Head of government’s Smart Dubai task force team, said the Dubai government sees happiness as the main objective of its Smart City effort.
Dubai’s use of technology to move towards a high-tech, ultra-efficient Smart City will lead to increased happiness and a better quality of life, according to Assistant Director-General of the Government of Dubai Executive Office.
Speaking at the ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai, Dr Aisha bin Bishr, who leads the government’s Smart Dubai task force team, said the Dubai government sees happiness as the main objective of its Smart City effort.
“Our mission is to create happiness by embracing technological innovation, and making Dubai the most efficient, seamless, safe and impactful experience for its residents and visitors,” she said.
“Our end goal is to improve the quality of life,” she added. “We want to make those people who don’t like living in cities come live in our city.”
Dr Bin Bishr explained that Dubai’s Smart City goals are based on four pillars: efficiency, safety, seamlessness and impact. She said this is a first of its kind experiment anywhere in the world.
“I believe there isn’t any solution available globally to build a smart city platform,” she said. “That’s why we believe what we will do in Dubai will be the platform that other cities learn from.”
Government departments in Dubai — ranging from the Dubai Police to the Roads and Transport Authority and Dubai Municipality — have been investing heavily in “smart” infrastructure and technology to provide better service to the Emirate’s increasingly connected residents.
The RTA app, for example, allows residents to find nearby public transportation, book taxis and renew and apply for parking permits, among other tasks.
Dr Bin Bishr, however, explained that government services represent only a fraction of the benefits that the smart city concept will provide to Dubai residents and visitors.
“Smart Dubai is not only a government initiative. Yes, the smart city initiative is driven by government, but government is only a 20 per cent focus of such an initiative,” she said. “80 per cent is private sector, academics, individuals, entrepreneurs and so on.”
Dr. Marwan Salem bin Haidar, Executive Director of Planning & Development at the Dubai Smart Government Department, said the initiative’s most important short-term goal is to become more engaged with the populace and develop laws and regulations in line with technological advances.
“At the end of the day what will be the full measure of our strategy is adoption,” he said. “What we offer should be used. What will be another important objective is customer engagement.”
“We need to have laws and legislation,” he added. “Hopefully, very soon there will be a law in Dubai which will mandate the sharing of information between government departments in order for us to provide better service and mandate opening up data sets for you (people in the tech industry) to come up with a lot of apps.”
Dr Bin Haider said sharing of data sets with the private sector will provide an enormous opportunity for Dubai-based tech entrepreneurs in the future.
“I believe it is now a golden time for such businesses and entrepreneurs to work in Dubai,” he said. “What is being built in Dubai is so huge that the government alone cannot do it.”
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