Smart Dubai gears up to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its establishment, looking back at a series of achievements it has made along its journey to establish Dubai into the smartest and happiest city in the world.
Guided by the forward-thinking vision of the emirate’s wise leadership, Smart Dubai made great strides towards digitizing the Dubai Government, launching a set of innovative initiatives to embrace emerging technologies, and use them to develop advanced services that improve people’s lives and establish Dubai as a world-leading smart city.
His Excellency Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, said:
“Smart Dubai is the government entity that was established to spearhead the emirate’s digital transformation. And today, we celebrate five years of unparalleled successes and accomplishments, guided by the forward-thinking vision and close supervision of our wise leadership, who have long championed digitization as the way forward and the path towards future leadership. We have always believed, as our leadership does, that technology is there to be used for our benefit, to enhance government procedures, boost private-sector performance, and promote happiness in the community.”
“Smart Dubai’s journey has had transformative effects on smart-city building. Our plans and strategies have accelerated Dubai’s transformation into a world-leading smart city that promises happiness to its citizens, residents, and visitors. Smart-city experiences are now tangible services and initiatives that Dubai’s inhabitants can avail to make their everyday life easier and happier,” H.E. Al Nasser added. “Today, we reap the fruit of years of hard work, dedication, and innovation from the Smart Dubai team, in partnership with various government entities. These collective efforts to drive Dubai’s smart transformation have helped establish the emirate as a global icon for embracing modern technologies and harnessing their potential to build an integrated and sustainable smart city.”
For his part, H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, said: “Perhaps the truest test for the utility of Dubai’s digital transformation came about this year with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which brought unprecedented challenges for cities around the world, slowing down economic activity across every sector – including government. Dubai’s advanced digital infrastructure allowed the emirate to provide efficient and innovative services, ensuring business continuity and uninterrupted government processes, at a time when cities around the world saw businesses shutting down and faced difficulties in providing services to their communities.”
“Smart Dubai is committed to continue moving forward with its plans, in partnership with its strategic partners, and to consistently provide the community with best-in-class services,” H.E. Lootah continued. “Our ultimate objective is to drive Dubai’s transformation into a full-fledged smart city and a world leader in adopting advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, and Data Science, among many others.”
Smart Dubai has launched a series of innovative strategies since its foundation, which helped drive the emirate’s digital transformation, establishing a robust digital infrastructure capable of streamlining government procedures and ensuring customer happiness. The Dubai Paperless Strategy is among the most notable of these initiatives; it was launched to digitize internal and external government transactions, rendering them completely paper-free.
The Strategy was rolled out in collaboration with Smart Dubai’s government partners over several phases, covering a total of 42 Dubai Government entities. The Strategy has so far led to savings of more than AED 725 million, 7.7 million hours of labor, and 20,350 trees that would have otherwise been used to produce paper.
Furthermore, Smart Dubai registered great progress with its Dubai Blockchain Strategy, where it has unveiled a series of Blockchain-powered initiatives and services in several sectors. As part of the Strategy, Smart Dubai launched the Dubai Blockchain Policy – the first comprehensive blockchain implementation policy for a city – in addition to hosting the Global Blockchain Challenge for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019, and the Future Blockchain Summit in 2018 and 2019, with the 2020 edition to be hosted in 2 weeks.
Seamless Smart Services
Smart Dubai launched DubaiNow to be the central app for all smart city services, providing users with access to more than 120 government and private sector services from over 30 entities. The city services on DubaiNow can be classified into 12 different categories, namely: Bills, Mobile, Driving, Housing, Residency, Health, Education, Police, Travel, Islam, Donations and General.
Since its official launch, the DubaiNow application has processed 11.47 million transactions, valued at more than AED 6.03 billion.
Furthermore, Smart Dubai launched UAE PASS as a joint initiative with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA). UAE PASS is the first secure national digital identity platform allowing citizens and residents to access more than 5,000 online services offered by over 100 government, semi-governmental, and private entities in the UAE, as well as to digitally sign and authenticate documents and transactions, or request official documents.
The Government Resources Planning Systems (GRPS) is another initiative Smart Dubai has launched, offering an integrated system of centralized technical solutions implemented by more than 65 government agencies in the emirate. The GPRS consist of 30+ systems benefitting over 56,000 employees. It manages 95% of the Government’s budget and more than 45,000 resources. Catering to 7,000 users, the systems have saved the Government AED 4.3 billion between 2003 and 2015.
The Smart Employee application falls under the GRPS umbrella. It aims to promote happiness in the workplace with a host of features offered to more than 71,000 employees from 70 government bodies.
Dubai’s data journey started with Dubai Data Law in 2015, which made Dubai the first city to mandate the sharing, use and reuse of data. Today, Smart Dubai is leading the world’s most ambitious and comprehensive data initiative in the world. It supports Data Champions in various government entities – a community of public-sector change agents leading the implementation of Dubai Data initiatives within their entities and ensuring organizational compliance with the Dubai Data Law.
Smart Dubai has also established the Data Science Lab to develop data science skills in the emirate and foster collaboration among Dubai’s data science community to identify and explore use cases that will help deliver insights, foster the growth of a data ecosystem, and ensure economic and social benefits.
On the same note, Smart Dubai launched the Dubai Pulse platform – the digital backbone of Dubai – which has so far ingested more than 637 datasets on Dubai Pulse, 246 of which are open datasets and 391 are shared datasets.
Smart Dubai launched the ‘Happiness Champions’ initiative, where members of more than 40 government, semi-governmental entities were tasked with implementing the Happiness Agenda and launching new initiatives and projects. Over the course of five years, the initiative organized four international training workshops for Happiness Champions to help enhance service and city design efforts. In 2020, Smart Dubai launched the Digital Service Design Professional Diploma, offered exclusively to Smart City Experience Specialists as part of the new phase of the Happiness Agenda.
Artificial Intelligence Solutions
In 2017, Smart Dubai launched the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab in collaboration with several government entities to identify and develop use cases for AI implementation across all industry sectors. The programme ran 20 workshops, identified over 100 possible use cases of AI development within the Dubai government.
Smart Dubai also developed the Ethical AI Toolkit to set clear guidelines on the ethical use of the technology, and prevent having a fragmented, incoherent approach to ethics, where every entity sets its own rules.
Local and International Impact
In an effort to strengthen its partnerships, expedite the emirate’s digital transformation, and fulfil Dubai’s smart-city aspirations, Smart Dubai signed a total of 191 agreements in the 2015-2020 period with various local and federal government entities, as well as prominent private companies, including SAP, Dell, du, Careem, IBM, and Network International.
Smart Dubai also formed the Smart Cities Global Network (SCGN) – the first network of its kind – in a bid to place Dubai on the global map in thought leadership on smart cities.
This year alone, Smart Dubai launched a series of initiatives and projects, such as the ‘100% Digital Stamp’ initiative, to recognize and award entities that have fully implemented the Dubai Paperless Strategy, becoming 100% digital.
Moreover, Smart Dubai launched the data-powered ‘Dubai Registers’ initiative to build a network of accurate, reliable, and interconnected data records for a sustainable and happy city.