DED and Abu Dhabi University Co-Host Smart City Forum

Press release
Published April 11th, 2018 - 06:25 GMT
The forum sought to highlight the broad profile and attributes of developing and sustaining a smart city for future economic development.
The forum sought to highlight the broad profile and attributes of developing and sustaining a smart city for future economic development.

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai and the Abu Dhabi University Dubai Campus jointly hosted the first-ever ‘Smart City: Driving the Future’ forum to spot the light on DED’s Strategy that contributes in achieving Dubai Smart City Plans particularly its relevance on higher education, entrepreneurship and innovation. The forum, held under the Business Community Engagement (BCE) initiative of DED, sought to highlight the broad profile and attributes of developing and sustaining a smart city for future economic development.

Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office, set the tone for the discussions at the forum by presenting the Dubai Smart City Happiness Vision and strategies to integrate innovations such as blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI)  to enable and enhance the smartness in government services, city living, leisure and working.

“Im pleased to be part of a smart city forum being co-led by an academic institute. As government bodies we are creating the framework and legislation that will help public and private sector entities embrace Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, however to ensure continuous growth in this field, schools and universities must begin to acknowledge the education requirements of today, that will fuel cities tomorrow. As part of Dubai’s 10X initiative, Smart Dubai we will soon be launching a Smart City University, training students from across the globe on smart city implementation” added Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr.

“We are very pleased to collaborate for the first time, with a renowned higher academic institution to organise a forum that is topical and close to our daily lives. The various themes explored in this forum as well as the gathering of expert speakers will no doubt enrich the conversations. I am sure that the business, academic and student community that attended the forum will greatly benefit from the knowledge and networking platform,” said Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO, Corporate Strategic Affairs, DED.

“DED will continue to explore collaborative opportunities with other academic Institutions for various activities of mutual interests be they forums, joint – research, policy discussions and joint publications”, added Shael.

Dr Waqar Ahmad, Provost and Interim Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University (ADU), said: “We are delighted to partner with the Department of Economic Development, to bring together decision makers and academic professionals to discuss the actions and behaviours that will drive future smart development. After launching the Smart Dubai 2021, Dubai has become a global beacon for smart city transformation, and our wise government has opened the doors for decision makers from both sectors to invest into this nationwide initiative.”

Dr Ahmad added: “Our collaboration with DED is aligned with our leadership’s focus on making academia play a vital role in the nation-building process. Given the world’s rapid technological shift, today’s Smart Cities Forum is particularly relevant in accelerating Dubai’s transformation into a fully-integrated smart city.”

Dr Noah Raford, Futurist-in-Chief at the Dubai Future Foundation, shared views on making smart cities the test bed for pioneering technologies and emerging business models based on the participative nature of experiments with all stakeholders to roll out the testing to citizens and visitors; and adopt them where proven feasible. Citizens, visitors and employees will become the future customers of smart cities, he added.

Dr Abdulaziz Istaitieh, Senior Economic Advisor to the Executive Council of Dubai briefed the forum on the expected impact of the Dubai’s industrial focus on the emirate’s future over the next two decades.

The importance of smart learning and smart cities as hotbeds for higher education, entrepreneurship and innovation were explained by Dr Sangeeth Ibrahim, Vice President and Head of Learning & Development at Sharjah Islamic Bank; Dr Alessandro Lanteri, Associate Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Abu Dhabi University; Alexander Williams, Director of Future Economy at the Department of Economic Development, Dubai, and Dr Sherine Farouk, Assistant Provost for Academic Projects at Abu Dhabi University.

The forum also discussed how government, industry and academia can collaborate to develop new breakthrough initiatives, including the commercialisation of research from universities to create new businesses.

Background Information

Department of Economic Development

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is the government body entrusted to set and drive the economic agenda of the emirate of Dubai, UAE. The DED supports the structural transformation of Dubai into a diversified, innovative service-based economy that aims to improve the business environment and accelerate productivity growth.

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