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Dubai smart city
Dubai launched its "Smart Dubai" initiative in March 2014, with the stated mission of making Dubai the smartest city in the world by 2017

In the Middle East, the city of Dubai has tested a new breed of 'sensor-friendly network' to establish the smart city ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates.

Du, a UAE telecom company, has rolled out the first Internet of Things (IoT) network in the Middle East operating on the LoRa standard.

According to a report in the Khaleej Times, the new system will enable smarter management across city resources, including lighting, waste management and parking.

"The telecom firm will roll out the first phase of revolutionary IoT network in Dubai by first quarter of 2016 and complete the countrywide project by year end," Carlos Domingo, senior executive officer, New Businesses and Innovation, at Du, told the newspaper.

"One of the biggest aspects of smart city is the IoT. This requires a new breed of network that essentially makes the city smart by connecting sensors placed in everyday objects. Thanks to Du this capability now exists in the UAE and is a first in the Middle East," he said.

Dubai announced the ‘smart Dubai’ initiative in 2014, with a stated mission of making it the smartest city in the world by 2017. According to Monitor Deloitte, by 2020 the smart cities market will increase in value anywhere from US$400 billion to over US$1.5 trillion.

"We want to make this happen by enhancing the way residents interact with their surroundings, enjoy their city and make life easier for them. This can happen in many ways for example using sensors to guide them to available parking to save time or creating a smart home where they can better manage their energy consumption and save money," Domingo continues.

"IoT network will open new window of opportunities for telecom companies in near future as more and more people will be connected to the system and use the internet services," he said.

Smart cities in New Delhi

Meanwhile, the City of New Delhi’s municipal council is asking for participation from residents to provide suggestions in the bid to attain the label ‘smart city’.

The initial plan by the council cites a 10-point programme for achieving smart city status.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) chairperson, Naresh Kumar said, “in order to develop the city as a smart city, it is important to develop infrastructure services.

"NDMC has devised a 10-point programme to achieve the smart city mission. We urge all residents to give their ideas to make the mission a reality. The NDMC is also organising an essay competition on the topic,” the Indian Express reported.

The 10-point programme includes the following initiatives:

  • smart hospitals and dispensaries through an e-hospital portal,
  • smart schools which meet international standards,
  • a smart-energy grid for saving electricity,
  • 24×7 uninterrupted water supply,
  • CCTV surveillance system to ensure the security of every citizen and
  • smart energy management through the use of LED bulbs in NDMC buildings.
  • improved last-mile connectivity through electric buses from metro (stations) to offices in the NDMC area,
  • the addition of art and culture activities in the area.

“We are also looking at providing a citizen-friendly smart governance system,” Kumar said.

While the proposal for New Delhi’s smart city transformation is being developed in conjunction with a consultant, widespread consultation with residents on city, greenfield development and financial planning will occur.

According to an NDMC official, “With the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) rolling out a smart city mission (SCM), cities to be shortlisted under the project will be required to compete for funding in the ‘City Challenge’. The next round of shortlisting is expected to take place towards the end of this year. In order to ensure that the civic agency’s bid qualifies in the second round, we have invited proposals for consultants.”