Secure, Transparent, and Efficient: Key Words for Blockchain-Driven Smart City

Smart Dubai Director General: Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr

Blockchain may not hold all the answers, but Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr – the bold tech lady of Dubai – believes it could provide the bedrock of streamlined efficiency, transparent accountability and security that the Smart Cities of tomorrow will require.

Bin Bishr, director general of the Smart Dubai Office, heralds the disruptive tech behind cryptocurrency as the most direct path to solidifying Dubai’s reputation as the world’s benchmark Smart City.

“Blockchain has immense untapped potential for many different industries; ranging from healthcare to transportation to energy,” she says. “Dubai is the global leader in committing to adopt this transformational technology to ultimately improve the lives and happiness of its citizens.”

Blockchain’s record-keeping technology is the underlying source of security and accessibility that makes cryptocurrency so appealing. Blockchain technology knits blocks of digital information together in a chain of transparent, permanent, unalterable transactions, with each modification resulting in an additional link in the data chain. Bin Bishr aims to harness blockchain’s potential for intelligent urban planning and propel the city towards its objective: to become the first fully blockchain-powered Smart City in the world. Dubai is surging towards its targets.

“Dubai has established itself, and in record time, as a global destination for innovators and entrepreneurs in the Blockchain industry,” she says. “Guided by the vision of our leadership, the emirate has become synonymous with bravely embracing avant-garde technologies and utilising them to create an advanced, connected, and seamless urban experience for its residents and visitors.”

“Beyond this, Dubai is also acting as a pioneering catalyst and collaboration platform to innovations in blockchain technology and its application.”

There are several strategies in place to ensure Dubai maintains its momentum and vanguard position in the tech revolution. The city recently completed the first phase of a blockchain-powered paperless initiative aimed at aligning government services to a more modern model of convenience and mobility. The six government entities that participated in phase one successfully reduced their paper usage by 57%. Smart Dubai plans to completely transfer the city’s government internal transactions and public services to digital platforms by the end of 2021.

Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr celebrates the milestone. “The full digital transformation and elimination of paper transactions by 2021 is now closer than ever. The results we’ve achieved so far demonstrate that the transition towards a paperless government will reflect positively on the government services offered to people in Dubai, improving their lives in the process. This, in turn, brings us even closer to achieving our objective of making Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the world.”

The initiative promises to save residents, visitors, and the government hundreds of hours – not to mention more than 130,000 trees felled each year for paper pulp – which promise to boost the emirate’s competitiveness and stimulate economic growth.

To share the knowledge gained through Dubai’s tech transformation for the benefit of emerging Smart Cities worldwide, Smart Dubai has launched the Smart Cities Global Network. “At Smart Dubai, we firmly believe that embracing technology and embedding it in the very infrastructure of cities is at the core of smart city development. The Smart Dubai Office is extending its hand in partnership to all individuals and entities that share our passion for emerging technologies and encourage the exchange of knowledge and skills.”

The collaborations and partnerships arising through the Smart Cities Global Network underpin Dubai’s claim as the global hub of Smart City research and development. “It cements Dubai’s global prestige, and the city’s soft power that comes with knowledge, further transforming the city into a laboratory for experimenting with and implementing bold pilot projects and breakthroughs,” said Bin Bishr.

To attract tech talent to Dubai, she has extended an invitation to compete in Smart Dubai’s Global Blockchain Challenge. “To build a truly smart city we must establish and empower a holistic blockchain ecosystem,” she says. This includes building the advanced infrastructure for the technology to thrive, attracting talent and empowering start-ups to implement their innovations.

For the challenge, 20 shortlisted start-ups pitch their ideas at the Future Blockchain Summit to claim cash prizes worth a total of $45,000 – and the chance to implement their ideas in Dubai.

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