Qatar to Host Arab Future Cities Summit for Second Year Running

It has been announced that the Arab Future Cities Summit will be held for the second year running in Doha, Qatar at the St. Regis Hotel on 22-23 April, 2013. The 2012 event saw over 300 delegates gather to discuss strategies to create smart, sustainable cities, and the 2013 version is expected to be even bigger. Under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Khalifa Al Thani; the Minister for Municipality and Urban Planning in the State of Qatar, the Summit will provide a platform for city leaders, government officials, academics, urban service providers and city development experts to share experiences and best practice for the implementation of smart cities.

Presentations from local and international industry superstars will draw attention to transport, urban development, building and green spaces projects with a ‘smart’ twist and case studies will describe the experiences of leading smart cities including Barcelona and Amsterdam. Middle Eastern projects such as Qatar Energy City, King Abullah Economic City Saudi Arabia, Ziggurat Project Dubai, Knowledge Economic City Madinah and Prince Abdulaziz bin Mousaed City Saudi Arabia will also be examined at the event.

In its inaugural year the Arab Future Cities Summit was recognized as one of the most influential infrastructure events in the region. “It’s a great chance to learn a lot about the latest trends in thinking and planning for smart cities in the Arab region and globally as well”, Nidal Abdul-Rahman Taibah – Director of Urban Planning & Development at the Economic Cities Authority SAGIA KSA. Essa Al Maidoor – President of the Society of Engineers UAE, stated that “the Summit is very good because it brings experts from different parts of the world, and from different backgrounds and fields which will enhance the people in charge of developing the cities, especially terms of sustainable measures, which guarantees us prevention methods to improve the cities of the future”. Dr. Wajdi Ahmad, Technical Marketing & Solutions Director-Qatar Civil, GE Lighting, was another high profile delegate in attendance this year, and labeled the event as one the best he had ever attended, addressing the burning issues in the region.

As the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup which is expected to draw around half a million visitors, the government of Qatar has outlined a plan to spend $100 billion on infrastructure projects as part of the country’s ambitious National Vision 2030 strategy. Mega projects proposed in the plan are primarily in the transportation, health, tourism, education and housing sectors, and include a US$25bn metro and rail network expected to be completed by 2026. Businesses looking to expand into the State of Qatar are using the Summit as an opening into the competitive market, and an opportunity to network with other decision-makers in the infrastructure and urban development sectors. Urbiotica sponsored the 2012 event to grow their company into the global market. “The quality of the delegates is very high and also an international group which is good for a company whose ambition is to become international”, Dr. Irene Compte – Executive Director, Urbiotica.

Qatar is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies, boasting the world’s highest levels of per capita income and hydrocarbon reserves which offer a unique situation for long term growth. Nevertheless, Qatar is facing major environmental challenges in achieving water security, reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy-efficiency, and Municipalities and organizations are taking particular interest in coordinating efforts to protect natural resources and develop strategies to promote sustainable development. Smart and sustainable urban planning involves the creation of urban communities that provide livability, equity and vitality based on the protection of natural systems for the long term benefit of all. This includes city ecosystems, fiber optic networks, ICT infrastructure and combined local resource management, and will be one of the key areas of discussion at the Summit.

The US$25bn Doha Metro 85km railway network is one of the transport projects planned to connect urban and rural landscapes and reduce Qatar’s pollution and congestion. Smart transport is a concept which will see enhanced mobility of people and goods, a personalized user experience, and reduced carbon emissions. Also on the agenda will be talks on smart buildings which incorporate intelligent information infrastructure into building architecture to achieve greater efficiency and discussion on boosting citizen participation and creativity. Topics will be covered through a mixture of presentations, case studies, panel discussions and round table discussions over the course of two days.

Expotrade Global is again the organizer of the event, which is now one of the most patronized in the calendar. After such a successful inaugural year the Summit is expected to attract more interest from industry professionals and solution providers. “Very pleasant and helpful team who were proactive in establishing contact at the right level between the delegates and the sponsors” was a comment by Samir Al-Arof, Sr. Segment Manager – Outdoor at Philips, one of the key sponsors of the 2012 Summit. Expotrade Global, based in Melbourne and Dubai, is a leading conference and event organizer with some of the most renowned B2B conferences in the infrastructure, IT, mining and resources, sustainability, banking, lighting and energy sectors.

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Middle East Smart Lighting Event Hailed a Major Success

Eng. Abdullah Al Shamsi

His Excellency Eng. Abdullah Saeed Al-Shamsi
Executive Director, Municipal Infrastructure and Assets

The Middle East Smart Lighting & Energy Summit is being termed ‘the leading lighting event’ after hundreds of high caliber delegates and sponsors from over 20 countries convened in Abu Dhabi to see presentations from some of the top names in the lighting world and VIP’s from the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City. In a region looking to drive the evolution of smart lighting and sustainable practices the event provided a platform for key stakeholders in the lighting industry to connect and discuss the upcoming plans and strategies to ensure a superior living environment and protect natural resources.

Delegates and press filled the venue for presentations from His Excellency Eng. Abdullah Saeed Al-Shamsi – Executive Director, Municipal Infrastructure and Assets, Martin Valentine – Lighting Expert for the Municipality and also Mona Rizk – Project Development Consultant at the Parks & Recreational Facilities Division who released the latest information about the upcoming projects and developments planned for the Abu Dhabi region. Attendees hoping to learn of new business opportunities and projects were overwhelmed with information from the Municipality, and lighting industry experts including Paul Brown – Managing Director at Ironbark Sustainability Australia, Holley Chant – Corporate Sustainability Director at KEO International Consultants and Barry Hannaford – Director at DPA Lighting who shared case-studies and research exclusively at the event. Khaled Al Junadi, Environment and Energy-Efficiency Expert for the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City described the organization and activities as “very relevant in enhancing the way forward”.

An ‘Exhibitor Lounge’ provided the ideal situation for CEO’s, GM’s, VP’s and senior executives in attendance to network with leading lighting solution providers including Diamond Sponsor Samsung, and major players GE Lighting, Philips, OWLS AG, Flashnet, Cooper Lighting, RUUD Lighting, OSRAM, iGuzzini and Econyx. Not only were new business contacts made, but many of the exhibitors managed to close deals on the day and secure vital business in the fast growing market. Mohammad Fashafshy – Managing Director of Light & Control summed his experience up by saying “we made some great contacts and closed some good deals; a great success”. Tarek Zakaria, ABB Regional Manager for MEA region also found the networking opportunities invaluable; “It was a very good event from both sides – the first to meet our customers and consultants to increase our product awareness, and secondly we are very satisfied to meet a lot of new consultants to provide the latest technology systems and lighting control solutions”.

The agenda included speeches from a range of local experts, and also specialists who had flown internationally to present at the event. Sustainable lighting design was covered in depth by leading architects and designers which included Christopher Brown – Vice President, Practice Leader Architecture at HOK, George Kenich – Head of Infrastructure & MEP at ALDAR Properties and Wael Al Awar – Principal Architect & Founding Partner at Ibda Design who presented case-studies on some of the worlds most distinguished lighting projects.


Street lighting was the major topic of discussion on day two, with Paul Brown sharing his experiences on street lighting replacement programs in Australia, Zamil Al-Shammari – Lighting Maintenance Manager at Riyadh Municipality speaking on the inteliLIGHT remote management system deployed in Saudi Arabia and a research perspective on LED’s from Dr. Riad Sariji – Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at the UAE University. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet professionals and leaders in the field of smart lighting and energy and to interact with them, exchanging technical information and experiences”, said Alfred Elghoul – Electrical Department Manager at Arabtec Construction.

The panel discussions sparked debate and intrigue amongst attendees with Matthew Plumbridge – Consultant, Environment and Sustainability Planning at the Department of Municipal Affairs for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Paul Bierman-Lytle – Executive Director of Sustainability at iMCC GREEN attending solely to participate on a panel. Delegates had their opportunity to think up strategic solutions to challenges in sustainable lighting during the roundtable discussions. Value-added services and functionalities were brainstormed and solutions were also found for ensuring energy-efficient approaches to lighting design and ways to comply with standardization, certification and regulation of lighting systems. “We are always looking for these kinds of meetings which help us in developing our country”, said Noura Saleh Al Ameri, Principal Engineer for the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City.

Event organizers Expotrade Global are very pleased with the level of interest and participation in sustainable lighting. “Delegates, sponsors and speakers from nations including Middle East, UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Germany, Romania have used the event as a platform to network, learn, share ideas and discover new technologies as smart lighting becomes increasingly important to municipalities and organizations looking to reduce their carbon footprint and protect natural resources. The event has been very rewarding and constructive, we look forward to seeing the developments at next years Summit”, says Jo Ann Jain – Director at Expotrade Global. Expotrade Global has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events in infrastructure, mining & resources, banking, IT, sustainability, urban development and lighting & energy fields.