Dubai among world's top creative data-driven cities

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Dubai among worlds top creative data-driven cities
Dubai's strong push towards blockchain and paperless government makes lives of its residents more comfortable.

Published: Fri 10 Nov 2017, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Nov 2017, 3:27 PM

Dubai has been ranked among the world's top creative data-driven cities in the world, thanks to the emirate's strong push towards blockchain and paperless government to make lives of its residents more comfortable.
According to World Economic Forum's 'Data-Driven Cities: 20 Stories of Innovation' released on Friday, the emirate is rated along with Boston, Copenhagen, Fukuoka (Japan), Kolkata, Quito (Ecuador), Rio de Janeiro and Yinchuan.
Dubai launched a citywide blockchain strategy in 2016. Beginning with pilots in 2017, it is exploring the extent to which implementing blockchain technology in government services can improve their efficiency. The strategy also aims to create an enabling environment for startups in the blockchain industry.
Visa applications, bill payments, licence renewals, health records and property transactions are among the services the city is starting to put on the blockchain, moving towards integrating blockchain technology as much as possible by 2020. The strategy to encourage the private sector to adopt blockchain technology includes accelerators and competitions, with a council comprised of approximately 50 members from private sector and the formation of crossborder partnerships.
Believed to be the new oil and valuable resource, analysts believe that data, in the future, will be the key factor to drive economies' growth. Melbourne and Dublin are creating an open data culture so more citizens and startups could find ways to use it to improve city services and create economic and social value.
Citing examples of how data is improving the lives of citizens, World Economic Forum stated that in Quito, citizens are encouraged to use an online calculator to learn about their water footprint and how to reduce it. Copenhagen is forecasting the distribution of rainfall to anticipate where and when its wastewater system will come under most pressure, and take steps to manage the infrastructure accordingly. In Fukuoka human sewage is being used to produce hydrogen for fuel in fuel-cell vehicles, which results in 60 per cent less carbon emissions than hydrogen produced by other sources.
"It is now more important than ever to understand the consequences of data - how it can affect people's lives. Big data is far more than just a matter of quantity: it is Big Promise for our cities as they face the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution," said Carlo Ratti, director, SENSEable City Lab, MIT and co-chair of the Global Future Council on the Future of Cities and Urbanisation.

By Waheed Abbas

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