The Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), a research and teaching institution focusing on public policy in the Arab world, hosted the eighth session of the Dubai Smart Cities Forum under the theme ‘Blockchain and the Next Wave of Smart Cities Technologies’.
Organized on 10 October in cooperation with the Smart Dubai initiative, the forum convened industry experts and leaders from public and private sector entities to share expertise, discuss challenges, and review global best practices as part of joint efforts to achieve Dubai’s smart city ambitions. The sessions aimed to update government officials and decision makers on the latest developments in smart city projects.
His Excellency Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, Executive President of MBRSG, said: “Before deciding on a subject for the eighth session of the forum, we conducted significant in-depth research. We looked for a theme that aligns with the government agenda and global trends. A lot of consideration also went into compiling the list of this year’s guest speakers. The presence of thought leaders from diverse industry and academic backgrounds greatly enriched the debate on this important topic.”
He added: “Throughout the years, our forum has become a valuable reference source on the topic of smart cities that benefits organizations both within and beyond the UAE. As Dubai makes headway in its smart transformation project, we believe such events make a significant contribution to the cause.”
In her opening speech, Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “Utilizing modern technologies is not the goal itself but rather a tool that helps us carry out our daily business efficiently. If used properly, technology can provide an impactful and seamless experience, enhance safety, and lead to a happier society.”
She elaborated: “Adopting various technological advancements, such as the Blockchain digital currency technology, will boost our effort to develop all sectors. Our vision of making Dubai the happiest city focuses on the optimum use of resources to achieve the best possible value through assuring advanced integrated services and data protection. It is our hope to shape a city that offers all the necessary components of a happy life to our residents.”
Participants at the one-day event included Osman Sultan, CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company du, Dr Marwan Al Zarouni, IT expert and founder and Director of a Bitcoin trade company supported by Dubai SME, and Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO of Business Development and Strategy at Dubai Department of Economic Development (DDED).
Commenting on the forum’s discussions, Sultan said: “Dubai is keen to take on inspiration from global trends for initiatives that can enhance its status on the world stage. After all, the UAE leadership’s wise vision places the utmost importance not only on launching strategic plans but also on seeing them through to their successful implementation.”
He added: “Today, our world is witnessing an unprecedented technology revolution, in which all sectors utilize the latest innovations for their benefit. Technology truly permeates every single detail of our lives. Therefore it is more important than ever to keep up with the accelerated pace of advancements. In order to safeguard Dubai’s journey towards a smart government and a smart city, we have to be especially mindful of data security and seek the most effective ways to deal with potential cyber-attacks.”
For his part, Al Saadi stressed the importance of raising public awareness about all aspects of the ongoing digital transformation, including the Bitcoin concept. He believes that learning the basics of these tools in order to make full use of their capabilities will benefit the individuals and the society as a whole.
He said: “There are many concerns associated with digital transformation with technological developments happening all over the world leading to a major change in the business ecosystem. In this context, experts anticipate that many jobs will disappear, and new jobs that require different skills to take their place.”
Dr Al Zarouni concluded: “It is crucial for us to realize the uniqueness of the era we live in. Today, we are witnessing the biggest and smoothest information revolution in the history of humanity. All it needs from us is to have confidence in digital solutions, such as the Bitcoin payment method, and watch them succeed.”
Dubai Smart Cities Forum is a series of thought leadership sessions that convenes experts in a creative and stimulating environment to exchange ideas and discuss challenges related to the Smart Dubai Initiative. The event highlights local and global smart city trends in sectors such as management, human and urban development, services, infrastructure and planning.
Envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Smart Dubai project is currently underway in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.