Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities: The Future of Urban Development in Qatar

One of the most important aspects of sustainable design is its ability to adopt a multilayered understanding of the needs of communities, sites and the environment to propose integrated solutions that not only address short and long term environmental and economic benefits but could provide opportunities to enhance social and cultural aspects of the development. Over the past few years, this has extended beyond the scale of buildings well into the public realm to include sustainable urban development strategies, infrastructure design and smart city solutions.

The reasons for creating more sustainable design solutions to minimize the environmental impact of cities are no longer questionable. The main issues facing designers and developers now are how to find the most suitable, smart city solutions that balance client needs, project budgets and the environmental design challenges and opportunities that arise from a project’s context. This is why creating sustainable urban environments will be a continuous endeavor that the Middle East will be experiencing over the coming years.

Fueled by an economic boom that adds pressure on available resources, Qatar, like other countries in the region, is at a crossroads to rethink its approach to urban planning and design to create more sustainable built environments on a macro level and redefine the impact of its future cities. Many steps have already been taken as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to realize the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, where the country is witnessing a number of large-scale development projects set to the highest local and international sustainability standards. Over the coming years, it is crucial to continue down this path by providing the necessary tools to ensure that targets are met. The integrated efforts of all stakeholders will not only ensure that goals are realized but set on a continuous path of sustainable development.

–  by Rashed Al Nasa’a, Senior Sustainability Consultant, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, GSAS CGP, PQP, Arab Engineering Bureau

QGBC’S Vision For Creating A Smart And Healthy City

Qatar is currently witnessing unprecedented urban development, from the establishment of Lusail City and the development of downtown Doha, to the inception of numerous infrastructure projects, the need to incorporate smart technologies in city planning in an effort to move towards establishing a healthy city is becoming vital.

Retrofitting Doha to become a truly smart city requires the development of a comprehensive long-term strategy with active participation from all the relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors. In Doha’s context, a smart city will fully support healthy living in all aspects including water and energy conservation, healthy air quality, increased community interaction and active lifestyle. The use of state-of-the-art technologies, such as smart water management system, intelligent and automated air, noise and waste management systems, and real-time communication mechanisms, will eventually help Doha move closer to realizing its vision of a smart and healthy city.

In an effort to conceptualize the development of a smart and healthy city amidst the ongoing infrastructural development, experts at Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), last year devised a comprehensive guide ‘Doha: A Rough Guide to Healthy Cities’.  The Guide, http://qatargbc.org/interest-groups/green-infrastructure, tackles the issue of the environmental health of urban areas which is becoming increasingly important to the world’s population as a majority of people are shifting towards inner cities.

Highlighting the benefits of planning and designing a healthy city, the non-technical infographic provides design and planning professionals, senior school students and advocates of sustainable development, with interesting guidelines on how to create a healthy city.

The key for QGBC and relevant stakeholders is to foster education around this subject to help create behavioural change in the process. This infographic is a starting point for such practices, which need to be further highlighted through national dialogues, the likes of Arab Future Cities Summit, the Qatar Green Building Conference, and the Qatar Sustainability Week.  Such efforts will foster the development of green infrastructure as a national resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

by Meshal Al Shamari, Director – QGBC

Enhancing building efficiency for a greener UAE

By Saeed Al Abbar

With the UAE’s skyline dominated by skyscrapers, and Dubai alone being home to over 3,000 high-rise buildings,1  it is important that all stakeholders within the construction industry leverage the opportunities available for installing renewable energy systems in high-rises.

The roofs of high-rise buildings are often occupied with installations such as cooling towers, chillers and other equipment, which can limit the space available for installing renewable energy systems.

However, with an increasing number of high-rises in the region, it is important that initiatives supporting sustainable built environments are fully considered and implemented.

Emirates Green Building Council, an independent forum promoting sustainability, recently hosted a workshop to discuss the challenges and potential solutions in installing renewable energy technologies in high-rises.

Experts identified awareness, site issues, codes and financial schemes as key points to be addressed to promote the use of renewable energy systems. They observed that these systems must also be outcome-based to ensure reduction in energy consumption.

To bring a tangible shift, a fundamental transformation of the construction sector is needed by streamlining fragmented responsibilities of different stakeholders and developing business models that attract third-party financing.

Stakeholders must also look at implementing highly advanced yet cost-effective façade concepts, based on multifunctional components and/or new combinations of existing building envelope technologies.

An integrated design and close collaboration among a multidisciplinary team will further drive the implementation of renewable energy systems in high-rises.

With the focus on high-rise buildings continuing to grow, in direct response to meet the urban growth requirements, credible measures by developers to incorporate green building practices will contribute to the green vision of the nation and help secure the environment for our future generations.

Saeed Al Abbar is the Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council.

1 State of energy report

2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015 triggered discussions on integrated smart city solutions

Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General - Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality and Mr. Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City inaugurated the 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015

Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality and Mr. Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City inaugurated the 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 4, 2015: Various solutions and initiatives pivotal for smart city development were the key talking points at the recently concluded 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015. Held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality and organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the summit witnessed participation from over 350 attendees from across the GCC.

Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality and Guest of Honour, Mr. Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City inaugurated the summit. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by an opening speech by both these esteemed dignitaries. Premium sponsors Samsung and DarkMatter also took the stage to deliver a welcome address.

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City, said, “Dubai is already an established international hub for business, ICT, media and so on, with dynamic industries and a vibrant economy, and smart initiatives will further enhance the Emirate’s position as a leader in the field of technology and also in the field of innovation. This conference provided an excellent platform to showcase just how far Dubai has come as a Smart City, and also for businesses and individuals to discuss areas of future collaboration and ways to work towards our leadership’s ambitious goal; to be the smartest city in the world.”

All the invited speakers during their sessions covered different facets in the smart cities domain that ranged from cloud computing to cyber security; from ICT innovation to robotics; from energy efficiency to hydrology. Mohammed Gharaibeh, Head of Enterprise Business Group, Samsung Electronics Business presented on the company’s innovative end-to-end solutions that can be integrated not only in a citizen’s day-to-day life but also can be adopted by cities at large to enhance efficiency, increase productivity and security.

Dr. Mario Rossi, Landscape Architecture Manager, The Office of H.H Crown Prince of Dubai during his session emphasized on the use smart technologies for a better and sustainable landscape in Dubai. He supported his presentation with an extremely interesting case study on the implementation of robots for maintenance activities with the display of three robots on stage, which piqued the curiosity of all the attendees present.

The impressive lineup of speakers included Manchester City Council’s Stephen Turner; William Ruh of GE Software; Huawei’s Safder Nazir; Micorosft’s Michael Mansour; Shafik Jiwani of Rolta; Hive technology’s Gert Botha; Rami Hajjar from Philips amongst many others. RTA’s Abdulla Al Madani delivered a session on the topic of smart and sustainable mobility that provided a holistic view on the initiatives adopted in driving a smart government. His inputs on RTA’s smart city strategy garnered a tremendous amount of interest and was followed by questions from many of the summit attendees.

Talking about the success of the summit, Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, mentioned, “In the second edition, our summit has covered a broad scope of topics and themes that are integral to smart city development in the Middle East. Experts from the government and industry leaders delivered keynote sessions with case studies and strategies of initiatives implemented that offered tremendous value to the summit attendees. We are thrilled with the feedback we have received from our sponsors and delegates. We look forward to continue our success at next year’s edition of the summit as well.”

Wim Elfrink, President, Digitalisation Solution Ventures moderated the first day’s panel discussion on cyber security, safe and secure connected cities. Joining him on the panel were Eric Eifert, Senior Vice President of Managed Security Services, DarkMatter; Furqan Ahmed Hashmi, IT Operations Leader, Emirates Investment Authority and Yousuf Mohammed Al Shaiba, Director of Smart Services Development Department, Ajman Municipality & Planning Department.

Day two of the summit commenced with Paul Copping of The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s session on what a smart city constitutes. Steven Velegrinis of Perkins + Will outlined how hydraulic systems will be used in future cities as a positive transformative urban element, while Faisal Rashid of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy spoke on mapping the energy intensity for Dubai and management of energy conservation.

Dr. Zahra Al Rawahi, Director of Innovation, The Research Council – Sultanate of Oman during her session spoke of how ICT is the main enabler of smart cities, and also shared examples of smart city solutions by some countries across the globe.

The second panel discussion of the summit was on the topic implementing sustainable strategies to increase energy efficiency in Dubai with a focus on solar energy. James Stewart, General Manger, Alec Energy moderated the panel and was accompanied by fellow panelists Dr. Corrado Sommariva, Managing Director, ILF Consulting Engineers; Jamie Low, Associate Engineer, Buro Happold Engineering; Matar Suhail Salem Al Mehairi, Vice President in Asset Management Department – Distribution Power Division, DEWA and Jane Boyle, Technical Director and Head of Sustainability and Energy, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

With multiple networking sessions, attendees were presented with ample opportunities to visit the exhibitor lounge and connect with over 20 companies such as Samsung, Dark Matter, GE Lighting, Philips, Microsoft, Huawei, Rolta, Fusionex, Hive Technology and Introsys who showcased their smart city solutions. The success of the summit prompted sponsors and delegates to comment positively at the close. Salwar Bayaty, Assistant Director, Dubai Properties Group, said, “The topics and presentations were related to the theme of the summit and were extremely informative. There was a good mix and variety of presenters.” Mark Hauenstein, President, Technical Designs said, “An excellent forum to share ideas and technologies that promote and encourage smart infrastructure.”

The event closed with a prize draw that saw two lucky participants win a 2 nights’ stay at the luxurious Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa and an Apple iPad.

2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015 Kicks Off Tomorrow in Dubai

Keynote speech in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Keynote speech in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 1, 2015: The stage is set for the 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit 2015. Held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality and organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the two-day summit will bring together over 350 attendees, including representatives of government organizations, sustainability experts and smart city solution providers.

Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsource City will inaugurate the summit and deliver the opening speech in the presence of esteemed dignitaries such as Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality and ambassadors of the Embassies of Montenegro, Sweden, Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Angola and Consul General of the Consulate General of Canada. It will be followed by a welcome address from Eng. Abdulla Rafia, Assistant Director General – Engineering & Planning Sector, Head of The Sustainability Committee, Dubai Municipality.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “With an elite lineup of keynote speakers and panelists, our summit is the ideal platform to discuss technological innovations that deliver smart city solutions seamlessly and also hold dialogues on the region’s ambitions and progress to gain a smart city status.”

With a series of forward-looking topics, the summit agenda will feature engaging keynote sessions, case study presentations and interactive panel discussions. Across two days, the summit will provide an opportunity to gain insights from industry thought leaders and experts on the best practices, challenges and opportunities emerging in the smart city domain. The summit agenda will broadly cover topics under the purview of Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Connected Home, Cyber security and Connected Lighting.

Featuring presentations by 30 regional and internationally acclaimed speakers including, Abdulla Al Madani, CEO – Corporate Technical Support Services Sector, RTA; Stephen Turner, Head of Future Cities, Manchester City Council; Dr. Mario Rossi, Landscape Architecture Manager, The Office of H.H. The Crown Prince of Dubai; Faisal Rashid, Director, Demand Side Management, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, to name a few, the summit will focus on the trends and technologies that will drive the growth of sustainable smart cities. Experts Yousuf Mohammed Al Shaiba, Director of Smart Services Development Department, Ajman Municipality & Planning Department and Furqan Ahmed Hashmi, IT Operations Leader, Emirates Investment Authority will participate in a panel discussion on Cyber Security, Safe and Secure Connected cities.

Offering unrivalled networking opportunities, possibility of dialogue and knowledge sharing with the industry stalwarts, the summit will showcase cutting-edge and emerging technologies that will shape the future of smart cities in the region. The summit has the support of more than 20 sponsors, including Samsung Business, Dark Matter, GE Lighting, Philips, Microsoft, Huawei, Rolta, Fusionex, Hive Technology and Introsys to name a few.

For more event details, please log on to http://smartcitiesdubai.com

5th edition of the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar rolls out in April 2016

Ribbon cutting ceremony of the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar 2015 edition

  • The Summit will be held on 11-12 April 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha
  • With sustainable urban development as the main theme, the summit will focus on the various facets of smart city development

Doha, Qatar, October 19, 2015: The Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar, today announced the 2016 edition of its marquee event featuring regional and international industry experts, senior government officials and sector specialists will be held on 11-12 April at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha. Organized by global conference producers, Expotrade, the summit is considered as the premier smart cities event in the region, connecting over 400 participants from across the GCC with prominent thought leaders from around the world. The summit aims to discuss path-breaking ideas, and explore how technology can be leveraged within the smart city infrastructure to create sustainable solutions.

The 2015 edition of the summit was inaugurated by Eng. Abdulla Abdulaziz T. Al Subaie, Managing Director, Qatar Rail, in the presence of esteemed dignitaries including Hamad Ibrahim al-Bishri, deputy CEO of Qatar Rail; Dr. Rainer Schnepfleitner, department manager, Regulation and Competition Affairs, Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA); Ashraf Ali Ismael, national information assurance manager, Cyber Security Division, (Q-CERT), ICTQatar; Dr. Fethi Filali, head of technology development and applied research, Qatar Mobility Innovations Centre and Ahmad Kawakbi, ICT & Stakeholder Manager, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy – FIFA World Cup Qatar who also spoke at the summit.

Developing a robust smart city ecosystem involves seamless integration, synergy and connectivity of the central pillars that constitute a city – public transport, governance operations, infrastructure, utilities, healthcare, communications, and municipal services. In accordance with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, the government has ushered in a new phase of development, incorporating smart technology, state-of-the-art infrastructure and services to provide its citizens a smart, sustainable and efficient future that ensures an improved quality of life. Additionally, hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 has presented a gamut of growth opportunities and further propelled the concept of smart cities in this region.

Announcing the dates of the Summit, Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “In its fifth year now, the Summit has established itself as the foremost smart cities event in the region. Setting the benchmark in promoting innovation and identifying emerging trends impacting this region, the summit presents a common platform for all stakeholders to innovate, educate and collaborate to generate ideas on making the concept of smart cities a reality. Over two days, leading experts and practitioners from across industries will share their expertise and knowledge on harnessing technological innovations and defining effective strategies to boost smart city initiatives in the region.”

The two-day conference agenda covers a broad range of forward-thinking topics such as smart connectivity, smart mobility and transportation, Internet of Everything (IoE), economical and sustainable smart vehicles, building automation, Lusail city’s innovations, cyber security amongst many more, that provide a comprehensive view of the smart city development in the State of Qatar.

Over 20 speakers and industry visionaries will unveil their views on how smart city development and technology deployment will meet Qatar’s smart city vision. Keynote sessions, panel discussions and case study presentations at the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar will provide attendees with an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on the latest smart city technologies and solutions influencing the smart city domain in the region.

With a plethora of networking opportunities, the summit will witness participation from technologists, developers, urban planners and researchers, investors, engineers and policy professionals from across the GCC.

The 2015 edition of the summit was a runaway success and in the forthcoming year the summit is expected to be bigger before than before. The summit received appreciation from attendees and sponsors alike. Mr. Mohannad Khader, Vice President – Commercial, Qatar Cool, said, “Every year when we come here, we listen to new ideas, we get to know more people and great strategies from other well- reputed companies. It has been valuable for sure.

Safder Nazir, Regional Vice President, Smart Cities & IoT, Huawei, said, “We are glad to be back here at the Arab Future Cities in Doha. We find a very well-attended event with a high quality of guests here. We have been able to interact with a lot of people and share our vision and thought for the future of smart city development not only within Doha and Qatar but across the region as well.”

More information on the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar is available now at http://www.arabfuturecities.com/. Follow the Summit on social media with the hashtag #AFCS2016.

Making the Switch to Smart Lighting

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit 2014

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 12, 2015: The lighting industry has grown at an astronomical pace. CFLs have not just replaced light bulbs – it is a step more than that. The advent of technology in the lighting industry has paved the way to smart lighting. But, what do we understand by smart lighting? Simply put, it is the use of technology in lighting that enables remote controlling of lighting systems. It is a growing concept that appeals to a wide audience base; apart from home owners, many governments and private entities are also implementing smart lighting solutions.

Technology is transforming innovation at its core. It is particularly interesting to note that Internet of Things (IoT) technology has even revamped the traditional models of lighting. Using the power of technology, leading private players are not only implementing smart lighting indoors but have also undertaken key pilot projects in many towns and cities across the world to develop LED lighting of tomorrow. The deployment of intelligent lighting solutions offer unrivalled levels of flexibility and functionality making it integral to smart city development. A number of cities across the globe are exploring the link between better lighting and making the city smarter.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “Over the past decade, a discernible shift in the consumer mindset, coupled with global awareness on the benefits of energy efficiency has played a critical role in the mass adoption of intelligent lighting solutions. Globally, retail and hospitality are key growth segments for smart lighting that offer a tremendous growth opportunity.

Unarguably, the global smart lighting market is on an upswing. Industry reports indicate that the growth of the smart lighting market is expected to reach $56 billion by the year 2020, while the total global market for networked lighting controls will be over $5 billion. The developments in the lighting industry are manifold – from the introduction of sustainable products and solutions to improvements in street lighting, from façade lighting to indoor lighting.

Presently, Europe has the largest market for smart lighting especially in the commercial end user applications. Analysts predict that the GCC lighting industry market is on a double-digit growth, approximating the market to reach $3.5 billion by 2020. In the Middle East, the demand for intelligent lighting is strengthened by government’s adoption of smart infrastructure solutions in segments such as street-lighting. The Abu Dhabi government is implementing a sustainable lighting project that reduces power consumption by at least 60%, ensures drastic reduction in overall costs by 40% – 80% over 20 years and curbs carbon dioxide emission by 75%.

Understanding that lighting plays an integral role in today’s urban life and is not to be considered as just another functional commodity, the Middle East Smart Lighting and Energy Summit 2015, to be held on 23-24 November, 2015 at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi will discuss the broad developments in smart technology in lighting.

For more event details, please log on to http://lightingsummit.com/