Participants in the Smart City Expo Doha, which kicked off yesterday in the framework of the fifth edition of the Qatar IT Conference and Exhibition (Qitcom 2019), discussed the future plans of smart cities and concepts related to the development of smart initiatives for a sustainable future.
Smart City Expo Doha 2019 aims to gather smart city experts from all around the world to discuss and think of possible solutions to the challenges cities are facing nowadays by means of innovation and new technologies that are advancing the urban future.
The conference represents a platform for the government, semi-government and private sectors in Qatar to review the most important plans for the establishment of smart cities and the most important future projects in this framework, in addition to the most prominent technological solutions adopted by these entities in order to improve the work.
In this regard, a session was held during the conference, in which officials from various sectors in the country took part, including the Assistant Undersecretary for the Digital Society Development Sector at the Ministry of Transport and Communications Reem al-Mansoori, Msheireb Properties Acting CEO Ali al-Kuwari and Deputy CEO of the Free Zones Authority Abdullah bin Hamad al-Misnad, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, QNB Group Ali Rashid al-Mohannadi, and the Head of Information, Qatar Airways Group Saeed Asfahani.
In her speech, al-Mansoori talked about Qatar’s transformation into a smart country, supported by digital innovation and initiatives, with a government that gives its citizens, residents and visitors the best possible experience and responds to their different and changing needs.
She added that in order to achieve this vision, Qatar Smart Program (Tasmu) was launched in 2017, which harnesses advanced technology and innovation to drive sustainable economic diversification and improve quality of life.
She explained that the programme has defined a roadmap to be implemented over the next seven years divided into stages which are to prepare the environment, build a technological foundation, and develop the capabilities of the smart sector.
Al-Mansoori added that the Environment Preparation phase includes the development of Qatar’s central smart platform and related services for more than 100 projects in five sectors, the development of Qatar’s core technology capabilities including cloud services and analytics, and the establishment of Digital Valley of Tasmu for economic empowerment and technology investment and building a foundation for technology developing smart sector capabilities, developing a smart sector strategy as well as to disseminate the strategy of the programme and its main objectives in each sector, and develop a platform dedicated to each sector and integrated with Qatar’s central smart platform.
She added that the programme seeks to improve public services in Qatar through five priority sectors, including the transportation sector, to facilitate the transportation of individuals through a safe and environmentally friendly network by reducing 20% of congestion in the road network, and reducing road traffic deaths to 6 people per 100,000, and a 10% reduction in average transport carbon emissions.
In the logistics sector, the programme aims to develop a competitive logistics sector that supports international trade growth by reducing import costs by 50% and raising the logistics performance index to 12 globally, increasing the contribution of the logistics sector to GDP to 10%, while Tasmu programme seeks to reduce import costs by 50%, raising the logistics performance index in Qatar to 12, and increasing the contribution of the logistics sector to GDP to 10%.
In the environment sector, the programme aims to achieve sustainable consumption of natural resources and ensure food and water security by reducing energy consumption by 20%, reducing water consumption by 35%, in addition to covering 40% of food needs locally. In health care sector, the programme aims to enhance the population’s access to quality health care services at affordable prices, reduce the risk of chronic diseases by reducing obesity by 5%, reducing smoking by 30%, and improving access to healthcare.
Reem al-Mansoori said that in the field of transportation, there are 25 upcoming projects that will help facilitate movement of people through a safe and environmentally friendly transport network, in the environment, 19 upcoming projects will help promote sustainable consumption of natural resources and ensure water and food security.
For his part, Msheireb Properties Acting CEO Ali al-Kuwari spoke about Msheireb Downtown Doha project, which took into consideration the establishment of an integrated technological infrastructure that supports Smart City plans, and it incorporates high-quality platforms, facilities and smart applications that make it easier for residents to live their daily lifestyle.
Al-Kuwari added that Msheireb Downtown Doha project will soon host the first integrated digital bank, a fully digital consumer store and other state-of-the-art facilities.
The Deputy CEO of the Free Zones Authority Abdullah bin Hamad al-Misnad explained that the Authority was established in 2018 to oversee and regulate the free zones in Qatar, and these areas are based on providing a high level of digital infrastructure, which stimulates companies and institutions working on innovation and performance in accordance with smart city standards.
He explained that free zones are being established to provide companies with everything they need to succeed, starting with the new infrastructure and access to facilities, in addition to the tax incentives and investment fund, Qatar’s free zones are highly competitive and ready to start businesses.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer at QNB Group Ali Rashid al-Mohannadi talked about the digital transformation witnessed by the group since 1997 to provide smart services and solutions for customers and then starting in 2000 when the group began to provide smart solutions and services in cooperation with the government.
He pointed out that the Group supports all digital transformation plans and contributes in its work in support of smart cities, and is working with many local and international partners to improve services based on smart solutions.
For his part, the Head of Information, Qatar Airways Group Saeed Asfahani talked about the significant transformation witnessed by Qatar Airways in the use of modern technology, and its initiative was to launch applications and programmes that support the company’s work to compete with existing applications in the world. Asfahani said that Qatar Airways was one of the first and best companies to adopt modern technology, from the use of passenger registration at the airport based on smart solutions to the use of these solutions in the aircraft and the conduct of flights.