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Speaker detail

  • Dr. Ali Al-Azzawi
  • City Experience Advisor
  • Smart Office Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Drawing on his multi-disciplinary experience spanning business, government, technology and applied psychology, Dr. Ali al-Azzawi is the City Experience Advisor responsible for the Happiness Agenda at Smart Dubai Office (SDO), including the development of the scientific and assessment models that underpin its activities. His academic and professional interests focus on the theory and impactful applications of smart technologies towards happiness on a city scale. 

His working experience started with physics (BSc), electronics and computing, in an academic setting at the University of Oxford and Dartmouth College, moving to the commercial sector, installing, developing and supporting medical and research MRI equipment, taking him to various locations around the world. However, due to his strong interest in how people use technology, he undertook his PhD research at the Psychology Department and the Digital World Research Centre (University of Surrey, UK), where he has remained as a Visiting Research Fellow. These activities added to his growing list of over 35 publications in the fields of UX/CX and MRI, where Ali has also published a book on the psychology of People’s Experience with Technology, being used as a core text at some Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate courses.

During the time running his UK-based IT consultancy for 13 years, with clients such as NHS (UK) & Abbott Pharmaceuticals (USA), his drive towards the cutting-edge helped him win funding for multiple innovation projects from UK government competitions. Further, maintaining a strong interest in transferring psychology theory into design practice, Ali led the research and design for projects such as EVG.ae and Saudi Ministry of Interior portal. He later setup and led the first government-based CX Lab in the Middle East, where he also lead the research and design for the multiple-award winning app, DubaiNow, as well as the subsequent complex omni-channel government service portal & personal dashboard (DubaiNow) and the upcoming Dubai Smart City Platform.