Smart city drive – Dubai government services now online

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Picture: Imran Saddique
Picture: Imran Saddique

Dubai has seen a lot of smart city announcements over the last couple of years as its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, plans to turn the emirate into the “smartest city in the world”. His self-imposed deadline of implementing smart government services ended yesterday with the news that 337 government departments (96 per cent) have transitioned to e-formats. News that will be sweet to the ears of those used to waiting patiently for hours in queues at government centers across the emirate or those behind the desk dealing with mountains of paperwork.

This is a considerable achievement considering only ten months ago during the inaugural Smart Living City event in Dubai most if not all of the government agencies were still in the process of finalising their strategies. To have within a short space of time rolled out many smart services with a high level of user adoption has been no small feat. The approach of taking on technology at breakneck pace has not always worked; For example, the highly publicised launch of Google Glass by Dubai Municipality at Gitex to be used by inspectors took place just shortly before the product was completely binned by Google. Hence the smart government task-force was created to lead the strategy and bring together the agencies for a unified approach which was praised by the ruler. He called the transition a success but laid down more markers for 2018 aiming at a high adoption rate of 80 per cent for smart services as well as for user satisfaction, aligned with the vision of a smart city being a “happy city” that would be reflected on the “happiness index meters”.

The question asked by many of whether the city is moving at a faster pace than its inhabitants, as well as the education process was mentioned by the ruler,  “The most important change that was taking place over the two past years was the change of mentality, the culture of government services and its archaic definition,” Sheikh Mohammad said. “Today, delivery of services no longer relies on buildings and thousands of employees but on advanced systems and innovative minds. In the near future, we will see yet bigger and faster changes.”

Picture: Imran Saddique
Picture: Imran Saddique

In line with this statement, government departments including Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) and others have launched their own smart initiatives, apps and various smart programmes including free WiFi in public parks, electric charging stations, solar-powered panels in houses, smart meters.

What may we see in the near future? Well, the Road Transportation Authority (RTA) will be piloting a smart rental initiative, a system known with bicycles across European and US cities for short term rental at pick-up and drop-off points, which will be used by Dubai for automobiles. Studies conducted by RTA experts on best practices have suggested the scheme will reduce ownership of private vehicles, curb congestion and reduce carbon emissions.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, explained “The RTA is currently mulling three models of smart rental. The first is a two-way rental model; where a person will collect the car from a specific location (near a public transport station) and the car has to be delivered back after use to the same location. The second is a one-way rental model; where a car will be collected from one location and delivered to another location. The third model is station vehicles; where a number of users will share the same vehicle. The RTA is planning to offer the project to private companies in the near future,”

These are themes that will be central to the Dubai Expo 2020 and it can be expected to see further smart technologies and projects being implemented closer to that crucial year.

 

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Picture: Imran Saddique

Dubai has seen a lot of smart city announcements over the last couple of years as its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, plans to turn the emirate into the “smartest city in the world”. His self-imposed deadline of implementing smart government services ended yesterday with the news that 337 government departments (96 per cent) have transitioned to e-formats. News that will be sweet to the ears of those used to waiting patiently for hours in queues at government centers across the emirate or those behind the desk dealing with mountains of paperwork.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Picture: Imran Saddique
Picture: Imran Saddique

Dubai has seen a lot of smart city announcements over the last couple of years as its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, plans to turn the emirate into the “smartest city in the world”. His self-imposed deadline of implementing smart government services ended yesterday with the news that 337 government departments (96 per cent) have transitioned to e-formats. News that will be sweet to the ears of those used to waiting patiently for hours in queues at government centers across the emirate or those behind the desk dealing with mountains of paperwork.

This is a considerable achievement considering only ten months ago during the inaugural Smart Living City event in Dubai most if not all of the government agencies were still in the process of finalising their strategies. To have within a short space of time rolled out many smart services with a high level of user adoption has been no small feat. The approach of taking on technology at breakneck pace has not always worked; For example, the highly publicised launch of Google Glass by Dubai Municipality at Gitex to be used by inspectors took place just shortly before the product was completely binned by Google. Hence the smart government task-force was created to lead the strategy and bring together the agencies for a unified approach which was praised by the ruler. He called the transition a success but laid down more markers for 2018 aiming at a high adoption rate of 80 per cent for smart services as well as for user satisfaction, aligned with the vision of a smart city being a “happy city” that would be reflected on the “happiness index meters”.

The question asked by many of whether the city is moving at a faster pace than its inhabitants, as well as the education process was mentioned by the ruler,  “The most important change that was taking place over the two past years was the change of mentality, the culture of government services and its archaic definition,” Sheikh Mohammad said. “Today, delivery of services no longer relies on buildings and thousands of employees but on advanced systems and innovative minds. In the near future, we will see yet bigger and faster changes.”

Picture: Imran Saddique
Picture: Imran Saddique

In line with this statement, government departments including Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) and others have launched their own smart initiatives, apps and various smart programmes including free WiFi in public parks, electric charging stations, solar-powered panels in houses, smart meters.

What may we see in the near future? Well, the Road Transportation Authority (RTA) will be piloting a smart rental initiative, a system known with bicycles across European and US cities for short term rental at pick-up and drop-off points, which will be used by Dubai for automobiles. Studies conducted by RTA experts on best practices have suggested the scheme will reduce ownership of private vehicles, curb congestion and reduce carbon emissions.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, explained “The RTA is currently mulling three models of smart rental. The first is a two-way rental model; where a person will collect the car from a specific location (near a public transport station) and the car has to be delivered back after use to the same location. The second is a one-way rental model; where a car will be collected from one location and delivered to another location. The third model is station vehicles; where a number of users will share the same vehicle. The RTA is planning to offer the project to private companies in the near future,”

These are themes that will be central to the Dubai Expo 2020 and it can be expected to see further smart technologies and projects being implemented closer to that crucial year.

 

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