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Middle East ripe for ‘smart cities’ development

Doha, Qatar, is among the Middle East cities embracing sensors, mobile apps and smart meters. (Philip Lange/Shutterstock.com)

The next wave of “smart cities” may emerge in the Middle East. Elie Chachoua writes for the World Economic Forum that cities across the region are poised to deploy Big Data, sensors, mobiles apps and advanced infrastructure.

A confluence of rapid urbanization rates, technology prowess and a desire to tackle everyday problems such as congestion is driving the trend, the article says. “For Middle Eastern cities, therefore, becoming smart is not just an option  — it is a necessary shift, one that needs to happen fast,” Chachoua writes.

Dubai is among the region’s most ambitious, with a goal to be the world’s “smartest” city in 2017. It already launched a mobile app that provides residents with easy access to government services. Also on tap: air-conditioned bus shelters that feature Internet connectivity and mobile-phone charging stations.

Doha is installing smart meters this year that aim to promote energy conservation. The meters inform electricity customers when rates are lowest during off-peak hours.

As profiled by Citiscope, Tel Aviv’s much-heralded DigiTel e-government app is one-stopping shopping for municipal services. The city is now helping to fund a “startup accelerator” focused on urban innovation, the article says. 

Source: 
World Economic Forum

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