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Five Saudi cities make it to 2024 IMD Smart Cities Index

RIYADH, April 11, 2024

The digital transformation of smart cities in Saudi Arabia, supported by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) in collaboration with several government entities, has contributed to the advancement of five Saudi cities in the 2024 IMD Smart City Index, issued by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), compared to the 2023 report.
The Al Khobar city in the kingdom's Eastern Province has joined the index for the first time this year, alongside capital Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, and Madinah. 
Riyadh maintained its third position among Arab cities, while Makkah ranked fifth, Jeddah sixth and Madinah seventh, reported the SPA citing the Index.
On the global scale of the index, Riyadh advanced 25 places compared to last year, Makkah maintained its 52nd position, Jeddah advanced one place to 55th, and Madinah jumped 11 places to 74th. Moreover, Al-Khobar secured the 99th position among 142 cities worldwide.
The Index focused on various criteria, including residents' awareness of the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities smart, the balance achieved between economic and technological factors while considering human aspects, and bridging the gap between population aspirations and needs alongside modern trends in smart city development. 
This also involves leveraging digital technologies for better resource utilization, reducing carbon emissions, and making public spaces more responsive to the population's needs, stated the report.
Efforts led by SDAIA, in collaboration with government entities, have contributed to enhancing the ranking of Saudi cities in the IMD Smart Cities Index through a package of projects and initiatives that support the concept of smart cities.
These include working on the national platform for smart cities, which provides advanced analytics through simulation models to support the development of plans and future directions based on AI algorithms. This platform includes real-time operational indicators to monitor vital sectors in Riyadh, aiming to achieve sustainable urban development that contributes to enhancing the quality of life in the city.
Additionally, efforts are underway to innovate a tool for detecting visual deformities in Riyadh using cameras deployed across the city, with analysis conducted using AI techniques to identify visual deformity data on a weekly basis, said the SPA report. 
This initial step will extend to four other cities in the Kingdom, with weekly surveys conducted in priority areas to support planning efforts and improve the quality of life, leveraging innovative technological solutions for more developed and sustainable cities, it added.


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