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Dubai to Achieve Smart City Status by 2017 According to Report Released by Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government

09 February 2016


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 In addition to its digital transformation the definition of Smart City 
includes being happiest city to live and work and maintaining a high 
quality of life and well-being

 The UAE is ranked 32nd in the UN’s ICT Development Index and 23rd  
in the WEF’s Networked Readiness Index

 Internet penetration in the UAE stands above 90 percent while 
penetration of mobile subscriptions is nearly 117 percent

 Close to 70 percent of population is active on social media across all 
walks of life

Dubai-UAE: In its journey to achieve the status of the world’s smartest city 
by 2017, a report titled ‘A Smart City for Public Value: Digital Transformation through Agile Governance - The Case of Smart Dubai’, outlining the city’s progress and what lies ahead was launched at the ongoing fourth World Government Summit.

The study, authored by Fadi Salem, Research Fellow at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, explores what the city needs to do to ensure it remains one of the ‘happiest’ cities in the world to live and work in, while maintaining a strong quality of life and wellbeing - the defining elements of a smart city.

Speaking about the report, Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, Executive President, Mohammed Bin Rashid 
School of Government, said: “This study is a policy document that not only details the journey so far, but also lays out the subsequent measures to be adopted for Dubai to emerge as the ‘smartest’ city by 2017. Agility of governance and collaboration will continue to be critical factors moving forward in the next phases of Dubai’s digital transformation.”

The momentum created by smart solutions from both government and private sector 
organizations, including the likes of Dubai Municipality, Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Police and Cisco have helped the city in its efforts to achieve smartest city in the world status.

The report states: “By the beginning of 2016, Dubai’s smart city project, which started almost three years ago, had a complete set of legal infrastructure and organizational structures in place to help it in the remainder of its challenging journey.” 

The report highlights crucial numbers that Dubai has achieved towards its stated goals of digital transformation:

 The country is ranked 32nd in the UN’s ICT Development Index and 23rd in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Networked Readiness Index 

 Internet penetration in the UAE stands at above 90 percent, while penetration of  mobile subscriptions is nearly 117 percent

 Close to 70 percent of the population is active on social media across all walks of 
life

“With its advanced technological infrastructures, proactive government promotion of digital and ‘smart’ approaches, the society in the UAE has truly adopted a digital lifestyle,” the report states.

The report further points out that issues arising out of collaboration, public concerns of privacy and security, and the urgent need to step-up skills and capacity are among the key challenges that have emerged in the first phase of implementing the Smart City strategy. It also emphasizes that implementation of the next phase of development will have to be carried out in a much faster and more structured manner. 

Xxx, said: “While we are confident about achieving our goal, the challenge going forward will be to continue to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation. It will require Dubai to constantly re-invent itself by aligning its governance system with public needs in an era when every aspect of our lives will be defined by the digital landscape.”

Furthermore, the author has calculated the potential impact of Smart Dubai. Once fully realized, it is expected “to enhance the lives of around 25 million people who live in the city or interact with it each year. Moreover, by 2020, the city expects to welcome 50 million visitors as it prepares to host Expo 2020. This is a massive increase of more than 240 percent of visitors in just four years.”

Also, in the context of Dubai, it is estimated that the value of Internet of Things (IoT) applications alone will contribute around US$1.17 billion to the public sector by 2019. For the private sector in Dubai meanwhile, the estimated value of IoT has been projected at around US$3.7 billion by 2019. Such numbers are likely to have a substantial regional impact.

Commending Dubai’s tradition of tolerance and inclusiveness, the report points out: “Currently, more than 180 nationalities already live and work in Dubai with the overwhelming majority of the population being expatriates, making the city multicultural par excellence. This philosophy of inclusiveness and equality was engendered in Smart Dubai’s norms and operational culture from the very top.”

It was on the March 4 2014 that the Smart Dubai’s strategic plan was officially launched. The strategic plan included six dimensions: economy, governance, environment, living, mobility and people. Underlying all of it was its mission to accomplish a model of sustainable development that would create public value.