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Dubai explores the role of decentralised data in smart cities

A new report by Smart Dubai underlines the opportunities of technologies such as AI and IoT to transform city services and emphasises the importance of open networks.

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All of Dubai's plans are aimed at reinventing the city and taking services to a higher level
All of Dubai's plans are aimed at reinventing the city and taking services to a higher level

More than two thirds of the world’s population (68 per cent) will be living in cities that produce more than 80 per cent of global GDP by 2050, a new study finds.

 

While data will be the engine driving the growth of these megacities, according to Smart Dubai’s report, Decentralised Data for Dubai, it will pose fresh challenges in infrastructure, communication, transport, and healthcare.

 

Data and smart cities

 

The report, conducted in association with Outlier Ventures D3 Sandbox, sets out to examine the role of data and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in smart city building.

 

The report findings underline the opportunities presented by the convergence of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledger technology (DLT), and the Internet of Things (IoT), to transform city services for citizens and enterprises.

 

The study additionally notes that open networks were vital for delivering the next stage of open data infrastructure.

 

“All of our efforts and plans are aimed towards the ambitious objective of reinventing the city as we know it, taking services to a higher level, and addressing any and all challenges standing in the way of the bright future we strive to build,” said Younus Al Nasser, assistant director general of Smart Dubai, and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment.

 

“With that goal in mind, we are looking to tap into the massive potential of technology – and data, in particular – to promote innovation and create value for our communities, companies, partners, and investors in the UAE and abroad.”

“It’s an economic model policy-makers and the world at large are now realising is sub-optimal, unsustainable and one that holds back innovation"

The report points to outdated and ineffective work systems and the lack of coordination among the various relevant city entities have restricted innovation, stunting comprehensive and sustainable development.

 

According to the report, public-private partnerships have helped establish networks, constituting a first step to addressing the issue, but the challenge remains in connecting individuals, assets, and data to truly benefit from these networks.

 

It underlines the importance of data as the single most important resource for the economy of the future. To take full advantage of its potential, however, the current data warehouses, which impede innovation, must be replaced, where the free flow of data is essential for fostering collaboration, innovation, and transparency in economic relations.

 

More devices than people

 

The study also reveals that by 2025, the amount of data produced annually will reach 180 zettabytes, up from 4.4 zettabytes in 2013. The number of times a person interacts with communication devices is set to reach 4,800 per day within six years’ time (which is once every 18 seconds).

 

Meanwhile, the number of devices connected within the Internet of Things surpassed the number of human beings in 2017 and are expected to reach 20.4 billion in 2020.

 

“Today’s web has evolved in a direction its creators didn’t foresee,” added Jamie Burke, CEO, Outlier Ventures. “It’s an economic model policy-makers and the world at large are now realising is sub-optimal, unsustainable and one that holds back innovation.

 

“D3 is a bold move by Smart Dubai that signals its belief in the potential of truly open data to unleash economic and societal value.”

 

He continued: “At Outlier we believe the Convergence Stack will drastically expedite the adoption of Web 3.0 making data usable by a wider number of participants so innovation can flourish and economic value can be realised right the way across the data ecosystem.”

 

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