Will a Smart City Ecosystem be of a value to Citizens in the Gulf?

Cities are constantly striving to keep a sustainable developmental path that addresses issues such as water, energy and waste. According to Alcatel-Lucent Market Analysis “The missing piece: Voice of smart city citizens”, many cities worldwide are adopting long and short term approaches that would enable them in achieving their vision.

One of those cities is King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia. KAEC is a new smart city that is being built from the ground up. It includes a seaport, industrial valley, educational zone and central business district as well as resorts and residences. Announced in 2005, the city has been planned to accommodate two million people, and offers the attractions of a smart lifestyle and deliberately sustainable ecosystem.

Another example is Chattanooha in the United States. Chattenooha was previously known as ‘The Dirtiest City in America’, after environmental cleanup and strategic investments in high-speed broadband infrastructure, Chattanooga is now known as ‘Gig City, USA’, boasting the fastest Internet in North America. The process by which it got there —involving public-private partnerships, strong support from NGOs and citizen engagement— which is now called the ‘Chattanooga way’.

On the other hand, big cosmopolitan cities are expected to cope with the increasing demands placed on it. Adopting Smart approaches and creative technologies that will enhance virtually every dimension of the city life. Not coping will ultimately have its negative effect. The challenge for governments, private sector and other stakeholders is to collaborate on the strategy that will lead to realizing a smart city vision that meets their local values.

Now, we ask ourselves about how the citizen’s services such as health services, social care, educational needs and management of energy and utilities can be affected by adopting Smart City strategies? What are the most important verticals to start with? Do we have another option to keep track with the growing demands?

All are valid questions that need to be answered as the wave of Smart City … Smart Government… Smart life started to take place.