During IBM Middle East's annual CIO Conference, Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director
General, Dubai Municipality, discussed the Municipality's efforts in developing
Dubai as a smarter city. Mr Lootah highlighted the municipality's work on the e-
government project for the last 10 years, whereby they have converted almost 500
of their services to online services. He also emphasised the municipality's aim
to achieve "zero visits" by the end of 2011, meaning that all of the Dubai
Municipality's services will be accessible online enabling that citizens and
businesses can access from their offices, homes and mobiles 24/7.
The panel was also attended by eminent industry experts such as Osman Sultan,
CEO, Du; Abdullah Al Madani, CEO, RTA Corporate Technical Support Services
Sector and Yousif Asfour, CIO, New York University Abu Dhabi who discussed in
detail their visions of a smarter city, as well as the projects they have been
leading in the Emirates alongside Dr Colin Harrison, IBM Master Inventor and
Director for Strategic Innovation.
"The IBM CIO conference has evolved and grown since our inaugural event in 2004
to become an annual meeting point for the region to address the issues they face
with a changing business environment. This year's event attracted over 400 CIOs
from across the region making for meaningful, inclusive, region-led discussions
that shared experiences and best practice in delivering on the vision of a
'Smarter Planet'," said Takreem El Tohamy, general manager IBM Middle East and
Africa. "We're very excited to carry on the relevant conversations kicked off at
the event with CIOs in sectors from government to healthcare and from banking to
education as we deliver 'Smarter Projects' across the region."
Urbanization is changing the global landscape with over 50% of the world's
population currently living in urban areas and close to 70% of the world's
population predicted to be living in cities by 2050, making the issue of Smarter
Cities absolutely critical. The Smarter Cities panel was therefore incredibly
pertinent to today's CIO, as a group of leading industry practitioners discussed
the projects that they have been delivering in building Smarter Cities here in
Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, at independent research firm
Forrester Research, Inc. presented a session that answer's one of the most
critical factors in building a Smarter Planet, that of Smarter Cities as she
discussed 'Taking Lessons from Smart Cities'.
The conference was also attended by eminent IBM executives including; Laura
Voglino - VP Growth Markets, Marketing and Communications, IBM Systems and
Technology Group; Mark Musto - Business Development, Travel & Transportation,
Smarter Travel and Transportation, IBM Global Business Services; Virginie Haas,
Vice President, Worldwide Cloud Sales and Strategy and John Mclean, Vice
President WebSphere Connectivity Development and the Director of the IBM Hursley
Laboratory, amongst many others.
Following the Panel discussion, IBM global executives also led 12 breakout
sessions where regional CIOs were invited to discuss the issues affecting their
businesses regionally and globally. Topics that were covered included; The
Smarter Bank, Business Analytics and Optimization for Banking, Delivering
Consistent Customer Experience, From virtualization to cloud computing with
integrated service management, Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Travel and
Transportation, Smarter Energy and Utilities, Smarter Education, IT Leader's
Guide to Building a Smarter Planet, Introducing IBM Smart Business cloud
solutions, Accelerate Value and Business Insight From Your BPM and Business
Analytics Investment and Virtualization with Integrated Service Management for
improved business agility.
"Having travelled to the region for a number of the MENA CIO conferences, I've
found that the level of discussion never ceases to impress me as we cover
important topics in building a Smarter Planet, here in the region," said Colin
Harrison, Master Inventor and Director for Strategic Innovation, IBM. "I'm
looking forward to developing these discussions into further projects that will
deliver on the vision of building a Smarter Planet, City by City."
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