Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
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Zeus Kerravala | December 10, 2015 |


IoT Heats Up Smart Dubai

IoT Heats Up Smart Dubai On a mission to become the smartest of all cities, Dubai employs state-of-the-art Internet of Things technology, real-time UC&C, and wireless networks.

On a mission to become the smartest of all cities, Dubai employs state-of-the-art Internet of Things technology, real-time UC&C, and wireless networks.

In the UC&C industry, this week all eyes have been on San Francisco, where Cisco is wrapping up its eighth-annual Collaboration Summit. I, however, am writing from rather different corner of the world (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), where I'd been immersing myself in a complementary technology (IoT), at another Cisco event -- its third-annual Internet of Things World Forum. And there I learned how organizations are using IoT to transform their businesses.

Dubai was a great host city for the three-day event, given its plans not just to become one of many smart cities, but the smartest of them all. This is fitting for a city that made a landmark statement by building the tallest building in the world and that has become a hot spot for tourism over the past several years.

Dubai cityscape

Dubai's smart city vision begins with its ruler, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. In 2013, he laid out his plans for Smart Dubai, a project intended to improve the quality of life for residents and enhance the tourist experience by using IoT technology to deliver education, healthcare, and other services.

A logical assumption is that most of Dubai's revenue comes from oil production, but oil really only accounts for about 5% of the city's income. Tourism, on the other hand, now accounts for more than 30% of income, so creating an unparalleled connected experience goes a long way into getting people to come back. Dubai will be hosting World Expo 2020, and with that as an additional impetus the goal is to make Dubai the world's smartest city 2017.

You can find hundreds of smart city initiatives underway across the globe, but Dubai's measures of success are unique. Most of the other smart city plans I have heard focus on efficiency, revenue generation, or safety. Dubai's measure of success, however, will be the happiness of its citizens.

"Our ambition for this project is to touch the life of every individual in our country; every mother in her home, employee in his work, investor in his project, child in school, or doctor in his clinic. Our aim is a happier life for all," said Sheikh Mohammad.

Dubai's plans for the smart city project and improved happiness cuts across six dimensions: economic growth, governance and transparency of information; a culture of inclusion for the people of the city; improving quality of life; seamless mobility; and environmental resource efficiency. The number six certainly seems manageable, but in fact Dubai has more than 100 individual initiatives underway across segments like transportation, communications, public services, urban planning, and more.

I'm certainly not going to go through each initiative, but I've highlighted a few here to illustrate what "smart city" means to Dubai.

Click to the next page for a look at Dubai's connected police, parking and transportation initiatives, plus more


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