Oman plans ‘smart’ transformation of Muttrah city

Oman Monday 13/March/2017 23:02 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman plans ‘smart’ transformation of Muttrah city

Muscat: A new collaborative plan proposed by government institutions has the potential to transform the face of the historic city of Muttrah.

The city is likely to get a major boost in digital and public infrastructure to improve the living environment for residents and make it more tourist-friendly.

“Muscat Municipality is undergoing a major rehabilitation project to improve livability in Muttrah, preserve the diversity and make the city more tourist friendly. Our vision is to expand economic activities and promote a hassle free environment in the city of Muttrah. We are looking to enable new business opportunities, cater to tourists and shopkeepers and ease parking and traffic issues in the city,” Ali Al Shidhani, director of research centres and ICT research told the Times of Oman.

E-services, digital infrastructure and resource management are all on cards to develop the aging traditional and business hub of Muscat, which has played the most significant role in developing the Sultanate’s economy.

The measure, started by The Research Council (TRC), in collaboration with the Muscat Municipality and the Supreme Council for Planning, will function through an online platform that is being developed by TRC to facilitate research-based networking to revamp Muttrah city. The platform will also serve future projects.

“We want to make better use of data and mobile applications for better decision making.

“We plan to utilise the digital revolution to provide innovative services,” he added.

The online platform is not limited to inputs from large government and private entities, but also to ideas from residents of the city, Al Shidhani said.

“The platform is membership based and will be open to business partners, innovators and researchers. Citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries of any smart city and their engagement will be crucial to make Muttrah a ‘smart’ city in the future,” he stated. The initiative is currently in its planning phase and according to Al Shidhani no definitive deadline has been decided but the vision has been defined.

Around 150 cruise liners were expected to visit the Port Sultan Qaboos, which last year was converted into a tourist only port, with cargo traffic moving to the ports of Sohar, Salalah and Duqm.

Omran recently revealed the multi-million rial waterfront project that would include a shopping mall, six hotels, housing, offices and docking facilities for cruise liners and yachts and a string of tourist attractions.

The OMR500 million plan however, is different from the one planned by TRC, which plans to engulf whole of Muttrah city in its digital envelope.