The Dubai Smart City initiative was announced in 2013 and has already impacted the lives of visitors and residents alike. The project has 6 pillars; transport, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services, and urban planning. Eventually almost all government services will be managed online.
Free wifi is available in many of Dubai’s public spaces including malls, parks, and beaches. We are yet to see 100% city-wide coverage but as the UAE’s temperature restricts most outdoor movement to vehicles, concentrating on destinations first makes sense.
This image is of a wifi port at Dubai’s most popular free beach. It is shaped like a palm tree and offers a degree of shade as well as internet connectivity.
Tesla vehicles are available in the UAE but Tesla wasn’t the first brand to enter the electric market. For a number of years the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, to name just two, have been available and since 2015 the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has installed approximately 200 charging stations for electric vehicles. As there is no road tax in the UAE it is difficult for the government to incentivise car buyers to move away from petrol vehicles, but for those with a desire to make the switch the infrastructure is in place and is constantly being developed.
Road users, whichever type of car they use, will soon be able to monitor available car parking spaces and receive live traffic updates on their phone.
This image is the car par of a park in Dubai which uses solar panels to create shading. The park also contains charging stations for electric vehicles; energy generated by the solar panels powers the park’s lights and the automated cleaning system for the panels themselves.
The Gulf News
Makani, which is the Arabic word for place, is a Google Map style address system for the UAE. As the UAE has developed its address system has not kept pace with areas and streets often referred to with nicknames rather than by their actual names. As one example, ‘National Paints’ is an area on the Dubai Sharjah border and is called so thanks to the company of the same name headquartered there. The area is actually the intersection of Industrial Area 10, Industrial Area 13, Industrial Area 15, and Muwailih Commercial – but if you say National Paints everyone knows where you mean.
Makani is a system which allows for the storage of information relating to a property or group of properties to enable the municipality to faster access the data they need to undertake maintenance tasks. Each Makani is identified by a number and QR code found on a plaque outside the building/compound. This address system is still in its infancy but looks to be very efficient long-term for government, businesses, and private residents.
Dubai has been very vocal about its desire to use blockchain technology to enhance the lives of residents and visitors. Dubai has said that day to day tasks which require documentation, such as utility payments, visa renewals, and licensing forms, amount to approximately 100 million documents a year; most of which need to be signed and stamped by more than one person.
In addition to local documentation, Dubai hopes to work with international partners to smooth the entry and exit process for the more than 70 million passengers who use Dubai International Airport each year. This could include pre-screening of travellers in their home countries making passport control in Dubai a far simpler process. Dubai also hopes that blockchain technology will give rise to a new wave of tech companies in the country.
Many government services can already be accessed via smartphone apps. It is possible to pay internet and electricity bills, traffic fines, and more. You can find schools and hospitals and there is even an app which records grocery prices in large supermarkets. Dubai hopes that by creating an app infrastructure for almost every aspect of work and life, and then offering free wifi throughout the city, that people in Dubai will have more time to dedicate to being happy – which is one of Dubai’s goals…seriously.
Expo 2020 Dubai is an unequalled opportunity for companies to establish operations during the creation of a city. If your company works in a field related to technology, particularly the Internet of Things or large scale infrastructure, please contact us.