How Big Data is Supporting the Smart City Boom

Panel discussion in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Panel discussion in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

The global internet population grew 18.5% this year, with 3.2 billion people being connected to the internet globally this year. With the popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, the volume of data generated on a daily basis is astronomical. Facebook, the most popular social media platforms globally, has a subscriber base of over 1.49 billion monthly active users. What might have earlier been a herculean task to measure and analyze the massive avalanche of information available from these sources, is now simplified with the help of big data.

Now, consider this in the real world. Presently more than 50% of the world’s population are living in cities across the world and this number is further expected to increase. In the face of this rapid urbanization, the exponential amount of data generated in these cities is definitely astounding. Given this, governments, now, more than ever, have realized the need to equip themselves to become the city of the future. With governments across the globe collaborating with private companies to harness the power of Information Technology, the concept of smart cities has seen an incredible rise. We have seen how cities across the globe are integrating cutting-edge technological solutions and services to their existing infrastructure to improve governance and provide a more efficient system. Seamless conjunction and real-time sharing of information between a city’s key operations that include healthcare, infrastructure, education, transportation, utilities such as power, water and waste management, emergency services such as fire and police is pivotal to create the city of the future.

Equipped with this colossal amount of data generated, cities have the opportunity to leverage the power of cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) to manage the data arising from multiple sources, beef up their services, and adopt a Smart city approach that will not only empower citizens but also significantly improve their quality of life on a daily basis. According to an industry report, a staggering $8.8 billion is spent annually by the global smart city technology market.

In the Middle East, Dubai is leading the way in becoming a smart city. Touted as the fourth most popular city in the world, the city is expected to receive about 14.3 million international visitors this year. To meet with the growing demand of visitors and with the Expo 2020 win for Dubai, the government of Dubai has invested heavily in ramping up its infrastructure. The Dubai government has earmarked AED 3 billion, during this year, to implement smart city projects as part of its vision to become one of the smartest cities in the world. Undertaking initiatives that link city administration, public safety, education and health care under three core pillars of Smart Life, Smart Economy and Smart Tourism, the Dubai government is setting a new paradigm for smart city implementation.

Connecting people, data and processes through the Internet of things, the Dubai government will generate information in real-time that will provide tremendous value and help boost the productivity of the city’s multidimensional operations. Data management and analysis will promise greater effectiveness and significantly increase the operational efficiency of all citizen centric activities. In fact, recently, the Dubai government also signed an agreement with Barcelona City Council to share their best practices for creating smart cities.

Dubai’s smart city initiatives and strategies will be discussed at the two day Arab Future Cities Summit, held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality, on 2nd and 3rd November 2015 at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa. City municipality heads along with leading regional and international industry experts will come together to throw insights and delve deeper into the opportunities available in making Dubai a smart city by 2021.

You will find more about event details at http://www.smartcitiesdubai.com/

-by Mr. Rohan Sharma, Head of Sales, Expotrade Middle East

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