Emirates Group unveils Ebdaa, fostering creativity at the heart of aviation innovation

Yesterday(14.12.2023), the Emirates Group lifted the curtains on Ebdaa, its sparkling new, high-tech aviation innovation hub. Ebdaa, which means creativity in Arabic, is housed in what was the Emirates Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Ebdaa was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman & Chief Executive Emirates Airline & Group in the presence of H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and dignitaries from Dubai Future Foundation, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai Police, General Civil Aviation Authority, Department of Economy and Tourism Dubai, and flydubai, partners from technology companies, and senior Emirates Group executives. 

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “The aviation ecosystem is changing at a phenomenal pace, driven by technology and human ingenuity. Ebdaa will continuously evolve and tap into these drivers – the latest tech, R&D and insights; customer feedback; our people’s expertise; and our thriving community of partnerships and start-ups. It will help us design amazing experiences for our customers and employees, create tailored solutions for the Emirates Group and reaffirm Dubai’s status as a hub for commercial aviation.

“Ebdaa has been designed to help foster strategic collaboration with corporate leaders and VIPs, forge new partnerships and inspire our own people. Our intent is to excite hearts, engage minds, and explore the future of aviation together. Ebdaa has repurposed our Expo pavilion, leveraging the considerable investments we made at the time, making it a sustainable and an enduring legacy for aviation and Dubai.”

Spacious, at over 35,520sqft and spread across three storeys, Ebdaa focuses on three key technologies – Robotics, AI and Web 3.0. Here are some highlights:

Region’s first XR theatre

The 55-seater XR theatre is a first of its kind within a corporate entity in the Middle East. Here, a potent combination of an LED powered stage, XR capabilities, camera tracking and real-time 3D renders enables presenters to connect and immerse global audiences in simulated worlds – from inspirational destinations to creative, learning or operational environments.

Aviation robotics lab

In partnership with Dubai Future Labs and other global leaders in robotics, this space is both a showcase and a workspace for design, development and experimentation in social and industrial robots. This includes the first AI-powered customer support robot developed in-house by the robotics team, giving a glimpse of the future of customer-robot interactions.

VR chamber

In this space, all future immersive experiences built on MIRA, the Group’s new extended reality (XR) platform which was showcased at Dubai Airshow 2023, will be trialled and showcased using the latest wearables – from headsets to haptic gloves. The first phase for MIRA included the virtualisation of all Emirates cabins and galleys for crew learning.

AI-powered Executive Boardroom

Dubbed as a conference room of the future, this purpose-built hybrid meeting space with AI technologies allows executives to connect and collaborate with teams and audiences worldwide.

The IX studio

In this circular, multifunctional room with hi-fi video, audio and presentation tech, teams can co-design new products or tap into the extensive content library to transport guests into bespoke worlds – whether deep diving into Emirates’ global destinations, touring below-the-wing cargo and logistics elements, or even practising mindfulness and meditation.

Innovation heritage, Insights wall

Guests can explore and interact with the decade-wise milestones of the Emirates Group’s history centred on innovation. They can discover little known facts, new insights, projects and achievements of the different facets within the Group, with every experience tailored for the audience.

Partnership showcase area

This space is dedicated to the Group’s extensive strategic partnerships across the aviation and technology cosystems, providing partners an opportunity to showcase their latest projects and products that will help shape the future of aviation.

Besides these key spaces, Ebdaa also features:

  • a robotics café where guests can relax, connect with others and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup of coffee or tea, or even ice-cream
  • airport of the future and innovation challenges – this interactive zone enables guests to understand how their choices in technology can impact aviation operations and passenger journeys. There are six challenges ranging from sustainability (making skies cleaner) to improving the onboard experience (design the cabin of the future).
  • a smart collaboration room for brainstorming and co-creation. The stylish room is equipped with the latest in smart devices where content, lighting, privacy and climate can be controlled at the click of a button.

Ebdaa embraces the legacy of the Emirates Pavilion – the design and façade are modelled around an aircraft’s wings taking flight, with 24 aluminium cladded fins that curve around two sides of the building structure. It was built using the latest fabrication technologies, building techniques and sustainable design elements, including integrated solar arrays, sustainable off-site construction, responsive solar shading and a verdant landscape indoors and outdoors. The pavilion followed a number of sustainability principles, including using reusable and recyclable materials, and design solutions to reduce energy and water consumption. The interior’s bright, ultramodern design lets in ample natural light and serves as a backdrop for immersive experiences.

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