The Roadmap to Smart Dubai
Dubai Paves the Way for the Private Sector to Build the Components of a Smart City
Dubai has initiated an ambitious plan to become a wide-scale “smart city.” While other governments are focused on deploying smart government services, Dubai has taken a broader and more comprehensive strategy to build not only the smartest city in the world, but also the happiest and most productive.
Dubbed “Smart Dubai,” the future city will be a 24/7 interactive platform providing a comprehensive framework for e-businesses to operate in, as well as providing lean, integrated government services to facilitate both business and private procedures. The stated purpose of this is to improve the quality of life for consumers and make doing business easier for the private sector in the digital age.
But first things first:
What Is a Smart City?
Dubai is not the only city implementing smart solutions. The global smart cities market is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2019, according to Transparency Market Research. The US holds the largest share of this market, mostly in the form of smart grids and upgrades in the water and transport infrastructure.
However, Dubai is certainly the first to implement smart solutions on such a scale. The city already boasts having the smartest railway system (with Wi-fi access and a supporting app), and not only the world’s tallest building, but also the smartest one: Burj Khalifa (in addition to HVAC automated systems, including power-generating elevators, it features biometrics, touch-pad home automation systems, intelligent parking, web-based procurement, and more). But a smart city is more than just the sum of smart services in one location. It is a fully-integrated urban and social ecosystem gathering all aspects of daily life. By definition, a smart city should accommodate smart homes, smart buildings, energy management, intelligent transportation, sustainability, and security. It is supposed to provide a streamlined infrastructure and new-generation services supported by ICT. Finally, smart cities should help reduce CO2 emissions, save energy costs, and utilize natural resources with efficiency. These are all encompassed in Smart Dubai’s 6 pillars: economy, living, government, transportation, environment, and energy.
Won’t You Take Me to Smart City?
Fast-forward to 2017, when the Dubai smart city will be underway. The Dubai government has set this as another milestone towards “Initiative 2021,” a campaign to make Dubai the “most connected,” “smartest,” and “happiest” city.
“Smart Dubai works to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in the city. This is achieved by making government services more efficient, creating platforms for collaboration and facilitating opportunities for investment,” said Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Assistant DirectorGeneral the Executive Office in the Government of Dubai.
A smart city does sound like a great place to live in, but what does it involve in concrete terms? The next milestone
in the Smart Dubai roadmap is a “smart city platform” from which the smart city will take off by mid-2016. The platform is not an end by itself, but aims at putting in place the necessary tools and infrastructures from which to design more efficient, seamless, and safe smart solutions that carry the maximum impact and deliver the best experience.
“The purpose of a smart city platform is designed with the public’s interest in mind, especially where it concerns services and distribution of resources,” said Bin Bishr. She explained that the Smart City Platform operates under 4 district layers: an application layer, services enablement, data orchestration, and infrastructure. The application layer involves a city dashboard and user dashboards giving access to data wells via portals and APIS. At the end-user level, this means access to information, as well as the ability to conduct transactions such as renewing business licenses. The services enablement layer is effectively a form of Platform as a Service (Paas) that guarantees data recollection and transactional activities are conducted safely and efficiently. This primarily requires a strong security governance, as well as identity management for users, payment protocols, and location tracking. Data orchestration involves the storage and ingestion of data in a centralized source, as well as its presentation in a meaningful way to stakeholders. Finally, the right infrastructure needs to be put in place. This involves cloud storage to enable smart applications, and a common infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IOT) to ensure the compatibility and effectiveness of all connected devices, with the support of a common communication channel. “Each of these layers looks at the frameworks, management, distribution,
facilitating the development and implementation of additional smart services by the private sector. customer for tech and digital startups to propose products, services, and solutions on the city-wide level. According to Al Saadi, the Dubai government is expected to issue RFPS (request for proposals) starting mid-2016. Any idea that helps make Dubai a smarter, happier city will be most welcome. The private sector is eventually expected to provide up to 80% of smart services. The Smart Dubai roadmap has outlined around 1,000 services towards its goal of a smart city. So far, all efforts have been focused around 545 current and planned smart services and initiatives by strategic partners.
“The availability of data will enable collaboration and innovation between the public and private sectors. This will empower the government and other city leaders to make impactful decisions that prioritize the satisfaction and happiness for all residents and visitors of the city,” said Bin Bishr. In other words, Smart Dubai will offer developers and investors its own big data tailored to its market and clearly defining consumer trends and behaviors.
“We envision the future of Dubai to be a seamless city enabled by an integrated ecosystem that fosters innovation. The intent is to attract long-term strategic investors and create a world-class economically productive environment that makes it the most competitive destination,” said Bin Bishr.
The Islamic economy is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide, with a population of 1.7 billion, growing at twice the rate of the global population. In 2014, the global Islamic economy was worth $1.8 trillion (of which $704 billion in MENA), and is expected to rise to $2.6 trillion by 2020. This distinct economy encompasses a comprehensive range of products and services related to a primarily Muslim lifestyle: Halal food; Islamic finance; Halal travel; modest fashion; media and recreation; pharmaceuticals; and cosmetics.
The two largest sectors in the global Islamic economy are Halal food and Islamic finance. In 2014 alone, Muslim consumers spent close to $1.2 trillion on Halal food and non-alcoholic beverages globally. This represented 16.7% of global F&B
FIGURE 1: SIZE OF ISLAMIC DIGITAL ECONOMY VS. GLOBAL DIGITAL ECONOMY
Thomson Reuters’ Digital Islamic Economy report showed strong growth in the global digital Islamic consumer services based on the digital economy’s key components: digital advertising spending, retail e-commerce, and travel e-commerce. In 2014, the Islamic digital economy was worth $107.2 billion ($101 billion in e-commerce spending by consumers, and $6 billion in digital ad spending by providers). This figure represented 5.8% of the global digital economy estimated at $1.9 trillion that year. However, the Islamic digital economy is projected to grow by a CAGR of 17% until 2020, reaching $277 billion. By comparison, the global digital economy will grow by a CAGR of only 15% over the same period, reaching $4.3 trillion. If the Muslim market were a country, it would be the 4th largest contributor to the global digital economy. expenditure ($6.8 trillion), and surpassed F&B spending in both China ($798 billion), and the US ($741 billion). The Islamic finance sector in the same year was worth $1.4 trillion (commercial banking) – although this only represented 1.3% of global banking assets. Other top performing sectors include: Halal travel; modest fashion; pharmaceuticals; cosmetics; and media and recreation.
It is a huge market with a lot of opportunities to tap into. As advances in technology and digital innovations are changing consumer habits, products and services in different sectors of the Islamic economy are being revisited to adapt to a modern context, giving birth to the Global Islamic Digital Economy.
FIGURE 2: TOP COUNTRIES WITH ISLAMIC E-COMMERCE SPENDING IN 2014
When looking at the top spending countries in terms of Islamic digital spending, it appears the market is quite fragmented. The size of the Islamic e-commerce market is also significant in countries where Muslims are minorities. Collective Islamic e-commerce spending in Western Europe and North America collectively was estimated at $18.7 billion in 2014 – more than twice the size of the 2 largest individual Muslim markets (Turkey and the US).
FIGURE 4: KEY PLAYERS IN CONSUMER-FACING DIGITAL ISLAMIC SERVICES
E-commerce businesses – particularly e-tailers of modest clothing – are among the most successful digital Islamic consumer services, reporting the highest investments, as well as the strongest revenue and growth numbers. As for apps, the freemium model appears to be the most favored among users. Among the least financially viable business models for Digital Islamic Consumer Services observed are Digital Islamic The “News & Insights” sub-segment was among the least successful digital Islamic services; because they rely primarily on ad revenue, such services require a worldwide scale – which very few have achieved. Other notso-successful services include social media services exclusively for Muslims; while some have received large investments, they have had the least financial success (e.g. Salamworld and Muxlim.com). The top-performing websites shown here were selected based on global traffic rankings calculated by Alexa and Similarweb. Apps were selected based on the number of downloads.