Dubai – MENA Herald: Global government and technology experts set to speak at GITEX Technology Week have praised Dubai for developing new Smart City benchmarks.

Smart Cities use technology to analyse data sent from sensors over Wi-Fi networks to enhance daily lives and governance. Prominent use cases include solving challenges such as traffic congestion and utilities distribution, and launching mobile government services.

As the world urbanises, the Internet of Things’ impact on Smart Cities could reach USD 1.6 trillion by 2025, including USD 800 billion in transportation and USD 700 billion in healthcare, according to a recent report by the research firm McKinsey Global Institute.

Since its launch in 2014, with a mandate to make Dubai the happiest city on earth, enabled by smart technology, Smart Dubai has completed the first phase of its city transformation.

Other significant milestones in the past year include: completing phase one as the first pilot city for the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union global Smart City index, and announcing the Smart Dubai Platform, the “digital backbone” of the city.

“Smart Cities are rising throughout the world, but governments and industry need to agree on what actually makes a city smart. Dubai’s efforts to develop global benchmarks will help cities measure their progress, so that leading innovators, from Silicon Valley to Dubai to Bangalore, can deploy practical tools to measure how they’re improving people’s lives,” said Dr Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer of the City of Palo Alto, a key speaker at GITEX Technology Week’s Intelligent Cities Vertical Days Programme on 18 October.

The City of Palo Alto in California has been named one of the United States’ top five digital cities by the Centre for Digital Government from 2013-2015. Palo Alto also hosts the headquarters of technology giants HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SAP, and Tesla.

During his presentation “Insider on the United States’ Most Digital City, and Road Map to an Intelligent Governance,” Dr Jonathan Reichental will describe having led Palo Alto’s IT strategy with over 60 e-services, an open data portal, and IT governance.

As a result, the city has reduced time, cost, and travel for completing requests, decreased errors, and provided more transparency and accountability, Dr Jonathan Reichental added.

At GITEX Intelligent Cities, government leaders and technology companies will have an opportunity to see, hear, and experience the next wave of innovative, integrated technologies that are already helping cities around the world become more connected.

Key speakers include Dr Phyllis Schneck, Deputy Under Secretary for Cybersecurity National Protection and Programmes Directorate at the US Department of Homeland Security, on “Keeping Smart Cities Smart” on preventing cyber-attacks, Keith Kaplan, CEO of the Tesla Foundation, on “Tesla’s Autonomous Car Vision”, and Stephen Hilton, Director of Bristol Futures in the UK on “Roadmap to World’s First Open, Programmable, and Green City.”

Dubai Shares Best Practices for Smart Cities

Smart Dubai Government has already demonstrated its value to the government of Dubai: a report published in June 2016 revealed that Smart Dubai Government has saved the Dubai Government over AED 4.3 billion during its 13-year lifetime.

A new government office has been set-up to lead the initiative: the Smart Dubai Office. Under the leadership of Director General Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, the Smart Dubai Office is coordinating and enabling the city’s transformation, with the support of the newly-minted Dubai Data Establishment to lead the Dubai Data initiative, and the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (formerly DSG), acting as the technology arm of Smart Dubai.

Kick-starting ‘Phase Two,’ the Smart Dubai Office announced the Happiness Agenda for the city in May 2016, to guide the city’s transformation with a globally unique, science-based, and methodical approach to impacting happiness.

A hallmark of the Happiness Agenda is the Happiness Metre, announced in October 2014 and now widely in use by the public and private sectors in the city. The Happiness Metre received over 2 million votes in less than one year.

“After spending over two years working on benchmarking, creating a blue print, building the framework and testing services on a government level, we are now working on delivering tangible benefits to the residents and visitors of Dubai. The Happiness Metre, the Dubai Data Portal and the Smart Dubai Platform are existing new and evolving initiatives that will contribute significant improvements to the daily lives in the city in the upcoming years,” said Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai.

This year, the Smart Dubai Office is bringing a first-of-its-kind city experience to GITEX. By bringing together partners from public and private sectors, Smart Dubai is offering visitors a true smart city experience. All participating entities will be showcasing smart services and solutions that are making Dubai a more efficient, seamless, safe, and impactful experience today, contributing to Smart Dubai’s citywide vision to become the happiest city on earth, powered by smart technology.

Tech Vendors and Startups Energise Smart Cities

Many leading Smart City technology vendors will showcase the latest solutions at GITEX. Gemalto will showcase its eDriver Licence, Virtual Reality, On Demand Connectivity, and Smart Watches for governments to connect, secure, and monetise the Internet of Things. LG will demonstrate the SmarThinQ Hub connected home with smart sensors and appliances.

Global ICT solutions provider Huawei, with over 60 Smart City projects in 20 countries, has recently installed its first Smart Street Solution in the Middle East at Dubai Silicon Oasis. The street features digital signage, CCTV surveillance, and Wi-Fi enabled environmental sensors.

“Dubai’s vision to be amongst the smartest cities in the world within a short period of time necessitates the fast-tracking of innovative projects. Smarter Streets are one example of localizing global best practices to make the city more responsive to citizens, whilst enhancing the public environment. GITEX is a key event to further align with and showcase to regional government leaders what is possible within their own cities and exchange ideas across the emerging markets,” said Safder Nazir, Vice President, Smart Cities and IoT, Huawei – Middle East.

Technology vendors and startups are eager to leverage augmented reality, drones, robotics, and 3D printing to optimise Smart City goals and deployments. Demonstrating the growing opportunity, Dubai recently opened the world’s first 3D-printed building, and the Dubai Future Agenda aims for 25 percent of Dubai’s construction to be 3D-printed by 2030.

Energising Smart City solutions, the GITEX Startup Movement will host hundreds of global startups, and accelerators and incubators from Japan, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the UAE that aim to help startups grow, secure funding, and reach new markets.

For example, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)’s startups could help Dubai achieve its Dubai Plan 2021 goals of safety and sustainability. One startup’s smartphone app can monitor the road situation and alert to avoid collisions, while another startup has an app that can control LED lights to reduce electricity usage in an office or factory.

Among the Smart City startups attending GITEX Startup Movement are Acacus Technologies from Jordan and the UAE that helps plan airport crew movement, Bulgarian smart mirror and smart home startup Home Touch, Indian startup TechnoPurple that is developing one of the world’s smallest GPS vehicle tracking devices, and Serbian startup TOKN for mobile device management, which recently partnered with a Dubai government agency.

“Dubai’s achievements in applying Smart Cities technology is attracting worldwide interest, and that is reflected in the calibre of speakers at GITEX, and the focus of exhibitors and startups in showing how governments and developers can turn Smart City goals into actionable solutions,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, Exhibitions and Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre.