DIC), the region’s largest information and communications technology community. This centre will serve the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) regions, including Nigeria, and is part of a network of new innovation centres that Visa is opening around the world over the course of 2016 and 2017.
Visa and TECOM Group also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was attended by Group CEO, TECOM Group, Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, and senior management members of TECOM and Visa.
In line with Visa’s collaboration model and TECOM’s vision to encourage and foster innovation, entrepreneurship and digital advancements, the MOU between the two organisations will include a number of collaborative elements including: Agreement to support the local startup and entrepreneur community through mentorship and guidance programs; Leveraging each other’s networks for the promotion of digitally advanced and innovation related solutions; Collaborating on pilot programs, tests and trials within the TECOM Group; and Co-launching Design Thinking workshops and supporting local hackathons and developer workshops.
The new 4,000 square foot facility in the heart of Dubai Internet City supports Visa’s commitment to drive cashless economies throughout the region. The Dubai facility is designed to replicate the success of Visa’s flagship innovation center, One Market in San Francisco and the Asia Pacific innovation center that recently opened in Singapore.
The Group Executive, Visa, Kamran Siddiqi, said: “The UAE has been among the leaders in the region in adopting and promoting the acceptance of innovative technologies. Fostering a knowledge economy is one of the four pillars outlined in the UAE Vision 2021, highlighting the country’s commitment to technological innovation,” said “The country’s strategic location, which in itself is a diverse and exciting part of the world, makes it an ideal place for us to build this facility where Visa will work alongside clients and partners to imagine and build creative, cutting-edge digital commerce and payment experiences.”
As the payments industry shifts from plastic to digital and new entrants bring innovative payment options to market, Visa’s mission is to ensure that every Internet-connected device, appliance and wearable, can become a secure place for commerce. The innovation centre in Dubai, along with Visa’s other global network of innovation facilities, is a key part of the company’s focus on fostering innovation and promoting “open commerce” by enabling clients to engage, experience and collaborate.
In the area of engagement, centre’s immersive environment provides clients and partners with everything they need to work on new digital solutions that will address important business needs and opportunities.
For experience, Visa utilises human-centered design and new technologies to ensure any product development delivers real benefits for users. For collaboration, the centre allows for interaction with Visa payment experts and access Visa technology, including APIs and SDKs available through Visa Developer Platform – all in a physical space designed to encourage dynamic interaction, real-time experimentation and rapid prototyping.
CEO, TECOM Business Parks, Malek Al Malek, said: “We are very proud to partner with Visa to further foster and support innovation in the region. This is a major strategic pillar for TECOM Group, which has played a vital role in Dubai’s diversification and is now supporting efforts to transform the Emirate into an innovation-led economy and Smart City.”