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Dubai: Inside one of the world’s smartest smart cities

From automated lighting systems that serve as platforms for environmental and traffic sensors to internet-connected trash bins that measure waste levels to optimize the collection process while further providing concealment for wireless infrastructure, internet of things technologies are helping shape smart cities around the world.  Let’s take a look at one of the smartest smart cities in the world to get a sense of how the IoT is serving to streamline municipal processes and improving quality-of-life for the people that live, work and play in urban areas.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, generally speaking, goes big, and its ambitions to become one of the world’s leading smart cities, guided by a government developed master plan that emphasizes public-private partnerships, is no exception.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority is working with Philips Lighting to integrate new lighting infrastructure into the city’s hard infrastructure.

Chinese ICT vendor Huawei is working with Dubai Civil Defense to develop smart city solutions to leverage cloud computing and cloud data centers, software-defined networking (SDN), big data, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), unified communications, intelligent video surveillance and other technologies.

Dubai Civil Defense is focusing on the development of its e-services which provides online service access to vendors, contractors and business partners to support their operations.

Huawei has recently announced the launch of OpenLab Dubai, with the main aim of providing innovative solutions for IoT, cloud computing, big data, intelligent analysis, eLTE, converged communications and other new technologies.

The new facility will focus on the development of public safety, smart city, oil and gas solutions.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Philips Lighting Export to implement smart lighting initiatives in the emirate. Maitha bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency, said, “The research from both parties will commission feasibility studies taking into consideration investment and operational aspects that meet road safety standards and the stipulations of the Smart Dubai initiative.”

The Smart Dubai project is based on four pillars geared toward, “Making experiences more seamless, safe, efficient and impactful,” according to the Smart Dubai website.

Consider what’s happening in the Dubai Design District, a development dedicated to fashion retailers and design-related startups among other tenants. The area, referred to as d3, is home to 21 smart initiatives undertaken in partnership with RTA and Dubai Electric and Water Authority.

Dr Aisha bin Bashr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “Our vision for the smart city is about making Dubai the happiest city in the world. There isn’t any one city in the world that claims to have checked all the boxes of being smart, nor emphasized the importance for people’s happiness. Dubai Design District aims to improve the quality-of -life of its residents and visitors. Built in close collaboration with several government entities, d3 is a greenfield benchmark for districts around the world, showcasing smart initiatives designed to improve the experiences of its visitors, tenants and business partners.”

Specific projects include smart parking, smart energy meters, waste management and security.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Huawei is working with Dubai Police on a long-term initiative for the implementation of public safety technology as part of the larger smart city project ongoing in Dubai. Under the terms of the agreement, Huawei and Dubai Police will work together to identify how Huawei solutions can be deployed to aid in crime prevention and reduction as well as improve road safety by reducing incidents of accidents and fatalities. Just this week Dubai Police unveiled an autonomous patrol vehicle to “hunt for unusual activity, all the while scanning crowds for potential persons of interest to police and known criminals,” according to a report in Gulf News.

And, in May, the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority announced the Dubai Smart City Accelerator to help startups develop smart technologies, Khaleej Times reports. Beyond the new accelerator, the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority is itself a smart city enabler in that it provides a government-owned free zone, built on smart infrastructure, and designed to enable technology-focused businesses.





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