MADINAH: Digital transformation is one of the key strategies of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, as it aims to upgrade a number of its main cities into smart cities in order to overcome challenges using smart technology solutions.
In line with this objective, the Smart Madinah Forum 2022 has kicked off at the Namaa Al-Munawara building in Madinah on Sunday, Feb. 6 and will run until Feb. 7.
Under the slogan “Where technology meets tranquility,” the Smart Madinah Forum is hosting 12 speakers from around the world, including Saudi technology experts and partners, to share knowledge and expertise on smart cities. Among its aims is the empowerment of entrepreneurs to develop technical products through innovation labs and smart city platforms.
The forum is organized by Al-Madinah Region Development Authority under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal, deputy governor of Madinah.
The forum will see discussions on how smart cities can improve quality of life and ensure sustainability, the role of innovation in promoting sustainable development, the introduction of urban innovation tools and the transformation of Madinah into a smart city.
The group of international specialists participating in the forum sessions will review their experiences in global smart cities, discuss the challenges faced by residents of and visitors to Madinah and apply smart city concepts to address those challenges.
Speakers at the forum include:
- Albert Seubers, global strategy director, Atos
- Benson Chan, chief operating officer, Strategy of Things
- Prof. Arturo Bris, director of the International Institute for Management Development’s World Competitiveness Center
- Dr. Patricia McCarney, president and CEO of the World Council on City Data
- Abdulrahman Ibrahim, chief data analytics and innovation officer at Al-Madinah Region Development Authority
- Dr. Jonathan Reichental, founder of Human Future
The two-day forum will answer questions about what exactly a smart city is, as well as its mission and key challenges. Other questions that will be addressed include: Is technology an objective or a tool in smart cities? Can a religious, historic city like Madinah be transformed into a smart city? What is a ‘City Innovation Lab’? What is the concept of a ‘City Platform’?
“If our future belongs to cities, and all the evidence suggests that this is the century of smart cities, then we [must] make those environments…excellent, high quality, equal, healthy for as many people as possible,” Reichental, forum speaker and founder of advisory, investment and education firm Human Future, said.
“So as long as we’re focused on really top-notch outcomes for human beings in an urban context, I think we’re working towards a smart city now,” he added.
The forum will also highlight the pioneer experience of Madinah in its first steps toward becoming a smart city without compromising its Islamic culture or identity.