United Arab Emirates, Dubai: Under the patronage of Dubai corporation of Ambulance services along with the students of the College of Information Technology, American University in the Emirates hosted the Smart Cities Forum on 26th November 2018. The forum included some of the most respected names in the country; with the presence of Prof. Muthanna Ghani Abdul Razzaq, President of the American University in the Emirates, Dr. Saeed Al Dhaheri Chairman of SMART World, Eng. Muammar Al-Kathiri, Former Director General of the Emirates Identity Authority, Ms. Lina Yousif Al Mulla,Executive Vice President, Department of Engineering and Smart City, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Faculty members, as well as a number of participants and students.
Professor Muthanna Ghani Abdul Razzaq explained the importance of these forums. "Our commitment to this forum springs from the vision and dream of the UAE. In October 2013 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai announced that the plans are to transform Dubai into a ‘smart city’ in order to provide smooth services to public. And soon in March 2014, the strategy was formulated to focus on six key pillars and around 100 initiatives.”
“The 6 key pillars and 100 initiatives on transport, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services, urban planning. Smart City is using ICTs to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, improve quality of government services and make life easier for the citizens." he added.
The forum entailed an explanation of smart cities and the concept of “Digital City” which relies on ICT infrastructure, such as automated managed traffic systems, advanced security management services, building management systems and automation of offices and homes services. The Smart Cities can either be a new city designed and built smartly or the gradual transformation of a traditional city to a smart one. Many cities around the world have launched similar projects for smart cities. In addition to Dubai, New York, Tokyo and Amsterdam are also expected to model similar strategies over the next ten years.
The Forum highlighted the top most tasks and purpose of a Smart City. ICT infrastructure is one of the most important aspects for the success and effectiveness of a smart city. Eng. Muammar Al Katheeri has unveiled the Silicon Park project to be the first project in a smart city in Dubai Silicon Oasis to be opened in the first quarter of 2019 at a cost of AED 1.3 billion, with 150,000 square meters of which 71,000 square meters are office space, 46 000 square meters residential area, 112 business hotels and 59 furnished apartments. Silicon Park is designed to match the strategic direction of the Government of Dubai on smart cities that focus on 6 pillars: life, society, mobility, economy, governance and the environment.
As Dubai has always sought to be one of the smartest and most successful cities in the world, it is also commendable that the forum shed light on the Volkswagen initiative. With the slogan "Time to make our roads more humane", the students aimed to draw attention of people to extra safety on the roads, efficient use of cars and safer journeys.