During my tour in ITU Telecom World 2014 that was held from December 7th to 10th in Doha, the topic of smart utilities and especially Smart Cities caught my attention, so I decided to do some research on smart cities and the new development in this field.
First, what is a smart city? Simply, it’s a city that uses information and communication technologies to enhance people’s lifestyle by reducing resources consumption and making use of utilities more effective and efficient. Developing a smart city means becoming a smart in various sectors, like transport, health care, education, environment and energy.
Smart cities utilize ICT in its infrastructure like roads, buildings and uses products and software to make life easier and more efficient, for example during ITU I saw how a smart home or even a smart car can save time and electricity. From your phone, you will be able to control your whole household and the best feature which I thought it was very useful was the way you can unlock your house’s door to your friend or family member if they reached the house before you do and you can even open the lights and air condition for them. Talk about saving us from embarrassing situation!
Smart cities as well are designed to adapt to change and they engage the local people and support the creative industries. Just imagine all the new and cool ideas that people can have in their homes and offices which will get the ICT sector to work with more artistic sectors, like decoration and interior designs.
There are many initiatives and companies around the world that are developing the concept of smart city and implementing it in various countries. Here in the gulf, we have some examples as well, like the ambitious Smart City that was announced in 2013 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The city will include smart projects in transportation, communications, infrastructure, electricity, economic services and urban planning. Another example is the Kingdom City and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia which will incorporate Smart City solutions in their construction process.
With the construction of Lusail City, Qatar aims to embrace the concept of smarts city as well and to integrate it into its economy. The city located in north of Doha will be completed in 2019 and will have a full network layer that will connect people, places and things to be a true manifestation of the Internet of Things. It will also use an intelligent operation center that will manage and maintain the services of the city and will allow the interaction between people and machines through the use of apps system.
Other than Lusail City, the local telecom market has started to offer new smart products and services aimed to enhance Qatar’s standing as one of the world’s best connected countries in the world, in line with the 2030 Qatar National Vision.
This shows that the rise of Smart Cities in Qatar sure looks closer than I thought and it’s very exciting indeed.