Open Data Law Hastens Pace Towards The Real Potential Of #SmartCity


Habib Mahakian, Vice President, Gulf & Pakistan, EMC

The IT world is abuzz with chat about Dubai’s new Open Data Law that’s just come into play. It was issued by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

So what does the Open Data Law mean? Essentially, it makes non-confidential data accessible to be shared between all government entities. This data can also be accessed by relevant private sector organizations, researchers, investors and service developers as well.

To understand why this news has a huge impact it might be a good idea to step back and examine the larger context. Let’s consider first that we expect to see 70 percent of the world’s population living in large urban areas by 2050. The GCC is expected to have some of the highest rates of urbanization in the world by that time.

These incredibly populated urban centres will face a host of brand new challenges on an unprecedented scale affecting everything from traffic management to delivering government services quickly and intelligently. Residents and citizens will ask for transparency, convenience and a better quality of life in tomorrow’s Smart Cities.

At the same time, the world will be populated by 7 billion people, who will have 30 billion connected devices all contributing to a data-driven existence through the Internet of Things. A community of digital citizens will expect personalised digital experiences with information and services at their fingertips at any given time.

The only way cities are going to cope is by turning to a Smart City model. Smart cities will be the only way for urban centres to optimise resources and create an environment that is safe and sustainable. At EMC we understand that any Smart City must be built on a strong ICT foundation layer that is open, agile and software-defined. We recognise that a true Smart City relies on a number of closely meshed layers. That’s why EMC Federation is engineered to deliver an expandable open architecture layer where software is defined as a service. Apps and services can build on top of that to add consumer value. Beneath the IT wizardry and ease of use lies the powerful big data capabilities of the EMC Data Lakes solution.

But Where Does That Big Data Come From? How Is It Compiled, Stored And Shared?

No matter the connectivity, the analytics, and ease of use of apps in the cloud, a Smart City can only function if it has access to big, unified, intelligent data. All the layers of efficient city management, sustainability, innovation and citizen engagement need access to this shareable data to function appropriately.

This is what the Open Data Law will enable. It allows government departments to share data that can help provide unified services to the public. It will empower innovation and will allow application developers identify opportunities of new services to citizens and build apps accordingly.  Last but not least, it will enable businesses identify new business opportunities and improve investments decisions. It’s easy to see how this law, coupled with EMC’s solutions will help activate the ecosystem of the Smart City and the partnership between the public sector, private sector and the citizens.  Governments will be able to create policies and services digital citizen centric and based on interactive insights from the citizens.

So what will the new law achieve? Simply put, it will establish a foundation to activate the Smart City ecosystem, will enable transparency and promote innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities for a better quality of life for everyone.

That’s why the open data law is something that everyone, not just the world of IT, should be excited about. It’s truly a game changer and as more GCC countries launch Smart City initiatives the Open Data Law will be a blueprint for how big data can be generated, shared, and used to benefit us all.

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