Aug 14, 2017
by Abdul-Aziz M. Buali

8 things developers should know about New Smart Dubai

Leading the region is not an easy job! Dubai for the last 25 years proved that it has what it takes to make the right impact and lead the Middle East and the rest of the world to a new and happier future. The last initiative, Smart Dubai, is a living proof of what the city leaders are preparing for the future of new Dubai.

As stated on Smart Dubai portal " The Smart Dubai initiative formally undertaken in March 2014, aims to establish Dubai as the smartest city, driven by four key strategic pillars". Those pillars are:

- To optimise the use of the city resources

- To integrate daily life solutions

- To protect people and information

- To enrich life and business experience

The new Dubai represented by its leaders is inviting developers from all the world to be part of Smart Dubai. So what should developers know about Smart Dubai vision in order to find the right niche in the new Dubai?

1 - Data is the king

According to Dubai Data Economic Impact Report,"Treating Data as a commodity will unlock 10.4 billion AED in benefits".

The Dubai Data initiative is led by the Dubai Data Establishment (DDE) and decreed by the Dubai Data Law (Law No (26) of 2015 on Regulating Data Dissemination and Exchange in the Emirate of Dubai). It underpins the Smart Dubai strategy and is an essential component that facilitates connectivity and access to services and information, and enhances decision - making process and seamless service delivery for both public and private sectors.

There are four main development fields that will create value for using the data.They are:

• Data Enrichers, who combine open data with their own sources and/or knowledge;

• Data Enablers who do not profit directly from the data, but do so via the platforms and technologies they are provided with;

• Data Developers who design and build Application Programming Interfaces (APIs);

• Data Aggregators who collect and pool data, providing it to other channels of development.

2 - Happiness is the Key

Dubai Leaders set the roads to the future fuelled by happiness!

You may ask yourself what that means for web and application developers! Well, that means that Dubai cares about their population and its level of happiness. Everything should lead to the increase of the happiness index and improve the way of life and communications around the city.

Along with that vision Dubai created the happiness agenda. The happiness agenda is pursuing an objective to develop a scientific approach to increase the level of happiness in Dubai. That approach requires big data insight.

The city is creating and innovating web/app portals to cumulate data and understand the population needs.

The Dubai government has categorized the population needs for happiness under four categories:

1 - Affective needs

Think about sharing and creating opportunities to be happy and share happy moments.

2 - Basic needs

Satisfying people's basic needs is the way to initial happiness. Creating channels to ease the population’s living and create solutions to manage existing systems are the key to this category.

3 - Cognitive needs

Let us call it the creative need. When the individuals are happy and feel comfortable then they will act as broadcasters of happiness and that will lead to more innovation and creativity.

4 - Deeper Needs

Acknowledgment of the individual’s contribution to the society is the best key to create happy society. Creating a medium to monitor and report individual's performance is important to give them self-value and increase their level of happiness. Smart Dubai is creating channels to give a deeper sense of achievement for the population of Dubai by evaluating their contribution to the Dubai society and reward them back on such contribution.

3 - Dubai Blockchain everything

Yes, that is true. We are block-chaining anything that can be done in a disruptive way. The Dubai government saw a potential in Blockchain technology and how to digitalize itself to become a paperless government by 2020. The blockchain simply turns the standard database management and transforms it into open distributed database with value. All the data is encrypted and shared among different ledgers to secure and authenticate the data and its source.

The Dubai blockchain strategy is based on three pillars :

1 - Government Efficiency

Implement blockchain technology in applicable government services.

2 - Industry Creation

Support the creation of a blockchain industry through providing an enabling ecosystem that empowers start-ups and businesses.

3 - Local and International Thought Leadership

Lead the global thinking on blockchain technology and become the hub for blockchain intellectual capital and skill development.

4 - Dubai Artificial Intelligence

Dubai wants to adapt robotic cultures. They already opened the first Dubai Smart Center. The center is uniting humans and robots under one roof. The robotic smart center represents 14 governments departments with fully functional services.

Dubai has the vision to be a leader in the field of applying AI to the government and private sectors by 2030. That vision is fueling the developers to create more ways to integrate the data into new innovative ways to help humanity and simplify the daily tasks.

5. Mobile Apps becoming essential part of living in Dubai

Since the announcement of Smart Dubai in 2014, more governmental entities are adopting a new approach to reach the population through mobile/web applications. That can be seen through many initiatives in different Dubai governmental departments.

The UAE Ministry of Interior has created an app/web portal for the population to perform almost all the tasks: from issuing a new visa to paying fines without the need to visit the ministry in person. That has increased governmental processes efficiency and also improved the level of satisfaction and happiness among the UAE residents.

The private sector is also riding the wave of creating and developing its own apps. From ordering food to performing banking and wire transfer tasks, it all can be done via your smartphone and your fingertips.

The banking sector is a big shaker in the Smart Dubai movement as they are welcoming mobile wallets as part of offered services and you see the total integration in payment portals with the new smartphones and wearables gears.

6 - Expo 2020 is important milestone

" Connecting minds, creating the future",that is Dubai Expo 2020 theme. The whole country from East to West is moving towards the 2020 Expo in a full flag support to what it will bring for the country. That is a great indicator for developers to understand that creating solutions and initiatives to support Expo 2020 is an essential part of the country’s overall strategy to capitalize the event and create more opportunities for the governmental and private sectors.

7 - Repeating success in favored

Dubai love to create their own success stories but they also don’t hesitate to direct their investment to more stable successful approach to the technology. Finding success and duplicating it in Dubai was always a key for impressive start-ups around the country. is one of the latest impressive startups that end up by being acquired by Amazon. Amazon paid $580 million in cash for, which is a pure duplication of Amazon itself.

There is no shame to repeat something in Dubai as it is success what is counted and not only the creativity.

8 - Smart Dubai is a battlefield for developers

Yep, it is!

You might think that it is all about quality but the reality is the competition is high in the price without a full understanding of the deliverables and how they should perform, which leads to some " Low Quality" mobile apps and web apps. That slowly starts to change but you should keep in mind that you might need to be more flexible in pricing strategy and you should promote to your clients what matches Smart Dubai vision in order to increase their ROI and give them an edge in the New Dubai era.

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