An adapted version of Google Now, the Dubai Now app is under development and is expected to be launched by the end of 2016. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: Residents of Dubai will soon have their very own intelligent personal assistant with the launch of Dubai Now, an app that will incorporate information ranging from traffic and weather to where you can make auto-payments, officials announced on Tuesday.

A senior official at the Dubai Smart Government (DSG) Department told Gulf News the smart system will be launched at the end of next year.

“Dubai Now will be a single point for government services, where registered users will be able to receive notifications on their smartphones about traffic congestion through the Roads and Transport Authority’s application Journey Planner,” said Ali Al Azzawi of DSG.

Speaking at a workshop on Tuesday, Al Azzawi explained: “Users will have a dashboard appearing on their smartphones with updates, in addition to the regular streaming of customised information.”

Customers have different behavioural patterns and should be treated differently, as a potential user is not the same as a regular one, he said. By adopting descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, the smart system will profile customers and provide an insight into available information through its network.

“Dubai Now will be powered by different entities but users will have the same experience, as all customers need to know is that the source is trustworthy and they can get it. They do not want to know where it’s from,” he said.

Built on the lines of Google Now, Dubai Now will enable users to log in once to obtain access to 2,000 government services managed by 19 different government entities through 25 micro apps across 11 categories.

“[In the workshop] we focused on how big data is used for improving the lifestyle in Dubai smart city. We will analyse our big data and how we can use them to design smarter services and apps that meet the needs and ensure the happiness of the public,” said Ahmad Bin Humaidan, director-general of DSG.

Through using big data, the government app will be able to improve the experience of users as the services will be catered to a personal level, as data related to the type of pages that users searched for online, or transactions and behavioural data will be collected and then interpreted through qualitative and quantitative methods.

“In cooperation with various government entities and other partners, DSG has built an institutionalised smart system using open and big data for implementation across its several services in line with our 2014-2017 strategy,” said Bin Humaidan.

He explained that the smart system forms part of DSG’s seven smart initiatives to offer services that will raise the happiness index of residents, which comprises smart shared systems, smart participation, smart adoption, smart empowerment of employees, smart information security, smart data and smart administration.

During UAE Innovation Week, Dubai Smart Government is exhibiting at its Mirdif City Centre stand a wide range of its smart innovative services and applications, as well as a Customer Experience laboratory enabling the public to post their feedback on government services. The lab offers residents, especially those with physical and visual disabilities, to contribute for the first time to the process of designing services that meet their requirements and preferences.



What is Dubai Now

Dubai Now is an adapted version of Google Now — the intelligent personal assistant that was developed by Google. In 2012, Popular Science magazine named Google Now the “Innovation of the Year.”

Dubai Now is an application currently under development by the Dubai Smart Government that is expected to launch by the end of 2016, which will act as a personalised assistant to residents of Dubai. It will be able to make recommendations and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of web government services.

Instead of having 2,000 government services on a number of mobile applications that requires you to log in for each time, Dubai Now will offer all those services and also provide personalised updates from government departments that you regularly contact.

Through using a smartphone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) and its connection to the internet, motorists will also receive updates and suggestions on alternative roads to use if their regular route is congested with traffic.