Gitex Technology Week is living up to its promises with an array of smart technologies and applications on display, with government bodies driving the bulk of the smart city initiatives following last year’s announcement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE to transform Dubai into a smart city.
With wide investment in Smart Technology, the region’s ICT market is set to jump from a projected $15 billion in 2014 to $20 billion in 2020 according to IDC. Figures are boosted by infrastructure spending in the government sector, and a visit to the Gitex Sheikh Saeed exhibition halls, hosting 37 Dubai government departments demonstrating the latest services apps, attests that the public sector is without a doubt the largest and fastest growing vertical market in the region.
As the Dubai Smart Government Department aims to present the city of the future at Gitex 2014, visitors can take a live tour and explore a number of new smart government services. Dubai Customs is making its services available on smart watches for users to access all services including make a Request for Client Registration, Request for Guarantees / Deposits Claims and Refunds, Request for a Customs License, and Request for a Certificate via the hi-tech device.
In public transport, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is not resting on its laurels after the launch of its NFC public transit ticketing system last year, it is now complementing the existing system with NFC Nol transport stickers that can be placed on the back of handsets to turn them into NFC phones and scanned at public transport boarding points.
RTA also unveiled on the first day of the show its new Smart Road and update Smart Parking apps, which enable commuters to pre-plan their trips by providing real-time information about road traffic conditions, as well as sharing real time information on parking space availability.
Dubai Police announced they will be using monitoring devices placed at handicapped parking spots in Dubai to fine violators. The monitoring device, which is fitted with a sensor, a video, a still camera, 3G internet and a warning device, will sound an alarm for 20 seconds if the car is not registered for parking in the spot.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is presenting smart grid and smart metering solutions and plans the construction of the infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO of DEWA emphasized that all the initiatives will contribute significantly and effectively to providing quality services to all Dubai’s residents and visitors by using the best technologies to diversify the energy mix and support green economy and sustainable development of the Emirate.
Furthermore, Google glasses are also on the map and are being used by the Dubai Police, who is showcasing more than 20 of their smart services.
At the end of a busy first day, visitors who have spent time in the government hall can only confirm that the UAE is a serious player when it comes to implementing new technology and that at this pace, Dubai is definitely turning itself into a Smart City and is delivering to its promises!