The quest for ‘Smart Cities’ is on.

In a recent panel discussion on day one of the Knowledge Summit 2016, organized by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, the topic was ‘Future Cities’. The entire theme of the summit was a focused on ‘Knowledge… Present and Future’. The summit brought together industry leaders, prominent ministers, and eminent personalities, who discussed the way forward in terms of boosting production and dissemination of knowledge.

Saeed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) introduced a number of projects for the future that revolved around greener and more efficient technologies. “The authority’s efforts adhered to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which calls to make clean energy account for 75% of total energy in Dubai. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the largest solar power plants in the world; it produces 4,000 MW of power at a total cost of Dhs50 billion and contributes to reducing carbon emissions. One of the most important elements in the development of smart cities is the cooperation between all relevant authorities to improve in all services – particularly, the interaction between the public and private sectors.” Al Tayer noted.
Dr Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Director-General of the Smart Dubai Office said, “There is no one definition for smart cities. Each city saw a set of challenges to address and adopted a set of technologies to face them. For us, a smart city is a city that offers an easy and satisfying experience for its residents. No institution can build a smart city on its own; public and private organisations must work together. In Dubai, we have reached a stage where 89% of customers report being satisfied with government services. We are now providing 55 services, all of which can be accessed from one app – DubaiNow.”

And finally, Vivek Wadhwa, Academic Researcher, Writer, and Entrepreneur stated, “Technology is progressing exponentially; everything tech touches goes on an exponential curve. What we carry around in our pockets today would’ve cost millions of dollars and weighed over 100 pounds just 30 or 40 years ago. The takeaway from this would be that smart cities could be built inexpensively.”

 

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