The Middle East countries are at the forefront when it comes to investing in digital government and smart services. Following its initiatives like Dubai Smart City and its UAE Vision 2021, Saudi Vision 2030 and the New Kuwait Vision 2035; governments are pouring funds into enhancing government efficiency and citizen services.
According to Hitachi Data Systems, Middle East Smart City innovations will support the global Big Data market growing to a record high of USD 7 trillion by 2021.
Smart Cities are leveraging connected sensors, devices, and social media in the Internet of Things era, which will see 28 billion connected devices creating a USD 7 trillion Big Data market opportunity, according to a recent report by Forbes Insights.
“Middle East Smart Cities saw an initial rush of excitement five years ago, and are now shifting from installing the technology infrastructure to an era to Big Data analytics, gaining new insights that can enhance operational efficiencies and quality of life across transport, healthcare, and energy,” said Tom Pegrume, Vice President of Emerging Markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hitachi Data Systems.
Central to Smart City success is for governments to adopt an open data platform, which shares citywide data on a single platform. Bold governments worldwide, led by Copenhagen, Denmark, have in turn monetized this platform, with a City Data Exchange that charges for organizations and developers to access and use the data.
“The biggest challenge facing Middle East Smart City leaders is breaking down barriers to share data between the public, private, and academic sectors. Smart City leaders also need to upskill staff to become data scientists and app developers to analyze city data to drive social innovation and new digital revenue streams,” added Mr Pegrume.
In particular, Mr Pegrume recommended for Smart Cities to deploy quick projects to show quick ROI, such as reducing utilities leakage with sensors, reducing traffic by supporting autonomous vehicles, and digitizing patient records to enhance patient care.
Across the Middle East, Hitachi Data Systems is seeing strong demand for the Hitachi Virtualization solution, which connects disparate data on a single platform and then delivers real-time map-based visualization and analytic insights for better decisions.