Global Smart City Initiatives Top DIAC Education Forum Agenda

11 June 2015

Networking event discussed ways to help transform Dubai into a ‘smart’ and sustainable city.

In an effort to support Dubai’s ongoing Smart City initiative, this year’s Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) Education Forum focused on the Emirate’s Smart City 2021 plan. The annual networking event brings together government officials, leading university faculty members, and private sector professionals.

The race for Dubai to become a Smart City has accelerated the need for all sectors to work together towards a strategic vision. This blueprint, set by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, features six key pillars as well as 100 initiatives across multiple sectors including transport, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services, and urban planning, with 1,000 government services expected to become ‘Smart’ within the next three years.

As part of the event, the key findings of a study commissioned by DIAC and conducted by the post-graduate students from SP Jain School of Global Management were presented and discussed. The study identified a number of environmental issues facing the Emirate and offered a range of smart solutions that have been adopted by cities around the world.

The forum brought together a panel of high level experts from education, industry and government to discuss the highlights of the research report: Prof. Christopher Abraham, Senior Vice President, SP Jain School of Management; Mr. Safder Nazir, Regional Vice President, Smart Cities and IoT, Huawei; and Shadi Khoja, Director of Strategy, Smart City Dubai.

Commenting on the launch of the research report, Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director, Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village, said: “Research is an integral step on the path towards becoming an innovation-led economy, and this is an excellent example as to how it can be applied. Dubai’s Smart City 2021 vision requires cross-sector input from industry, education, and government. It is extremely encouraging to see such proactive initiatives and collaboration between Universities and DIAC to utilise the vast research capabilities that students possess for the good of the public interest.”

The student study examined Dubai’s Smart City 2021 ambition from an angle of sustainability and presented potential solutions. These included: curbing pollution and respiratory particles in the city; desalination of water through a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach; and sewage treatment to reduce Dubai’s carbon footprint while reducing the chemical treatment process.

As part of the research process, students carried out a survey to gauge public perception on specific aspects Dubai needs to focus on. More than 75 per cent of respondents agreed that Smart Transportation is a key area, while 60 per cent consider Smart Recycling Plants to be the most important factor. The survey also indicated that Dubai’s citizens believe that they should play an integral role in making the Smart City vision a reality.

Prof. Christopher Abraham, Head of Dubai Campus, Senior Vice President Institutional Development, SP Jain School of Global Management UAE, added, “A fully integrated and sustainable community developed through collaboration, innovation, and technology is what is required for Dubai to become a Smart City. It is important that we take into account what other global centres are doing or have done to enhance their Smart City profile, and it is interesting to see what this research has uncovered. This project has proved to be very insightful, and I very much look forward to more great research results from SP Jain’s students in the future.”