Telecommunications operators are close stakeholders in the mGovernment initiative,” said H. E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, director general, UAE mGovernment and deputy director general, Information and eGovernment Sector, UAE TRA.
The UAE mGovernment Initiative is dedicated to the full implementation of government service delivery through mobile devices, Al Mansoori states. To achieve this aim, he considers operators to be an important part of the vital projects like Trusted Service Manager (TSM) and Federal Network (FedNetOne of the strategic projects of the UAE Mobile Government Initiative is FedNet. This project connects information systems and provides the exchange of data and transactions with a high degree of security and reliability.
“FedNet will play an essential role in supporting cloud services and eventually Smart Cities in the UAE,” Al Mansoori said.FedNET will provide high speed connectivity and integration between the various e-government systems of UAE government departments. The network will connect all federal institutions in a way that raises efficiency and reduces costs, according to UAE TRA.
“For the launch of the smart chip for mobile phones, comprising compressed data of the user, the Executive Committee for the Safe Services project at TSM includes in its membership nine major government entities including Etisalat and du,” he added. UAE TRA believes that there is need for a neutral broker that sets up business agreements and technical connections with mobile network operators, phone manufacturers or other entities controlling the secure element on mobile phones. In order to answer to this need, the regulator started TSM.
Al Mansoori set some recent examples on this cooperation. “After the launch of the mGovernment initiative, du announced the Mobile Applications Developers Community initiative to support the UAE mGovernment. Under the initiative, students would contribute by developing mobile applications, in order to enable access to various government services via smartphones,” he said.
He highlighted that the UAE mGovernment has the support of telecommunications operators in its initiatives.
The TRA works closely with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Both organisations are planning to announce the National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals.
“The plan lays down detailed measures for the UAE’s mTransformation and to mobilise the stakeholders in the public and private sectors to provide services through mobile phones and smart devices by engaging intelligent service-delivery methods such as mobile applications that are based on predictive analytics,” he noted.
It will also include collaborative initiatives between the different stakeholders. “It is based on the UAE mGovernment guidelines, the UAE mGovernment roadmap, the PMO’s studies and surveys on mGovernment, the diverse background of involved stakeholders and the expertise of the Smart Government team at the TRA that has based their studies on global Smart Government frameworks and international benchmarks and best practices,” he said.
Al Mansoori said that the UAE mGovernment believes in public-private partnership. “No mGovernment or Smart City would be successful without active cooperation and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Hence, the UAE mGovernment opened doors for collaboration with key partners who are now supporting Centre of Digital Innovation (CoDI), FedNet and Trusted Service Manager (TSM),” he added.
“Another important project is CoDI. It provides services for testing and verifying the security and functionality of mobile applications for Government departments and educational organisations within the UAE and other GCC countries. It seeks the development of human talent especially among UAE citizens to enable them to develop applications in general. This serves the goal of building an ideal Smart City,” he added.
By 2015, the mGov aims to get all government departments mobile. However, Al Mansoori reckons that there are some challenges on the way. “The challenge is that the maturity level of the eGovernment programmes across all the seven emirates is different. There seems to be more competition amongst them than collaboration. There is no clear governance model for eGovernment programs across the country,” he said.
“During the launch of the mGovernment initiative, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed directed all federal and local government entities to provide their services to customers in an innovative and easy manner via mobile phones within 24 months,” he reminds.
Al Mansoori believes that one of the biggest challenges of the mGovernment transformation is preparing government entities for data sharing and integration.
“Further issues that are challenging and need special attention include improving the data structures, nature of personal and business data handling and storage, and having a common core data for all federal and local entities,” he said.