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

4 Ground-breaking Use Cases of Smart Data using HPC

High Performance Computing has primarily been applied within scientific research, the financial world and relatively recently also to forecast the weather. The financial services industry was the first commercial industry to adopt HPC. Nowadays you will find the most advanced HPC systems trading stocks in nano-seconds and generating massive amounts of money for their owners.

Banks have used HPC for pricing exotic financial instruments, optimizing their portfolios of mortgage-backed securities and managing firm-wide global credit and debit risks.  But there are more use cases for HPC in combination with Smart Data:

Fraud Detection

Fraud detection is an extremely important area for the financial industry. Millions of dollars could be saved if suspicious transactions are stopped before they occur. To do this, millions of transactions across the globe should be analysed in real time. The problem is that algorithms will need to find unknown patterns within that data, which could indicate a fraudulent transaction.

It requires not only analysing millions of transaction, but also many other data sources that offer the right context for a certain transaction. For example, is a certain credit card transaction valid or not. That not only depends on the transaction itself, but also for example on the location or the moment of the transaction.

One company that deals with these volumes is PayPal. On a daily basis, they deal with 10+ million logins, 13 million transactions and 300 variables that are calculated per event to find a potential fraudulent transaction. Thanks to High Performance Data Analytics, PayPal saved in their first year of production over $700 million in fraudulent transactions that they would not have detected previously.

Personalized Medicines and Drug Discovery

Already I mentioned the possibilities of personalized medicines and how it requires HPC. Although personalized medicines might still be quite far away, the pharmaceutical industry is already using High Performance Computing for drug design and discovery.

Drug design and discovery is a tedious process. It can easily require several years or longer before a drug hits the market. This is due to rigorous testing in labs on animals and later humans before it is made available to the masses.

High Performance Computing in combination with Big Data enables the pharmaceutical industry to find, for example, the right proteins for a certain drug among millions of compounds. This can be done thanks to simulation analysis and testing a plethora of varieties on thousands of different virtual patients. Thus, drug discovery can be reduced with multiple years, eventually saving a lot of lives.

Smart Energy Grids

Smart energy grids might still be long away; already multiple energy companies are experimenting with the possibilities of a smart energy grid. The potential of a truly smart energy grid is tremendous; reduced energy consumption, better and safer electrical grids and a safer and cleaner environment. Thanks to HPC, smart energy grids are becoming a reality.

A smart energy grid deals with massive amounts of data from a wide variety of sources, all located in a highly disperse network. Imagine if every household would have a truly smart energy meter and at every single moment in time, it is measured how much energy they use, from which devices, for how long and at what price. Multiplied by millions of households, we are easily talking exabytes of data that need to be analysed in real-time to determine whether someone is allowed or not to charge his/her electrical car. That can only be done using a HPC infrastructure and a High-Performance Data Analytics environment.

Manufacturing Simulation Analysis

From the beginning, HPC has been involved in the modelling and simulation of complex physical and quasi-physical systems. Modelling and simulation analysis enables an organization to gain a better understanding of a certain project, without the need to actual test the product in real-life. Thanks to this approach for example, Tesla was able to have the early edition of the Tesla Roadster pass dozens of tests, without the need for dozens of cars that could be crashed (as is traditionally done in the automotive industry).

What Tesla did during developing the Tesla Roadster has become common practice for Tesla. But also in other industry, simulation analysis can save companies a lot of money when developing new products. Thousands of iterations can quickly be tested taking into account hundreds of different variables. Based on the outcome of each simulation, the eventual product is improved. High Performance Computing is required to perform these millions of simulations, at least if you want to get it done relatively quickly.

Other Industries

Of course, these four industries are just the beginning of what is possible. Basically, any organization that wants to make serious business from Big Data could use HPC and HPDA.

Other industries that are already using High Performance Computing are among other the Space industry, Engineering (Oil and Gas) industry, Defence, Publishing industry, governments (think the NSA) and of course academia. In the years to come, this list will probably become a lot longer.

Author: Mark van Rijmenam

Mark van Rijmenam is Founder of Datafloq. He is a highly sought-after international public speaker, a Big Data strategist and author of the best-selling book Think Bigger – Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business. He is named a global top 10 Big Data influencer. Currently, he also pursues a PhD at University of Technology, Sydney on how organizations should deal with Big Data, Blockchain and (Human) AI.

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.

5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit Starts Tomorrow

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Dubai, September 13, 2015: The stage is set for the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015, the largest banking technology summit in the region, with Visa as the Title sponsor. The summit draws together the who’s who of this industry for intense discussions on ideas, trends and innovations that is driving the Middle East region’s banking industry. Over 450 participants from across the GCC are expected to attend the two-day summit that is set to begin tomorrow at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa in Dubai. With the core agenda to discuss and influence the growth of the banking technology landscape in the region, the summit will bring together global perspectives that will shape the industry.

The day 1 session of the summit will begin with Mr. Nilanjan Ray, Managing Director – Global Consumer Banking, NBAD’s address on Trending Themes on Innovation: Where do Banks Stand?, that will be followed by a series of sessions and a panel discussion on Smart Payments Strategy that will involve Amru Kotb, Senior Vice President – MEA, Cryptomathic; Dr. Haroun Dharsey, SVP- Head of Technology & Projects, Dubai Islamic Bank; Ehsaan Ahmed, Head of GTS and Corporate Strategy, Noor Bank; Gary Collins, Head Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific and Jassim Al Tamimi, Head of Payment Solutions & Business Innovation, Commercial Bank of Dubai.

The day 2 session begins with Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel and CRM, Emirates NBD focusing on UAE’s Success in Digital Payments. The panel discussion, sponsored by Visa will focus on Today’s Smart City: How Digital Payment is Displacing Cash in the Real and Virtual World, involving panelists Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Payments & Innovation for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), Visa; Paresh Buch, Regional Finance Manager, Spinney’s; R. Sivaram, SVP – Head of Retail Assets and Cards Business, Emirates NBD and Samer Soliman, Executive Vice President – Product and Innovation, Network International.

Over the course of the two days, the Summit will feature more than 30 key banking and technology influencers, including top names such as Paul McCrea, Vice President, Head of Products, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), Visa; Jonathan Duncan, ITB MEA Director for Integrated Solutions & Data Center Applications, Schneider Electric; Gary Collins, Head Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific; Naveed Minhas, Banking Industry Leader MEA and Turkey, Global Business Services, IBM; Amol Shah, Head of Bancasurrance Products, Consumer Banking Group – FGB and Kartik Taneja, Global Head – Credit Cards, Standard Chartered Bank, to name a few.

The Summit is supported by more than 40 sponsors who will showcase their product innovations and solutions at the Innovation Lounge, making it a hub to collaborate with industry peers and connect with other like-minded people in the industry.

More information about the summit can be found on the event website at http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

Building Smart Cities With The Power Of Cloud

Keynote speech in progress at the Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Keynote speech in progress at the Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

  • Use of cloud computing and analytics to help create smarter cities

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 14, 2015: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been a key enabler to drive productivity, improve collaboration and accelerate innovation. Large-scale infrastructure-driven projects have been the key growth drivers for cloud computing, big data, and analytics. Leading IT solution providers are developing their technology and experimenting with cloud-based computing solutions to help governments deliver smart city projects across the globe. Industry reports indicate that there has been a steady year on year increase in government spending on cloud computing facilities. Many governments have embraced the cloud-based platform to interconnect the various facets of a city’s services – infrastructure, public services, government bodies educational and health institutions, that will enable ensure seamless communication.

Armed with a colossal amount of data, governments and private organizations alike are investing heavily in data centers to store data in a centralized platform that will help in more effective knowledge sharing and provide support for better planning and governance in the city. Moreover, it will also help improve efficiency, reduce cost and complexity of building smart city IT infrastructure by efficiently and effectively integrating and supporting the various city operations such as healthcare, traffic, police, fire, citizen services, electricity, water and municipal operations.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “Governments across the globe are harnessing the power of technology to develop solutions that will enable them to introduce platforms and applications to significantly improve and increase effectiveness of the citizen-oriented government programs and also help align existing city initiatives.”

To deliver smart city solutions, companies are unleashing the full potential of innovation, and developing tools, infrastructure platforms and integrated solutions using cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies such as sensors and smartphones, that generate maximum city-specific data and help in better city planning and management.

According to an industry report, 10 percent of China’s total IT spending will be directly related to smart city projects. Additionally, the report also indicates that the Middle East is one of the fastest-growing IT markets in the world. The demand for IT in this region is fueled by the government’s roll out of its Smart City initiatives – Smart City Dubai and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi – and other high-profile events such as the Dubai Expo 2020.

He further added, “With the Dubai Smart City project, the country is undoubtedly at the forefront of innovation and transformation. As part of its Smart City initiative, the Dubai government has laid out specific plans under pillars such as Smart Life, Smart Economy and Smart Tourism that aim to offer citizens an enhanced quality of life.”

Adoption of ICT to improve the efficiency and sustainability of cities will be discussed at the 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit. Held under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality, the event will take place on 2-3 November 2015 at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.

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

Driverless Cars –The Future Of Mobility

Keynote speech in progress at the Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Keynote speech in progress at the Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 29, 2015: Cities around the world are coping with issues of traffic congestion due to metropolitan expansion and rising population growth.  To address the common transport challenges and counteract this endemic problem, there is an imperative need to develop congestion management systems and smart transportation systems by enabling technological innovative solutions. The emergence of advanced intelligent solutions and sophisticated sensors in the transport system is enabling cars to communicate with each other thereby increasing consumer safety and enhancing convenience.

While a well-functioned transport system is one that seamlessly connects vehicles, pathways and terminals; however, the transport system of the future will implement discrete technologies and develop advanced automated driving solutions. The transportation sector worldwide is witnessing major technological breakthroughs, the most instrumental being the advent of self-driving vehicles. Considered to be a game changer in the automotive and transport sector, autonomous vehicles will be equipped with sensor-based solutions, global positioning systems, artificial intelligence, and connected-vehicle communications that will ensure increase in vehicle safety and reduce emission. Apart from effortlessly controlling the steering wheel, speed and brake system of the car, the driverless technology also ensures avoiding collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians on the road.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “We are indeed on the brink of a technological revolution – smart buildings, delivery drones, smart roadways and now driverless cars. These are all aspects of a smart city. Government authorities worldwide and global technology giants are applying innovative tactics, introducing new policies and utilizing technologies that will help improve the transport systems and cities to ensure greater prosperity and growth and make a sizeable difference in the citizens’ lives.”

Many of the world’s renowned automotive manufacturers have joined hands with global technology players to introduce automated driving solutions. While the United States of America (U.S.A) is at the forefront, becoming the first country to introduce legislation to permit testing of automated vehicles, Japan, Sweden and United Kingdom (U.K) have also jumped the bandwagon and begun hosting driverless car trials on public roads. In the Middle East, the Dubai government has been preparing its infrastructure for electric driverless cars that are expected to be seen on the roads by 2020. The adoption of autonomous cars on roads will cause less traffic congestion, massive reduction in pollution and provide more road safety.

Mr. Hariharan further added, “The concept of self-driving autonomous cars will gain traction in the coming years, and will soon become a reality. It will revolutionize the landscape of urban mobility and bring about a massive transformation to our lives.”

The practicality of adopting driverless cars and implementing smart transportation solutions will be discussed at length at the 2nd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit, held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality, taking place on 2-3 November 2015 at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.

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

About Expotrade 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 10 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar.

For more information, visit http://www.expotradeglobal.com