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18 June 2014

Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government Hosts First Dubai Smart Cities Forum

Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) today hosted the first session of the Dubai Smart Cities Forum. The event facilitated discussions on issues related to the Dubai Smart City initiative that was announced in February 2014 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 
The forum that brought together decision makers from the public and private sector addressed systemic approaches that need to be factored into future urban planning for the development of smart city projects. Logistical challenges towards facilitating collaboration among government authorities, service providers, communications providers and ICT solutions providers were also discussed. 
Delivering the keynote address, His Excellency Ahmad Bin Byat, CEO, Dubai Holding and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, said: “Smart city projects, in general, revolve around people more than anything. We measure the smartness of a city by what it offers to residents and visitors in terms of improving their efficiency and productivity or enriching their quality of life. Our goal is not just to make Dubai a smart city but to make it the smartest city. 
“What we are witnessing in Dubai is a massive transformation more than just technological change. Service providers, government or private, are increasingly under pressure to meet the growing requirements of the public. We face the challenge of creating a connected city in which the public and private sector work together with individuals in an integrated ecosystem. We hope through this forum to benefit from the available resources of knowledge and expertise.” 
Rashik Parmar, President, IBM Academy of Technology and Dr Hichem Maya, Head of Business Transformation Services, SAP, led the session. 
Highlighting the impact of a smart city on the government, transport, health service and standard of living, Rashik Parmar said: “A smart city is not just about hi-tech, it’s about engaging people and responding to their needs. The city should be able to talk to its residents through seamlessly interconnecting systems to facilitate their lives in the best manner possible while making optimum use of the resources.” 
Dr Hichem Maya said: “A smart city improves living standards, transforms governments and boosts economic prosperity. If we are to achieve this objective, we need to ensure that the public and private sector is flexible, agile, innovative, and capable of engaging individuals and communities.” 
Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, Executive President, MBRSG, said: “The Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government is pleased to support the leadership of the UAE in stimulating a conversation on smart cities. This initiative marks the first in a series of sessions held as part the Dubai Smart Cities Forum. The seminar drew upon the experience and ideas of industry experts on challenges and best industry practices. Our goal is to help nurture a knowledge repository that serves as a ready reckoner for institutions in the UAE and abroad.”
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