With the likes of NEOM, Dubai’s Expo City, and Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, the MENA region is seeing a surge in smart city developments.
An increasingly popular trend in the MENA region’s real estate industry is the rise of smart cities. Well-thought-out smart cities are being utilized not only as environmentally friendly and cost-effective development solutions. But they are also introducing a significantly more sustainable approach to transform cities for the better.
DRIVING FORCE BEHIND SMART CITY DEVELOPMENTS
The development of smart cities within the MENA region is largely driven by the national-scale sustainable development agendas implemented by countries in the region. These strategies include Egypt’s Vision 2030, Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, Saudi Vision 2030, and the UAE’s Projects of the 50, alongside the more focused Abu Dhabi Economic Vision in tandem with Dubai’s Industrial Strategy 2030. These are all with the intent of creating a sustainable and prosperous future. A future that adheres closely to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and therefore making a difference for the better.
STANDOUT EXAMPLES OF MENA SMART CITIES
Smart cities are being planned, constructed, and executed throughout the MENA region. But here are some noteworthy mentions that put the positive transformations smart cities are having into perspective:
Egypt’s New Administrative Capital
Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) is leveraging artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things amongst other technologies within its smart city approach. Sophisticated surveillance systems are core examples of these technologies in practice.
The sophisticated surveillance systems are fostering rapid exchanges of information to enhance the security and safety of the city’s built environment. The system’s key capabilities include spotting theft, following suspicious people or things, keeping an eye on traffic and crowds, and automatically sending out emergency alerts when necessary.
Extensive utilization of these electronic services enhances the quality of life for city residents. But this application of technology also keeps citizens well informed about their surroundings. This, therefore, plays an important role in increasing the well-being of citizens. Examples of essential communication functions that are being automated include providing real-time traffic and congestion updates and the ability to respond quickly to emergencies.
The new city’s infrastructure also makes use of connected fibre networks and shared mobile towers. This gives residents of the NAC quick access to high-speed communication services. Therefore, the city is heavily integrated into the global economy as well as tightly networked.
Dubai’s Expo City
The Expo City in Dubai provides another standout example of a smart city in the MENA region. With the use of cutting-edge Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies, Siemens, the German technology company, plays a key role in Expo City. This advanced technology monitors and optimizes energy usage, power efficiency, lighting, water usage, and air conditioning systems. The foundation of this digital infrastructure is operated via Siemens MindSphere system, a cloud-based IoT operating system.
Thousands of sensors, systems, gateways, and building management software contribute data to MindSphere. Then programs such as Navigator, Siemens cloud-based energy, and asset management platform analyze and display this data after its collection. But, the MindSphere also makes automated choices that regulate and alter these various systems for optimal conditions and usage. So, this implementation of technology within Expo City creates a PropTech experience that makes managing the delivery and control of essential utilities a hands-off and efficient process.
Saudi Arabia’s Alnama
Alnama, named after the Arabic word for thrive, has been designed by Dubai-based master planner URB. The city is intended to be a self-sufficient, carbon-neutral city that would meet all of its own renewable energy needs. Equally, the city will utilize a variety of technology and act as a hub for green-tech companies. The aim of this is to create a completely self-sufficient (or closed-loop) city in terms of its energy, food, waste, and water. Leveraging integrated technologies into the city’s infrastructure, a two-way smart grid system will be utilized to create this green economy and provide resources more efficiently and optimally. These technologies include the Internet of Things and Information Communication Technologies
OTHER HONOURABLE SMART CITY MENTIONS
Saudi Arabia’s NEOM is arguably the most well-known and highly regarded smart city development in the whole of the world, let alone the MENA region. So, the need to mention it here is a no-brainer. However, other key smart city developments in the region include; Ras Al Hamra in Oman, Lusail in Qatar, and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, UAE. These developments are all equally impressive and embrace what it means to be a smart city in their unique ways.
Smart cities are changing the way people interact with their environment and how they utilize facilities. This change also highlights the shift towards implementing advanced and automated technological systems within the infrastructure and architecture of cities. This is intended to create a more informed, organized, and technologically-centric living experience.
Therefore, the rise in the development of smart cities will play an increasingly important factor in the adoption of PropTech to create a seamless living experience. But the smart city advancements also play a key role in the advancements of a higher standard of living in an environmentally conscious and sustainable manner.