Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), a teaching and research institution that stresses public policy in the Arab region, recently emphasized the need to build smart cities in Arab infrastructure at the sixth Smart Cities Forum.
The event, which had the theme “Bringing Smart Cities to Life,” had a variety in its audience, ranging from public to private sector leaders and decision makers.
Etisalat Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmade Julfar and Professor Luis Munoz, the head of Network Planning and Mobile Communications at the University of Cantabria in Spain and also an adviser to the Spanish Government, both presented sessions.
“The UAE is currently ranked number one in fiber-to-the-home connectivity and smartphone penetration,” Julfar said. “We also occupy top spots across several ICT indicators. We have developed an advanced infrastructure capability that includes mobile, data center, networks, fiber-optic cables - this infrastructure is a huge opportunity. At the same time, we now need to address the challenge of creating efficient systems and a platform that can enable all concerned stakeholders to collaborate in providing smart services.”
Munoz said the smart city is a complex ecosystem characterized by the intensive use of information and communications technologies (ICT) that aim to transform cities into attractive, sustainable and unique environments for innovation and entrepreneurship. He added that the smart city seeks to engage citizens and companies, and foster strategic alliances between public and private sector to conceive, design, implement and validate sustainable initiatives.
“Integrated infrastructure is a critical pillar for any smart city,” MBRSG Executive President Ali Seba Al Marri said. “Collaboration between public and private sectors is essential to implement infrastructure that is capable of handling requirements of smart cities and delivering the necessary output. We need to work towards accelerating synergies between government authorities in charge of legislations, urban planning, telecommunications, transportation and private sector organizations involved in infrastructure, particularly telecom operators. Digital infrastructure is one of the most important factors contributing to achieving the smart city vision.”