photo courtesy of Emaar Properties
The article first appeared on the CNN.
Plans for a sprawling "high-tech-meets-retail" metropolis have been unveiled in Dubai. The mega mall will be the largest leasable retail space in the world, spanning over 100 soccer fields in size.
Called Dubai Square, the $2 billion project in the Dubai Creek Harbour development will boast over 8 million square feet of retail space -- more than twice the size of Dubai Mall -- and will also be home to the Middle East's largest Chinatown.
Designed as a destination outright, the ground floor will host celebrity performances, concerts and theater shows in a futuristic entertainment arena with 3D projection mapping, theatrical sound and lighting. Families will be catered for with a cinema, water park, sports arena and supermarket. But it is the tech angle that most intrigues.
"Dubai Square pushes the boundaries of modern retail and leisure by drawing on next-generation technology," a spokesperson from Emaar Properties, who is developing the Dubai Creek Harbour in a joint venture with Dubai Holding, told CNN. "It is designed for the new era of customers, who are digital, connected and tech-savvy."
Features include immersive experiences, such as VIP dressing rooms, smart fitting rooms with interactive mirrors and curated private fashion collections.
The "omnichannel" style of retail space -- connecting physical stores with digital platforms -- will be elevated by new technology, with purchases made via mobile and desktop, as well as the store counter. This shopping experience will be augmented by custom-designed mobile apps, barcode scanning applications and radio-frequency identification (technology used for inventories, but also cashier-less checkout).
With cutting-edge technology at the forefront of plans, are developers future-proofing the mall experience by targeting millennials?
Emaar maintains that there's something at Dubai Square for everyone, but concedes "the new generation of tech-savvy youth are of course a top target customer."
Read more on the CNN.