Smart Cities: An Open and Connected Ecosystem

Ghassan Bawab
CTO, VP of Dubai OpenLab
Huawei, Dubai

There are many definitions of a “Smart City”, and the response depends on who you ask. In a nutshell, a smart city is a platform and a hub with an ecosystem of built infrastructure and services that use a specific set of technologies to achieve a higher quality of life and more sustainable urban development.

Urbanization poses enormous challenges and issues to city leaders, but it is also an opportunity to create digital towns and cities, with a wired-up and connected approach to everyday needs and problems. There is no single solution to solve city challenges, and we must put citizens first in order to be successful. This leads to the concept of a smart city as an "open and connected" ecosystem, aiming to drive digital innovation to improve citizens’ quality of life and make urban living sustainable by excelling in the economy, transportation, and environment; and in “people services” such as healthcare, education, living, and most importantly, governance. To realize this ambition, city leaders must rely on the information and communications technology expertise from high-tech organizations across industries and domains. With the integration of technology across these various domains, smart cities can overcome their challenges and achieve their predefined visions. Organizational silos must transform into a problem-solving ecosystem, supported by technology solutions that help address citywide challenges and opportunities. Not only are these smart cities able to deliver higher-quality services to citizens more efficiently; they can also reduce operational costs and free resources for additional value-added efforts.