Kingdom ideal for ‘Smart City’ development

Kingdom ideal for ‘Smart City’ development
Updated 09 September 2014

Kingdom ideal for ‘Smart City’ development

Kingdom ideal for ‘Smart City’ development

Saudi Arabia is an ideal place for large-scale development and a conducive testing laboratory for “Smart City” services, according to Omar Al-Momtaz, consulting manager for IDC Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi cities have witnessed an exponential increase in population, to the point where Smart City management has become a necessity,” he said, adding that it would help existing cities cope better with quick population growth.
He said that no city in the world has seen its population treble at least twice a year, notably in Makkah in Haj and Umrah, while regulating the flows of many millions of people moving across a well-defined, yet limited space.
He added that the ongoing Haramain high-speed railway project, spanning 450 km and running at more than 300 kph, could represent the ideal starting point for Smart City traffic management, since stations at Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic Cities and Madinah, are already under construction.
“They are located in future ‘Smart Cities’. With a traffic load of more than 3 million passengers per year, it surely requires intelligent support services and additional public transport systems (buses, Jeddah metro, etc.) to deliver on such services,” he said.
Al-Momtaz added that the journey toward a Smart City involves a multifaceted transformation.
“These initiatives must impact areas from the provision of transport, energy, and health care services, to the state of public safety and government services,” he said.
He added that a Smart City comprises the successful integration of multiple domain initiatives that result in a multiplier effect to the city as a whole.
He also said that enabling access to a vibrant economy for businesses, citizens and local government is the ultimate goal of a Smart City and effective Smart City solutions must integrate information and operations between city systems.
“For instance, to provide effective and smart public safety, governments would require a seamless view across its border management, surveillance, emergency response and other related systems,” he said.
He said that the following include the attributes for a solution to be considered “smart”:
*In gathering data, the pervasive broadband networks must be in place to collect and transport it in real time or in near real time.