'Building Dubai's SmartCity with Hayi - The Economic Benefits of digitizing UAE neighbourhoods'
What can Hayi do for the UAE?
We believe that arguably one of the most important aspects of our everyday life has yet to embrace digitization. Our local community. After we as humans have successfully digitized the friendship experience through Facebook and then the professional experience through Linkedin soon after, we believe the next step will be the digitization of neighbourhoods and local communities. Besides encouraging neighbours to interact and create new meaningful relationships within the community, and creating an environment for a positive-sum exchange for all stake-holders within the neighbourhood ecosystem (Neighbours, Community-managers, Local businesses), the digitization of neighbourhoods can have a significant impact on the UAE economy. In the following article we will explain exactly how.
Social well-being & Expat retention
It is well known that anywhere that has embraced modernity has seen more people feel isolated, alienated, and disconnected (The Loneliness epidemic, Justin Thomas, Prof. Psychology, Zayed University). Mental health is increasingly being recognized as an issue in modern society that has to be taken seriously and addressed, both on the government level and by the private sector. Particularly in bustling international cities, expatriates may find it difficult to rebuild a social support system similar to what they are used to in their home countries, especially within the first few years of moving to the new city. Additionally, new arrivals may be hesitant to interact with each other out of fear of overstepping cultural boundaries and encountering communication barriers.
With Hayi we aim to create a safe platform for people to connect with those who are physically closest to them and create a sense of belonging to a real and dynamic community. “Breaking the ice” with your neighbours is far easier and faster on an online platform with a click of a button, than it is to be physically introduced. Expatriates will be able to find a social support system and integrate with their local community with greater ease shortly after their arrival to the new city. This will lead to a better quality of social life and potentially a higher rate of expat retention for the UAE, critical for a high quality labour force and consequentially, sustained economic growth.
Support Local SME’s
Hyperlocal is an immensely underserved market here in the UAE. Small businesses spend an average of 46% of their total marketing budget on digital marketing, which translates to almost 200$ per month for the average SME (The Entrepreneur: How much should a Business spend on Digital Marketing in 2017, Kimberly de Silva 2017). Undoubtedly businesses will be from here on increasing their budget share towards digital marketing now in the age of COVID-19. Besides the high cost of digital marketing, paid ads on Facebook and Instagram are not guaranteed to reach their intended audience, further reducing the efficiency for small businesses to operate.
With Hayi we are enabling Local businesses to efficiently tap into their relevant market at a significantly discounted relative cost and advertise their promotions directly and reliably to their relevant customers on a hyperlocal level. Hayi’s neighbourhood platform seeks to substantially reduce SME marketing expenses and increase customer acquisition efficiency. The UAE being home to over 400,000 SME’s, which make up around 60% of the non-oil economy and provide 86% of the private workforce, efficiently operating local business is undoubtedly the key to a strong economy (SME in Depth, Refinitiv 2019). Therefore, with an ever-increasing amount of SME’s rapidly seeking an online presence, we believe digitizing local neighbourhoods can have a substantial impact on economic recovery and growth strengthening local businesses.
Dubai as the MENA innovation hub
Dubai has made significant progress in advancing the local startup ecosystem and embracing digitization and innovation, aligned with the Emirate’s vision of a smart city, which can be substantiated by the city’s impressive wave of numerous tech-startups being incorporated in recent years. Currently digitizing neighbourhoods has not been implemented in the MENA region, unlike the US and EU, Hayi has the goal of contributing to Dubai’s aspirations of establishing itself as the ultimate innovation hub of the region.
You can download the Hayi app here.