Dubai gov summit: Smart Cities about human needs

HE Ahmed bin Byat, Chairman, du
HE Ahmed bin Byat, Chairman, du

A personal dashboard that plans the day ahead for you by evaluating preferences with real-time recommendations could soon be a reality, according to experts addressing the third Dubai 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 – HE Ahmed bin Byat, Chairman of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), and HE 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.

HE 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,’ HE 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,” he said. “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.”

HE Al Mansoori believes 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,” he said.

HE Bin Byat also believes that that merely launching smart apps will not constitute success, “A Smart City will also take into consideration the feelings of the people,” he said. HE Al Mansoori demonstrated this further with ADSIC’s Cyberguard initiative that enables users to report concerns and today has over 70,000 users daily.

Prior to the discussion, Quest presented examples of how smart initiatives are being leveraged by countries worldwide 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.



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