Muscat: Meeting the twin global challenges of more people and an evolving global economy, countries around the world are constructing entirely new smart cities, urban areas built on technology and innovation and revitalising existing ones with data- driven intelligence to boost their competitiveness.
Recognising the key role of Oman’s own upcoming smart cities - Madinat Al Irfan and Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront – in the Sultanate’s continued economic diversification, Ithraa, Oman’s inward investment and export development agency, will discuss the game-changing role of smart cities in tomorrow’s economic growth at the upcoming edition of its Inside Stories, on Tuesday, November 13 at the Training Centre of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA).
“Clearly, with cities worldwide competing for investment and talent, harnessing the potential of these Omani economic powerhouses and drivers of investment is of significant interest to the local business community and to those considering investment in the Sultanate,”pointed out Taleb Al Makhmari, Director General for Marketing and Media at Ithraa, organiser of the quarterly Inside Stories initiative.
Noting that according to the McKinsey Global Institute, the world’s top 100 cities already account for 38 per cent of total global GDP, the Ithraa Director General continued, “During the course of the evening, we’ll be touching on the technology behind these standard setting cities and their impact on the world of work as well as the lifestyle they offer but our main focus will be on their potential to drive prosperity”.
The panel will be looking at existing cities like Barcelona, New York, London, Seoul and Shanghai – places that have gone smart and using the Internet of Things (IoT) to manage everything from healthcare, public transport, traffic flows and parking to water and air quality.
“We’ll be considering what Oman’s urban eco-system can learn from how these ‘lighthouse’ cities use the smart data they gather to inform longer term planning decisions, enhancing the quality of life for residents and ensuring environmental sustainability,” explained Al Makhmai.
Ithraa’s Director General added: “Of course, we will also be zooming in on potential challenges for smart city-based businesses and issues the people who make them their home may face. We have a great panel of smart urban experts lined up for what promises to be a fascinating edition of Inside Stories and one that is set to offer participants an informative window on factors driving our way of life, our way of business and our international competitiveness in the not too distant future”.
Leading the Smart Cities discussions and sharing their expertise and insights on November 13 are Dr. Ali Al Shidhani from the Research Council and Professor Nikolaus Knebel of GUtech along with Nadia Maqbool and Stuart Caunt from 23 Degrees North.