Is Dubai to become the smartest city on the planet?
• 5 minute read
The world is evolving at a pace none of us ever expected, nor can believe. Before our very eyes, cities are growing both in the physical and virtual worlds, and innovation in the digital space means a smart city can be smarter than ever before in history, ushering in a new era and limitless possibilities. Using technology platforms and applications, cities will become safer, healthier and more sustainable – Dubai is no exception.
What is a smart city?
At its core, a smart city functions just as any city would, but it uses electronic data collection to augment the working capacity of the city, making it more efficient over time. Resource management, crisis management and transactions between citizens and the local council or municipality can be carefully controlled and more easily achieved. This helps to reduce costs, resource consumption and increase communications between the government and its people; making for better daily interactions in the urban environment and more sustainable living.
Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) together with IoT, smart city applications can be developed to help solve a particular problem, unique to that city, and aid in the management of urban flows and movements.
One of the definitions of a smart city is one where a community, business cluster or urban conglomerate can come together to use information technologies to augment their capabilities and functionality; using the built environment more efficiently, and engaging with people more effectively, thereby, increasing their ability to respond fluidly to ever-changing circumstances.
One of the earliest examples that fits this definition of a smart city is Bletchley Park in England during World War Two. Alan Turing and his team worked there, alongside others, to build a coding-breaking machine to crack the enemy’s coding machine Enigma.
Which cities are the smartest?
Around the world, cities have been experimenting with adding smart technology capabilities to their services. Some of these cities include: Dubai, Amsterdam, Southampton, Barcelona, Madrid, New York, Stockholm and Milton Keynes.
Singapore is leading the way and began leading the pack a few years ago, especially in the realm of transport capabilities. Due to serious traffic gridlock problems on the small island, the government took steps to ease congestion through smart road sensors, phased traffic lighting and smart parking. However, the most progressive aspect of their data collection, is that it is all open-platform. This means the average person in the street can access it. This engages the public and helps the government drive possible collaborations through creative solutions and suggestions of its own citizens. A win for everyone.
However, in Barcelona the main focus is on sustainable energy – with smart grid systems, smart meters and smart LED lighting. Plus, due to an urgent water crisis, they have come up with ways to combat the city’s current drought problem. Using smart sensors for irrigation, they are able to have an intelligent means of forecasting rain, and can modify water usage through the city’s sprinklers as needed.
What is the advantage of living in a smart city?
In one word – Happiness.
If a city wants to make a difference in the lives of its people, then it must reduce their stress and increase their access to a healthier lifestyle while simultaneously encouraging well-being. The Masdar Project in Abu Dhabi has been a great success and has shown us how we can reduce energy consumption, streamline traffic and improve urban flow; allowing citizens to live in a cleaner, better managed residential and commercial mixed space.
The Smart Dubai Project
An exciting collaboration between the government and public sectors in Dubai, initiated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is already underway to help Dubai climb the ranks of the world’s elite of smart cities.
The overarching goal is to make Dubai the happiest city on earth and to do this the Smart Dubai project has developed a tiered partnership with various institutions, government and private sector organizations, to achieve this vision.
One part being the construction of the Smart Dubai Platform, we have partnered with the government, with the goal of implementing a new digital infrastructure which can form a strong cornerstone of the digital urban strategy going forward into the future decades. Adding our considerable expertise in this area, we hope the platform will benefit business people, residents and their families, government employees as well as business travellers.
For Dubai residents, the Smart Dubai Platform will enhance daily living by helping take care of its users. For example, it can help parents monitor their child’s health care and vaccinations, or keep an eye on the daily consumption of energy in the home, alerting the user to any inefficiencies and supplying useful data. For commuters, they will be able to see at glance what the status of the city’s roads or trains are, making their commute easier and less time consuming.
The time is now
While smart technology is still relatively new and there are many advantages, this technology is still in its infancy, and there are many capabilities we have yet to establish. The sky is the limit in terms of creativity and it is exciting to see what developers will come up with next, and for us here at du, we feel truly privileged to be a part of it all.
- information and communication technology
- internet of things
- smart city
- smart dubai
- smart dubai platform
- smart platform
- smart technology
- urban development