The UAE leadership is strengthening the Middle East and Africa's smart city spending to double to USD2.7 billion by 2022. This is according to industry experts as they announced the news ahead of GITEX Technology Week 2019 in Dubai. Smart cities will be a big focus at the event, being held under the theme of "Synergizing the Mind and Technology Economy."
Government agencies across the UAE including Abu Dhabi's Masdar City, Dubai Smart City, Expo 2020 and UAE Vision 2021 are driving digital transformation and government services. Boosted by the UAE, professional services firm KPMG shows that the MEA smart cities market will double from USD1.3 billion in 2018 to USD2.7 billion by 2022.
Among the biggest drivers of smart city projects are direct and indirect cost benefits. For example, during the digitization of bill payments, direct cost benefits are faster payments and optimized auditing whereas indirect cost benefits are residents spending less time traveling to pay bills and happiness in faster payments.
Savitha Bhaskar, the COO of UAE based Condo Protego said “The Middle East and Africa’s doubling smart cities market underlines how governments are finding the right use cases, funding, and technologies to move smart city projects into deployment and seeing tangible results.”
She also said that because smart cities generate an enormous amount of structured data, such as from sensors, and unstructured data such as streaming CCTV and social media, Middle East smart cities leaders should follow an approach that includes data lakes, high-performance computing and command and control centers that take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) insights to enable real-time smart cities.