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Data strategy to drive Dubai’s ‘Smart City’ dream

Rutam Vora Dubai | Updated on November 01, 2018 Published on November 01, 2018

Govt offices to go paperless by 2022

  In a bid to achieve its dream of becoming a ‘Smart City’ and set a model for the other aspiring ones around the world, the Dubai administration is betting big on data generation and dissemination for evidence-based decision-making through technology.

Under its new Dubai Data policy, the government aims to collect, share and safeguard data as a key component of digital wealth and maximise its economic potential.

‘Smart’ govt

The aim is to be ‘Smart’ government by 2021, for which massive data is used for smart technologies of Artificial Intelligence and blockchain for the purpose of government resource planning, financial and human resource planning. A dedicated, comprehensive and ambitious data strategy has been launched to leverage Dubai Data to enable data excellence and Smart City Transformation.

Dubai announced its Data Policy in February 2017 to classify, publish, share, use and reuse data. Data sharing will be subject to classification. Classified as 'open', such data doesn't contain individual confidential information and provides more generic data on traffic, health, education services, business activities.

This will be freely accessible. Secondly, data with confidential information that could identify an individual would only be available to government departments to be used for registration processes. Thirdly, sensitive data with limited access only for specific government departments.

Paperless offices

“Our strategy is to become a totally paperless government by 2021. We will celebrate our last government document getting printed on 12-12-2021. By that year we will achieve complete e-governance. This means the government will not be issuing or receiving any paper after that. This means saving 1,20,000 trees. We can use this money for the benefit of kids and and welfare of the citizens of the country,” said Younus Al Nasser, CEO of Dubai Data Establishment, part of the Smart Dubai Office.

Dubai Data Economic Impact Report by KPMG estimated economic impact of data at $2.8 billion per year as of 2021. The report revealed that by sharing 100% of government data, Dubai stands to generate an additional value of $6.6 billion.

Nasser stated that the aim of using data is to create an interactive city, that understands its people and their needs. “We are collecting big data. This will be used for visual and auditory technology for the convenience of people,” he said.

Digitisation drive

Digitisation in Dubai was started in 1999, eyeing to create an electronic government. In 2014, the objective was expanded to become a Smart City. In 2015, Dubai Data Law was launched for an all-inclusive data system.

This system organises the collection and exchange of city information. Already, registrations for licenses, university, housing registry have gone online.

(The writer was in Dubai recently at the invitation of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai)

Published on November 01, 2018
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