Imagining the smart city of the future
Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi says d3 is the region's first pilot greenfield community, which presents experts with the opportunity to follow a holistic approach to be 'smart by design'.
Dubai - Dubai Design District closest in the UAE to offer a glimpse into it
Dubai has made a lot of progress in recent years in its vision to become a global smart city, with a number of initiatives and technologies being adapted to improve the lives of its residents.
While many UAE residents have a preconceived idea of what a smart city will look like - aided by popular sci-fi movies - Dubai Design District is the closest that a location in the UAE has come into offering a glimpse into what the smart city of the future will look like. d3 - as the district is popularly called - is a flagship smart city project in Dubai that is looking to use the power of data to manage lives in an easier way.
The design hub utilises a number of smart city technologies such as predictive data analytics to help retailers and tenants, smart metres, solar rooftop panels, system automation, energy dashboards, electric car charging stations, 3D facial recognition and a smart Wi-Fi network that is designed to support a wide range of IoT devices.
Dubai Design District's COO, Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, spoke to Khaleej Times about the work being done at d3 and how it relates to the Dubai Plan 2021, which really places emphasis on the city's people and society. As part of this wider vision, the Smart Dubai initiative was created in 2014 to establish Dubai as the happiest city on earth.
To be able to achieve this, four strategic pillars were identified and six dimensions classifying initiatives citywide. The strategic pillars include: Smart Economy, Smart Living, Smart Mobility, Smart Governance, Smart Environment and Smart People.
Al Shehhi explained that d3 is the first pilot greenfield community in the region, which presents experts with the opportunity to follow a holistic approach to be 'smart by design'. He also revealed that d3 Smart City is working on 21 smart initiatives, that are set to deliver over 45 smart services in the coming years. These initiatives have been implemented with the objective to provide an enriched customer experience and to help drive businesses forward.
As a foundation, d3 Smart City has worked with Cisco to develop the ICT masterplan design and developer guidelines which highlight the requirements for smart city technology, infrastructure and networks architecture. These interactive guidelines can be used by any city in the world as a manual for building the ICT infrastructure required for a smart city. d3 is currently under process of implementing several features as are other developments in Dubai. Speaking on the progress that has been made at the greenfield district, he said: "Today, d3 has provided all developers in the UAE, and at the global level, with ICT masterplan guidelines on smart city infrastructure. Our aim with these smart city initiatives is to operate the city in a more efficient way."
Vinayan William, director of smart city operations, talked about the smart Wi-Fi system installed at d3, which allows the monitoring of people movement in and around the district. The Wi-Fi connectivity is supplemented by Li-Fi that is used to provide an interactive guide of the district via d3 mobile app.
"We can tell how many people have visited each of the buildings around d3, and for how long they stayed," he explained. "Another key area of focus has been the energy that is consumed at each of the individual buildings."
The data that is accumulated is displayed on energy dashboards for tenants, which will enable them to reduce their energy consumption by 12-30 per cent. In addition, solar panels on the rooftops of the buildings, that will be connected to the smart grid of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, will create further savings of up to 20 per cent on energy bills for common areas.
Other technology that is already in use includes the region's first 3D facial recognition access control that is being used to improve mobility and access efficiency through zero-touch smart security.