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Dr Aisha Bin Bishr and Othman Sultan at a press conference to announce the launch of the Smart Dubai Platform in Jumeirah on Wednesday. The system will be operational in the third quarter. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: City leaders are building a new city-wide online exchange point called Smart Dubai Platform that will collect data from thousands of new sensors to be installed across Dubai, analyse the information and then share it live in real-time.

The new platform was announced on Wednesday and will collate data gathered from what is called the Internet of Things, a term used to describe a digital network of sensors installed in physical objects such as roads, curbs, municipal offices, buildings or in digital devices such as smartphones.

Electronic data sensors will be installed in everything from Dubai streets and parking lots to building entrances and public parks to create a digital mosaic of human activity from which trends can be identified to help plan for the future, said backers during the platform announcement.

Billed as a “digital backbone powering the city in the near future”. the new Smart Dubai Platform will begin operation in the third quarter.

Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office, introduced the platform at The Westin Hotel in Jumeirah.

“Today marks our next leap in becoming the happiest city on earth,” Bin Bishr said, noting the new platform will “become the central operating system of Dubai”.

The new platform will benefit everyone, she said.

“The Smart Dubai Platform has been envisioned through a detailed and collaborative scoping process that placed the customer at the centre. This meticulous process has resulted in a Smart City Platform blueprint that is unlike any other globally and encompasses the full city. We are reshaping the way government services are structured to meet the needs of the customer rather than the other way around,” Bin Bishr added.

Othman Sultan, chief executive officer, du, told the gathering not to get too caught up in the technology end of the new platform, noting that it is for and about people, a tool to help make their journey through life happier.

“The wisdom is that the platform is centred around humans,” Sultan said, noting that as the Smart Dubai Platform evolves through its initial three stages over years to come, it will allow users to tailor their own digital dashboards to access only the data they want and need.

Sultan said that “this huge amount of data that will be increasing day by day will become a platform that will include data ingestion, aggregation and storage”.

“Smart experiences will be available everywhere, from home, offices, smart hubs, malls, airports, public places, walks and, of course, at the level of the city,” Sultan said.

He told Gulf News at the launch that over time, thousands of data sensors will record a moving city to paint a picture that accurately reflects the wants and needs of its residents, office workers, government workers, tourists and visitors.

All data collection will meet the full letter of the Dubai Data Law and security and privacy rights will be fully protected under the new platform, said Sultan.

Sweeping tool

“We envision radical enhancements to our city leadership decision-making, operational efficiencies, and daily quality of life: for a city planner, directing operational cost-savings into data-driven research and development; for a mother, checking health data from her child’s school to determine if a flu vaccination is required; for a father, reviewing household energy consumption to conserve resources and save money for a family vacation; for a tourist, using the live public transportation data to make the most of his time spent in the city; and for all commuters, enjoying reduced traffic congestion as more and more services are transacted online, says Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office.