Dubai on quest to become happiest, smartest city

Matt Hussey
Matt Hussey

Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, the head of Smart Dubai’s task force team, talks to Vision about how the emirate has embraced the latest technologies to improve people’s lives

Launched by the government, the Smart Dubai initiative aims to transform the emirate into the smartest city in the world. The global Smart Cities market is projected to reach $3.3 trillion by 2025, with almost half of the world’s 26 Smart Cities located in emerging markets, according to Frost & Sullivan. Technologies such as mobile apps, drones and robotics, e-government, and 3D printing, are expected to form the basis of these future cities.

Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, the head of Smart Dubai’s task force team, discusses these developments and explains what the future may hold for Dubai.

Vision: How has Dubai changed over the past 12 months from an IT perspective?

Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr: Dubai recently collaborated with Dubai Internet City to host the city’s first hackathon. Decode Dubai is a platform aimed at highlighting innovation and talent in Dubai and nurture ideas that have the potential to become entrepreneurial.

There is a growing number of smart-led initiatives from both the government and private sector. Government initiatives have always been driven by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s directive for digital transformation of their services, and are now riding on the mandate to make Dubai the happiest, smartest city by 2017.

smart dubai cities technology innovation future
The Smart Palm is an initiative that has recently adopted 3D printing, with new palms to be made of reinforced plasticImage: Smart Palm

V: Dubai has been exploring new initiatives that harness the power of technology to improve people’s quality of life, can you tell us more about that?

Bin Bishr: The Happiness Meter is part of the Smart Dubai initiative to measure real time happiness for all customer touchpoints in the city.

The initiative is among the first of its kind in measuring the happiness factor of every experience that a visitor, resident or citizen may have when interacting with service or product providers, from public or private sectors, in a physical store or through a web based offering.

Information collected from the Happiness Meter supports providers, government entities and business owners with the unique opportunity to better gauge customer experience and create targeted initiatives to increase user satisfaction across sectors and areas of Dubai.

Through the Smart Dubai City Platform, we are working towards developing a personalised dashboard to each citizen and business owner to help make better, informed decisions.

'A smarter future isn’t governed by the kind of technology it uses. I believe that by being smart you’re able to provide technology solutions to problems that enrich your quality of life'

Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Head of Smart Dubai's task force team

V: 3D printing has become popular in Dubai and the UAE because it eliminates the constraints of importing large amounts of heavy materials. Are there any innovations or experiments with 3D at the moment that indicate a future direction? 

Bin Bishr: Smart Palm is one such initiative that has recently adopted 3D printing. The new palms will be made of reinforced plastic as opposed to steel, making them lighter and more durable.

V: What technologies have been introduced in Dubai that are squarely aimed at a smarter future? 

Bin Bishr: A smarter future isn’t governed by the kind of technology it uses. I believe that by being smart you’re able to provide technology solutions to problems that enrich your quality of life. In that regard there are many initiatives and services that fulfil that role.