Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The UAE and Saudi Arabia (KSA) are adopting digital transformation strategies the fastest in the MENA region and will soon be home to green smart cities, according to ENGIE Solutions, an international leader in sustainable energy solutions.
Governments in the UAE and KSA recognize that data-driven innovation is central to economic growth in cities, with Abu Dhabi climbing 14 places over the past year to rank 28th out of 118 cities in the 2021 IMD Smart City Index, and Riyadh rising 23 places to 30th.
Speaking at the Smart Cities and Communities of Tomorrow seminar hosted by the France Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, Ian Harfield, Managing Director of ENGIE Solutions (GCC), said: “As populations around the world grow, cities and communities are increasingly looking to implement green digital initiatives that offer greater connectivity of infrastructure and services, as well as energy efficiency generating emissions and cost savings.”
Harfield said that long-term collaboration between government and the private sector will accelerate the transition to sustainable smart cities, improving the overall quality of life of the population, adding that residents increasingly expect their cities to be environmentally friendly.
A new report by Mastercard, Smart Dubai and Expo 2020 found that more than half (53 percent) of UAE respondents consider living in a sustainable city as the most exciting innovation in future smart cities
Also speaking at the event, Louis Frederic Robin, ENGIE’s Head of Low Carbon Cities & Public Lighting, said that smart cities built on data were key to urban planning.
“Using integrated and tailor-made solutions, we can recognize the needs of citizens to make urban spaces more sustainable. Our solutions not only optimise costs, and the way public services such as lighting, waste, urban mobility, green spaces, buildings, parking and water are managed. At the same time, they improve the quality of life of residents, in addition to reducing an urban area’s environmental footprint, which is our focus.”
Robin also highlighted ENGIE’s collaboration with the Ohio State University in the United States to decarbonise and modernise the university’s 485-building campus as part of a 50-year contract. He emphasized how similar collaborations can be implemented in large urban communities in the region.
The Smart Cities seminar was also attended by Khalid Al Marzooqi, CEO of Tabreed, Dr Mohammad Al Awadhi, Senior Director Business Development – Smart City of du, Bashar Kilani, Managing Director, Accenture Middle East, Christophe Papin, Smart Solutions Director, Siradel, Sanjay Kumar Sainani, Senior Vice-President & CTO, Huawei Digital Power, and Jim Campbell, Regional Director, Red Engineering.
The senior executives shared best practices, case studies and how cities and communities are driving investments into new technologies and data utilization during the session.
About ENGIE Solutions:
ENGIE Solutions is the partner to cities, communities and industries for low carbon energy and services. Locally, we bring ENGIE’s global and regional expertise in technical services, energy efficiency, digitalisation and renewables across all types of infrastructure and sectors.
The company is committed to investing in countries through empowering the local workforce, implementing smart technological solutions, and delivering financed and guaranteed energy efficient projects for our partners.
ENGIE Solutions is part of the ENGIE Group, a global reference in low-carbon energy and services, present in 70 countries with more than 171,100 employees.