Middle East 'needs smarter cities'
Dubai, February 10, 2014
SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software, has called upon government leaders to embrace smarter, tech-enabled cities to improve both lives and businesses across the Mena region.
Smart cities are a key investment focus for SAP, and the company’s expertise incorporates a distinct urban matters program, which aims to improve the lives of citizens and deliver better, more effective government through a combination of cloud, analytics, mobility and database technology, said Sam Alkharrat, the managing director of SAP Mena.
He was speaking ahead of next week’s Government Summit in Dubai at which SAP is the official innovation partner.
Alkharrat also hailed Dubai’s smart city initiative’s potential to inspire and drive positive change across the region.
“As the region faces a growing urban populationand increased pressure on resources, governments are starting to embrace the concept of widespread connectivity, technological empowerment and Smart Cities,” he said.
"More than ever before, government services are going mobile and adopting cutting-edge cloud and analytics technologies. A huge wave of data is presenting new and unique ways to innovate, and we now live at a time when we can generate valuable intelligence from virtually any process, action or thing for real-time analysis and action," stated Alkharrat.
This presents a hugely exciting and profound opportunity for government leaders to drive enhanced spending, transform services, spur sustainable development, accelerate innovation, and empower communities.
Dubai, he said, was a perfect example of a city showing great ambition in this respect, and its influence will surely inspire change throughout Mena”
The urban population for Western Asia (which includes the Middle East, Turkey and the Caucasus) and North Africa, is slated to grow by 42 per cent from 259 million in 2010 to 354 million in 2025, when 66 per cent of the region’s population will be living in urban areas, according to data from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Globally, the Smart City technology market will grow from $6.1 billion in annual revenue in 2012 to $20.2 billion by 2020, according to Navigant Research. The Middle East is seeing strong growth, with the region’s IT spending slated to grow by 7.3 per cent from 2013 to $32 billion in 2014, according to the IDC.
In addition to Dubai’s Smart City initiative, which has gained increased momentum following the city’s Expo 2020 win, there are a host of promising developments across the region, including six economic cities in Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s bid to build three Smart Cities: Lusail Smart City, The Pearl-Qatar, and Energy City.
Top SAP executives from the region and company’s global team are set to discuss the fast-moving challenges and opportunities related to emergent imperatives such as Smart Cities and m-government services at the Government Summit, which runs from February 10 to 12 under the theme “Leading Government Services”.
SAP’s has a strong and innovative track record within the public sector. SAP’s Urban Matters program alone builds on an over 30-year old track record of helping cities innovate and sustain themselves. Over 1,700 urban governments worldwide currently run on SAP.
Abdulla Hashim, the senior VP of ICT, Etisalat UAE, said the Emirati firm's partnership with SAP will help it to lead the way in driving m-government service adoption in the country.
"It will bring in simplicity, speed and flexibility into processes involving both citizens and government decision-makers. An advanced mobile ecosystem is becoming a powerful and a potentialgame-changing enabler, helping to unlock new routes to innovation and improve everything from business prospects to everyday life," he added.-TradeArabia News Service