Smart Dubai – The Future is Now


Three years ago, Smart Dubai set out to fully transform Dubai into a smart city, launching 100 initiatives and 1,000 smart services. The services allowed the people of Dubai to access the city’s facilities using smart, interconnected systems. Sensors around the city are installed to provide information, high-speed Internet access, and real-time services for all residents in public places.

Smart Dubai is making strides in its mission to implement the Dubai Smart City Project, providing advanced infrastructure and connecting it to city-management systems across high-speed networks. This ensures Dubai’s sustainability and competitiveness by deploying smart technologies across all sectors of the emirate, improving life experiences and providing happiness to the residents of Dubai and its visitors. 

Smart Dubai’s ambitions remain high, using technology as a tool to achieve the goal of increasing the happiness of everyone in Dubai. Dubai’s residents and visitors can benefit from 137 smart initiatives and 1,129 smart services.

Smart Transformation 2021

Smart Dubai’s achievements offer Dubai’s residents and visitors 137 smart initiatives to benefit from, as well as 1,129 smart services, making their experiences safer, more efficient, seamless, and effective.

Smart Dubai celebrates these achievements with its partners at the “Future-Now” event, where it will announce the next phase of the Smart City project.

Working together with its strategic partners, Smart Dubai has developed an ambitious plan that is set to wield an immense positive impact on the city, its people, the economy, and the environment, and preparing Dubai to embrace the future now, not tomorrow.

The Smart Dubai Office is leading the city’s complete shift to smart technologies, using cutting-edge innovations to increase efficiency and improve services, and bringing Dubai closer to achieving its vision of being the happiest city on Earth.

The Smart Dubai Office is working with partners from the public and private sectors to implement an ambitious roadmap that takes all components of the city into consideration – including: government, companies, society, individuals, resources, and infrastructure – to achieve six objectives: High-quality, connected digital government; technology-based competitive global economy; efficient and seamless services; streamlined smart transport solutions; a sustainable environment enabled by smart technology; and an agile city that offers smart living.

The Smart Dubai Office taps cutting-edge technologies to offer services efficiently, seamlessly, and securely, and to achieve an exceptional quality of life.

Dubai’s Smart Transformation Agenda is a five-year strategy covering the 2017-2021 period. It outlines an ambitious roadmap for all components of the city: government, companies, society, individuals, resources, and infrastructure.

Smart Dubai Strategy

Smart Dubai strategy 2021 calls for the intelligent use of ICT to transform the city’s core components, which include: the government, companies, society, individuals, resources, and infrastructure. The Strategy seeks to digitise 100 per cent of government services and eliminate the need for physical visits to customer service centres.

Smart Economy

LDubai has successfully positioned itself as a strategic global trading hub and a vibrant international city. To achieve its ambitious plans, Dubai implemented major policies focusing on key economic sectors such as trade, tourism, financial services, and ICT. The latter has been a major source of innovation, prompting companies to adopt high-performance ICT solutions to deliver their goods and services, as well as to manage internal operations.

Global Competitiveness of the Dubai Economy

Dubai Plan 2021’s Smart City Strategy aims to consolidate the emirate’s achievements to enhance the global competitiveness of Dubai’s economy. The strong infrastructure, targeted investments, competent workforce, and organisational reforms have guaranteed Dubai a very strong economy that is integrated into the global economy through wide-reaching supply chains.

ICT has played a major role in this success and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future as the digitisation trend continues throughout the world.

The Dubai Smart City Strategy 2021 aims to benefit from the emirate’s economic success, strengthen it, and enhance productivity in its key sectors. The Strategy had indeed identified labour productivity as one of the key drivers of sustainable economic growth.

Furthermore, it seeks to optimise the use of ICTs by cooperating with the public and private sectors. ICT currently plays a major role in various sectors globally and has played a key role in promoting innovation in these sectors. Economists have noted the impact of successful ICT processes in enhancing labour productivity.

In this context, the Smart City Strategy 2021 is set to increase productivity through the implementation of sector-specific solutions, developed in cooperation between all parties. This, in turn, stands to lower the cost of living and energy, curtail road traffic, and significantly reduce the city’s environmental footprint.

“Dubai Pulse’’ Data Platform

Smart Dubai is committed not only to transform Dubai into a smart city, but also to make it the happiest and brightest city in the world with the most intelligent infrastructure, seamless services, and efficient operations.

Benefitting from the experience of major cities around the globe, Smart Dubai set out to implement the most comprehensive city plan in the world – one that includes a smart transformation in all sectors. To that end, the “Dubai Pulse” data platform was designed to be the digital heart of Dubai, catering to the needs of every sector in the emirate.

“Dubai Pulse” is the first stage of the planned Smart Dubai Platform, the digital backbone of the city. The platform acts as an interactive data board for the city of Dubai, accessible to the public, the business sector, and all decision makers. It publishes up-to-date information about various metrics related to the city including traffic, transport, the economy, social welfare, healthcare, and education, in addition to innovative entertainment and tourism services, such as smart restaurants, aviation services, and traffic systems. The platform also facilitates the management of economic services, provided to investors and businessmen using smart stock-exchange services, ports, and customs, among other smart services. The smart sensors distributed throughout the city will ensure these services are provided seamlessly, allowing all residents to connect with their city.

The Smart Dubai City strategy 2021 calls for a data-driven government, where data will be used as a strategic asset to the benefit of the public, as well as the government itself, as the Dubai Open Data Law increases operational efficiency by reducing data-access costs.

The Smart Dubai Platform was launched in March 2016, with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du) as a strategic partner. It is the central operating system of the city, providing easy access to services and data for individuals, as well as public and private organisations. It stands out from similar projects around the world; many major cities have built ICT platforms, but these platforms were limited in scope and restricted to specific services. The Smart Dubai Platform, meanwhile, comprises civil services, the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud services, Big Data, and digital ID technology.


The Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) along with the Smart Dubai Office launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy with the goal of making the Dubai Government the first in the world to conduct 100 per cent of its transactions via an online encrypted database by the year 2020.

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy revolves around three main pillars: First, increasing government efficiency by transferring 100 per cent of government transactions to the Blockchain network; second, strengthening industrial activity by creating a new Blockchain-based business model; and finally, securing Dubai’s global lead in terms of adoption and implementation of Blockchain networks and transactions.

In a bid to realise its goal of turning Dubai into a fully digital city by 2020, the Smart Dubai Office recently launched its own initiative – in collaboration with IBM as strategic partner and Consensus Corp as consultant – to implement Blockchain technology, in tandem with the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020.

In February of 2017, the Smart Dubai Office established its own accelerator in the Dubai Future Accelerators programme; many promising SMEs are currently working with the accelerator to innovate Blockchain technologies intended for government services. In addition, Smart Dubai Office is working on the design and construction of the Blockchain platform as a service used by government entities in Dubai to implement its initial Blockchain projects.

The Happiness Agenda

People wonder whether happiness can be achieved, feeling it’s too broad a term. They ask Smart Dubai about the point of installing all those sensors, collecting all that data, and experimenting will these cutting-edge solutions. The simple answer is: we are doing these things to improve the performance of the city, and when the performance of the city improves, people benefit, their lives become easier, and they become happier. Happiness has been an objective for Smart Dubai since its first day.

Smart Dubai’s vision is to make Dubai the happiest city on the planet. Smart Dubai has registered many achievements over the past three years, which raised the city’s score on the happiness index to 90% in 2016. Smart Dubai is now aiming for an ambitious 95% by 2021.

Smart Dubai works diligently and ceaselessly to make everyone in Dubai happy; it conducts research and implements a happiness index to raise the level of happiness throughout the city.

In the travel and tourism sector, for example, the “Happiness Hackathon” was launched with the intention of significantly improving traveller satisfaction. The Hackathon focused on different aspects of travellers’ experience, drawing on similar studies that were conducted in other sectors. The team examined current innovations and explored the future prospects of certain technologies. Smart Dubai is verily working to expedite the future.

Smart Dubai has collaborated with the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority to create a framework for corporate happiness. Smart Dubai’s efforts go beyond that, however, as it had appointed 43 “Happiness Champions” within government to work in accordance with its “Happiness Agenda”.

In order to assess the degree of correlation between happiness and the initiatives of the Dubai Smart City Strategy, the Dubai Smart Office collaborated with Gallup and Oxford University to analyse existing Gallup data and discover which measures have the greatest impact on happiness.

Dubai Now

Smart Dubai has adopted a future-focused work ethic; it works with its public and private partners to ensure that Dubai is a safe, efficient, and influential city – one prioritises happiness and works to provide a good life for all of its residents and visitors. To this end, it has always been committed to evaluating and innovating city-wide solutions.

Dubai is a pioneer when it comes to installing and using smart platforms to facilitate access to its and spread happiness among them. This is the core of Smart Dubai’s vision and mission to make Dubai the happiest on the planet. The “Dubai Now” platform is one of the most important achievements in that regard; it provides a single, centralised service platform that meets the needs of Dubai’s population, as mandated by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The platform offers access to 55 smart services from 24 government and private institutions, making life easier for all residents and economising their time. It comes as no surprise, then that Dubai ranks high globally in all aspects of competitiveness.

“Dubai Now” provides fast, seamless, and paperless services to the residents of Dubai allowing them to finish transactions and paperwork via smartphone without the need to physically visit government centres. Smart Dubai is working to put the platform ahead of other similar applications around the world, constantly upgrading it and pushing to digitise 100% of services in Dubai by 2021.

“Saad” Service

Smart Dubai continues to look ahead in an attempt to forecast the major changes to come, and work proactively to answer them. It has launched an Artificial Intelligence Roadmap in collaboration with its strategic partners to discover innovative technological solutions to make services and inquiries digital and paperless.

“Saad” is the first cognitive computing system to be implemented in Dubai. It uses the databases of various government and private entities in Lebanon to offer official and reliable answers to customers’ questions, and provides them with the necessary procedures, steps, documents, and requirements to conduct their transactions.

In the early stages, “Saad” begins observing and learning – it can distinguish and understand natural language, develop hypotheses, evaluate and learn. Then, in the second stage, the system can explain and increase its knowledge. This is all done by populating the system with data, either from the participating entities or from customers’ queries. This artificial intelligence service can handle a huge amount of unstructured data to find answers and make informed decisions, which enables specialists to focus on decision-making.

Smart Dubai and “Dubai Economy” have introduced “Saad”, the first cognitive computing service, which has been trained to answer questions and inquiries about business licensing and registration. The service is designed to be accessible to entrepreneurs, business owners, and local and foreign investors who wish to establish a business in Dubai. Smart Dubai is already at work with its partners to spread the “Saad” services across all of Dubai.


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