The UAE is investing heavily in digital economy as it seeks to diversify and build a knowledge economy with reduced reliance on oil and gas.
The precursor to this is the Dubai Smart City initiative that aims to transform the emirate into a leading global Smart City over the next few years.
The strategy includes over 100 initiatives and a plan to transform 1000 government services into smart services.
According to Cisco, Dubai’s public and private sector IT market is valued at $4.87bn over the next five years, including a public sector opportunity of $1.17bn.
The initiative aims to encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors to achieve targets in six key pillars: smart life, smart transportation, smart society, smart economy, smart governance and smart environment.
These areas will be brought together on a single connected, integrated and collaborative Smart City platform, with input from the government agencies, businesses and Dubai’s citizens.
At the core of the Smart City concept is development of innovative capabilities, and the government has implemented a number of strategies to promote innovation.
The UAE’s National Innovation Strategy requires all government agencies to cut spending by 1% and dedicate the savings to research and innovation.
The strategy also includes campaigns such as an innovation week and innovation prizes to raise awareness and foster entrepreneurial ideas.
A new Dh2 billion fund was recently announced to provide financing for startups and to support them in transforming ideas into projects. The Ministry of Finance will guarantee commercial loans to finance projects, and draw in support from commercial banks and investment funds.
Introduced in October last year, the Dubai Open Data Law sets out the terms for increased sharing of non-confidential information between government agencies and the public. It will make the data accessible to researchers, investors and service developers via an integrated platform, and create opportunities for collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has embarked on a programme to integrate its traffic and transportation systems through a single, unified traffic control centre. The traffic control system uses a series of detectors buried in the road surface to measure the traffic flow and a central computer then uses this data to vary the signal timings in real-time to improve the progression of traffic through the network and reduce congestion.
Through mobile apps, residents will be able to monitor electricity and water consumption, tailor utility usage to their needs and reduce wastage.
Dubai is continuing its efforts to digitalise its services, creating greater efficiency and better customer-centric service delivery. Over 95% of Dubai’s most important government services have been made available on mobile devices.
“The Dubai Smart Government Strategy 2014-2017 focuses on smart connected services, lean administration, an open government and an enabling environment with our new vision to be a world class smart government for the 21st century,” said Ahmed Bin Humaidan, Director General of Dubai Smart Government.