My UAE: Adnan Mohammed bin Abdulla’s virtually there
Adnan Mohammed bin Abdulla spent more than 15 years learning about and researching technology, before finally setting up his own business.
In that time, he gained a bachelor of science degree and two master’s degrees, all while holding down a full-time job in various public and private companies.
Last year, the Emirati, 34, from Dubai, took the plunge and established a technology firm that focuses on augmented and virtual reality in health and education.
“I didn’t want to take out a bank loan to set up a company when I graduated," he says. “I didn’t want to take that risk – I was young.
“I’ve done real estate and things just to get money. I was saving it in a box; saving it for the right time. Over that time, technology jumped from very simple devices to very sophisticated devices.”
With demand for smart technology greater than ever, the entrepreneur wants to take advantage. His company, eTech’an (which means “perfection” in Arabic) International, helps organisations find, design and tailor apps to improve learning. Along with the executive director, Khawla Ibrahim Al Bloushi, whom he met at university, he produced a “smart ambulance” app used by Dubai Health Authority at Gitex.
“Many people know about virtual reality, but they haven’t seen a use for it. There are so many opportunities in education. I have a belief that education is the point of civilisation. We should use what technology can offer.”
In the future, he hopes to grow his team. In the meantime, he’s happy to witness what he thinks is a tipping point for technology.
“I really believe that the things you see in Hollywood movies, people flying and holograms, we will reach that point. Doing my research, I’ve seen amazing things that are not on the market yet, but they’re at the manufacturer. Soon it will happen.”
Fishing relaxes me. I go far out to sea and I really feel relaxed. It’s quiet; no one is there. It’s just us and the sound of the water hitting the side of the boat, and the birds.
My mobile phone
I have two: an iPhone 5 and a Samsung.
From a business mentality, my dad. He passed away a few years ago, but he always told me: “If you want to succeed, own yourself.” These words are still in my mind now.
My favourite place to visit
I went to Bilbao in Spain and it was really an amazing city. I like the history of old cities, and I like to learn the history of the people. I also like London – it was the first place I travelled to by myself.
My favourite place to eat
I love Italian food. My favourite dish is seafood – Alfredo fettuccine. The best restaurant is Fontana in the Al Murooj Rotana complex in Dubai.
My favourite and least favourite subjects in school
Maths was my favourite subject. Anatomy and biology were the worst.
My favourite social-media application
Twitter. You write whatever is on your mind in 140 characters. You have to squeeze it and come up with creative ways to say something.
What item would you rescue if your house caught fire?
My mobile phone. Then I’d call someone to come and put out the fire, so I could rescue everything else.
My favourite movie
Iron Man – the first one, because of the technology. They come up with ideas that don’t exist at the moment, but when I think about them, I think: “Yes, one day it will be here.”