Dubai pushes ahead with its quest to become one of smartest cities in the world: Experts informed Government Summit

DUBAI, 10th February, 2015 (WAM) — “A personal dashboard that plans the day ahead for you by evaluating all your preferences and making real-time recommendations could soon be a reality,” as Dubai pushes ahead with its quest to become one of the smartest cities in the world, according to experts addressing the third Government Summit.

The session on ‘Smarter People, Smarter Cities and Smarter Communities,’ led by CNN’s Richard Quest questioned the notions of a ‘smart city’ and whether the UAE will find its place among the world’s Top 5 happiest nations in the next five years.

The answer from the participants – Ahmed bin Byat Chairman of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) and Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General of Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) – was a unanimous ‘yes,’ highlighting governmental confidence in achieving the ‘Smart’ vision of the nation.

Bin Byat said that Dubai’s approach to achieving the smart city vision is led by the needs of the people, underlining a ‘bottom up’ model where people tell the government what they seek in smart service delivery. He said that the government, the private sector and the people are working together to achieve the ‘Smart Dubai’ vision.

Defining a ‘smart city,’ Bin Byat said that Dubai’s perspective of being smart is to place emphasis on sustainability and the environment, and in placing the human element at the heart of it all. “We have the fundamentals for a smart city in our technology adoption, smartphone penetration and broadband connectivity. And what we are working on is to promote innovation within this ecosystem Dubai’s smart city is not merely about automation, it is about connecting people to their needs.” Al Mansoori added that the smart city vision is led by a focus on smart information, analysis of data to understand customer preferences and serving customers the way they want to under the umbrella of cyber-security. “We are smart today in connecting entities and gaining feedback from customers.” Bin Byat said that merely launching smart apps is not what makes a smart city. “A smart city will also take into consideration the feelings of the people.” Al Mansoori demonstrated this further with ADSIC’s Cyberguard initiative that enables users to report concerns and today has over 70,000 users daily.

According to Bin Byat, a smart city offers a single window approach, adding that it is important to ‘plan better and execute’ than ‘execute more and correct later.’ He said that Dubai’s smart city initiative enables it to conduct business efficiently, foster innovation and serve as a magnet for talent and foreign direct investment.

Prior to the discussion, Richard Quest presented compelling examples of how smart initiatives are being leveraged by countries world-wide to promote governmental efficiency and people’s welfare. He said that a holistic approach to smart city management will soon be a reality in Dubai as the city prepares to host the World Expo 2020.

The Government Summit is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In total, there are 50 sessions, more than 100 speakers and 3,000 participants from 87 countries discussing the future of education, health services and smart cities. The third edition of the Summit, which is the biggest event of its kind in the world, is held under the theme ‘Shaping Future Governments’.