Leading smart cities event draws huge crowd to Doha, Qatar

Ali Al Khayat

Attracting in the region of 500 registered delegates from over 20 countries, government dignitaries, urban development experts and the world’s leading smart city technology firms to showcase their solutions, the Arab Future Cities Summit has secured its place as the leading smart cities event in the region.

Held last week at the St. Regis Doha in Qatar, the 2nd annual event brought together key public and private stakeholders including city planners, ambassadors, green building experts, technology thought-leaders and investors to discuss the development of smart cities in the Middle East.

Under the patronage of Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, delegates and press filled the venue for the inauguration by His Excellency Rashed Saed Al Naimi, Director of Al Rayyan Municipality, and for the opening presentation of the Qatar National Masterplan by the Municipality’s Senior Urban Planning Researcher Ali Al Khayat.

“There are lots of projects lined up for the coming years but the priority for us now is to prepare the regulation and zoning maps, which will help determine what types of buildings are to be built including commercial buildings,” said Al Khayat.

“The latest update will focus on sustainable designs in every sphere of infrastructural development, be it roads, transportation systems or other public utility systems”.

Qatar’s Ministry for Municipality and Urban Planning has earmarked more than US$140 billion for mega projects across the energy, transport, education, health and tourism sectors, much of which is expected to be completed in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Presentations from a variety of smart city experts including Christopher Sorensen, Global Strategic Partnerships at Masdar, Robert Lee, CEO at Bahrain Bay Development, Eng. Meshal Al-Shamari, Director of Qatar Green Building Council and Graham Bodell, Director of Transport Planning at Atkins Qatar kept the audience engaged across the 2-day event.

Key international speakers included Manel Sanroma, CIO at Barcelona City Council and Volker Schaffler, Project Manager at TINA VIENNA Technologies & Strategies GmbH in Vienna who shared some European smart city successes and green policy with the largely MENA based audience.

Summit highlights included panel discussions and the roundtable sessions, which saw delegates brainstorm solutions to challenges faced by Arab Cities. Seven BlackBerry phones were also won in a lucky-draw on Day Two.

The Future Cities Lounge showcased cutting-edge city technology from leading urban technology companies including IBM, Philips, Thales, Schneider Electric, Microsoft, SAP and Blackberry, all eager to get involved in the mega projects planned for the region.

Commenting on smart city development at the Summit was Sean Patrick O’Brien, Vice President, Urban & Public Security at SAP, and one of the keynote speakers.

“Rapid urbanization demands sustainable growth, smarter economies and, most importantly, people power,” said O’Brien,

“What we need is good governance through efficient strategies, resource optimization and smarter transport grids. We need user empowerment stemming from real-time, data-driven enlightenment and a new level of transparency that helps populations connect, collaborate and prosper”.

David Burrow’s, Microsoft’s Managing Director, Government Industry for Europe, Middle East & Africa, was also a speaker at the event, and Microsoft a Gold Sponsor.

“The Arab Future Cities Summit has been a great opportunity to meet, network, share and learn”, said Burrows. “Here in the Middle East there is a lot of investment going in to the cities which makes it a great place to be.”

Organizers of the Arab Future Cities Summit expect the continued growth of the event over the next few years.

“Considering the ambitious plans for development and a growing sense of responsibility for better resource management, it is not surprising that government and industry are using the Summit as a platform for strengthening their working relationship,” said JoAnn Jain, Director at Expotrade Global.

“The Middle East is unique in the sense that it has strong visionary leadership placing significant emphasis on developing and implementing new sustainability initiatives and world-class infrastructure projects, and the Summit will continue to reflect this exciting progression”.

Melbourne to host Australia’s newest smart lighting industry event

A new event for Australia’s lighting industry will take place in Melbourne on 5 & 6 August at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. With support from City of Melbourne the Australian Smart Lighting Summit 2013 is expected to attract in the region of 200 senior-level lighting designers, architects, engineers, urban developers, sustainability experts and lighting technology manufacturers from the public and private sector eager to discuss strategies and best practices for sustainable lighting.

Well-renowned thought-leaders will give presentations on topics ranging from street lighting replacement programs and public realm lighting strategies through to architectural lighting design and the future of LED’s, and explore ways to boost the uptake of energy efficient lighting technology throughout Australia. Manufacturers of smart lighting solutions will have an opportunity to showcase their leading-edge products to key industry stakeholders at the boutique exhibitor lounge, as governments and corporations increasingly look to reduce costs and save energy with sustainable lighting technologies.

Professor Rob Adams AM, City of Melbourne’s Director of City Design, will be giving a keynote presentation about lighting and its significance in sustainable city development. Adams has over 40 years experience as an architect and urban designer, and has contributed significantly to the rejuvenation of Melbourne over the past 30 years with key projects including CH2, Australia’s first 6 star green commercial office building, Birrarung Marr, Swanston Street, City Square, Sandridge Bridge and East Melbourne Library.

Also from City of Melbourne, Ian Dryden, Team Leader Industrial Design will be presenting the City’s sustainable public lighting strategy, and Dr. Zhanna Sichivitsa, Team Leader Asset Management will speak about energy performance contracting (EPC’s).

Other speakers include Paul Brown, Managing Director of Ironbark Sustainability, who was a keynote speaker at the Middle East Smart Lighting & Energy Summit in November 2012, Steve Brown, Design Director at NDY Light and one of Australia’s most experienced lighting consultants, and Caroline Bayliss, Australian Director at The Climate Group which is currently involved in light emitting diode (LED) and intelligent control pilot programs.

Lighting represents around 12 per cent of electricity usage from households, and around 25 per cent from the commercial sector. In 2008 the Australian Government announced the phase-out of inefficient incandescent light bulbs in favour of more efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which is expected to result in savings of $380 million per year and 28 million tonnes of greenhouse case emissions by 2020.

Public street light replacement programs are being undertaken by municipalities across Australia with street lighting typically accounting for 30 – 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from local government. Challenges such as time, cost and negotiation difficulties in rolling out these projects will be among the topics discussed at the Australian Smart Lighting Summit.

Architectural lighting design plays a fundamental role in the illumination of buildings and spaces. Comprehensive lighting design requires consideration of the amount of functional light provided, the energy consumed as well as the aesthetic impact of the lighting system. Case studies at the conference will showcase projects where lighting design and energy-efficient lighting technologies such as LED’s have been integrated to achieve quality sustainable lighting.

The 2-day event will include presentations and case-studies from expert industry thought-leaders, panel discussions, and interactive roundtable sessions where attendees work together in break-out tables to discuss solutions to industry challenges. The exhibitor lounge will showcase the most intelligent lighting technology on the market, and networking sessions will allow interaction between the senior-level lighting industry attendees.

Expotrade are the organisers of the Australian Smart Lighting Summit 2013 endorsed by City of Melbourne, and the Middle East Smart Lighting & Energy Summit held under the patronage of Municipality of Abu Dhabi City. Expotrade has developed an array of top quality B2B events, delivering some of the largest conferences and summits in the infrastructure, banking and finance, information technology, sustainability, lighting and energy sectors.

For more information on the Australian Smart Lighting Summit visit www.lightingconference.com.au

Hundreds expected to attend smart city event in Doha next week

The Middle East’s most anticipated smart city event taking place at the St. Regis Doha on 22-23 April has attracted high-profile city leaders, urban planners, developers, sustainability experts and investors, along with the world’s largest technology firms eager to tap into the region’s dynamic smart city market.

According to JoAnn Jain, Director at Expotrade Global, over 500 senior-level city stakeholders have registered to attend the Arab Future Cities Summit, and some of the biggest names in smart city technology including IBM, Philips, Thales, Schneider Electric, Microsoft, SAP and Barwa Bank will be showcasing their cutting-edge technologies and solutions.

“With increasing urbanization and a greater commitment to sustainability, visionary leaders in the Middle East are now employing technology as a driving force behind societal and commercial growth”, said Jain.

“It is important that there are platforms for the public and private sector to discuss the strategies and challenges involved in developing smart grids, integrated transport systems, sustainable buildings and ICT infrastructure”.

His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Khalifa Al Thani will be opening the Summit and keynote speakers including His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Sayed, Director General of Doha Municipality, Manel Sanroma, CIO of Barcelona City Council, and Jeddah’s Vice Mayor for Strategic Planning & Chief Planner Dr. Abdulgader Othman Amir will be presenting strategies and identifying best practices for developing smart cities across the Middle East.

The event is being held under the patronage of the Qatar’s Ministry for Municipality and Urban Planning which has earmarked more than US$140 billion for mega projects across the energy, transport, education, health and tourism sectors, many of which are expected to be completed in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Dr. Alex Amato, Head of Sustainability at Qatar Green Building Council believes that Qatar’s commitment to sustainable growth calls for a balance between development needs and protecting the environment.

“In order to achieve this vision, both government and industry need to be involved, so that green and sustainable building and design are incorporated into urban development and redevelopment plans across the board”, said Amato.

Qatar Green Building Council’s Director Eng. Meshal Al-Shamari will be presenting at the Summit on the affordability of sustainable buildings. Other key speakers include Dr. Mohammad Imad Rouf Al Naimi of Kahramaa, Christopher Sorensen of Masdar, Sunil Gomes of Doha International Airport, Yousef Al Emadi of Ashghal, and Volker Schaffler of Vienna’s TINA VIENNA Urban Technologies & Strategies.

The Arab Future Cities Summit will consist of more than 20 sessions over two days including keynote presentations from local and international smart city experts, case-studies of successful sustainability initiatives, and roundtable sessions where delegates think-up solutions to some of the challenges facing Arab cities today.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to discover cutting-edge technologies at the Future Cities Lounge, where sponsors will be showcasing their smart city solutions. Included in this display will be the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé and video presentations featuring the ongoing development and breadth of BMW i8, a fuel efficient plug-in Hybrid which is expected to hit the Middle East market in 2014.

“BMW is officially the world’s most sustainable automotive manufacturer. We therefore feel extremely proud to support the Arab Future Cities Summit 2013 as its Smart Automotive Partner”, said Mohamed Kandeel, General Manager of Alfardan Automobiles.

“It presents the perfect platform for us to communicate the Group’s leadership as a trailblazer in the area of sustainability and clean production while showcasing its unrivalled capabilities and future plans for electric mobility”.

Other sponsors of the event include Blackberry, Coca-Cola, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Unisafe, Tirschwell & Co. and Qatar Airways. Expotrade, a global conference and event organiser, has produced the Arab Future Cities Summit. For almost 10 years Expotrade has developed an array of top quality events in the Middle East and Australia, delivering some of the largest conferences and summits in the infrastructure, banking and finance, information technology, construction, sustainability, lighting and energy sectors.

Expotrade are the organiser of this year’s summit under the patronage of Municipality and Urban Planning, State of Qatar. A global conference and event organiser Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events.

For more information on the Arab Future Cities Summit visit www.arabfuturecities.com