May 16, 2020

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority fostering smart city development through innovative strategies

Muammar Al Katheeri
3rd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2016
Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority
Dubai Smart City Vision
Catherine Sturman
6 min
Muammar Al Katheeri - Executive VP of Engineering Management and Smart City, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority
Using innovative ICT solutions, governments are empowering essential services within a city - economy, environment, health, mobility and governance &nda...

Using innovative ICT solutions, governments are empowering essential services within a city - economy, environment, health, mobility and governance – to make it more effective and efficient. In the Middle East, Dubai is the leading the way in its implementation of smart city services. 

With over 20 years of experience, Eng. Muammar Al Katheeri is a visionary with wide knowledge and experience in Construction and Project Management. Following 10 years of experience with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and heading the Smart City project committee within the organization, he has a thorough understanding and insights about smart city implementation.

Before his keynote presentation at the 3rd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2016 on 8th November, Eng. Muammar Al Katheeri discusses the importance of smart city and the integral role DSOA plays.

1.    How does Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority support the nation’s smart city vision?

Serving as a Centre of Excellence, DSOA creates prototypes and develops scaled-up models (such as the Intel Ignition Lab) that aim to focus on: 

•    Ensuring a sustainable smart habitat and ecosystem
•    Shaping a hub/destination where new technologies, ideas and cultures meet
•    Creating an agile and ‘replicable’ Dubai approach/model for the development of smart cities

As a strategic partner to Smart Dubai, DSOA supports the nation by pilot testing projects on a small scale before implementing it as a Dubai Model (on a macro scale). These projects are looked as case studies. We review, implement, and analyse its pros and cons to identify how it would best benefit the nation. 

Some of our projects that contribute to Dubai’s smart city initiative are: Efficient power consumption of lights, charging stations for electric vehicles, smart street lights, smart building technologies, smart lamp posts, LEED platinum certification, Internet of Things solutions, and many more. 

2.    The importance of integrating technology to implement smart city solutions has been repeatedly emphasized. What according to you needs to be taken into consideration when planning to build a smart city?  

We believe that when planning to build a smart city it is vital to consider the following: 
a.    Scalability 
b.    Seamless experience
c.    Collaboration and integration
d.    Innovation 
e.    Utilizing the right technology 

For this reason and being a leader in implementing new smart city solutions, DSOA is mandated to constantly collaborate with different public and private sector entities to ensure proper integration of technologies used. In line with this mandate, DSOA has become today a recognized proof of concepts destination for several smart city projects.

We have also supported major projects in Dubai that will eventually lead Dubai’s smart city transformation. Our most recent achievement in this sphere was the installation of the first Smart Street Solution in the Middle East region in collaboration with Huawei.

Through this collaboration, we have succeeded in installing a Smart Street Solution that incorporates a number of advanced features geared towards creating a friendly and secure environment for the community. These features include: 

•    Digital signage capability that allows real-time display of news and information
•    An integrated Wi-Fi transmitter that offers internet access within a 300-meter radius.
•    CCTV solution that ensures safety of businesses through intelligent surveillance. 
•    Environmental sensors that monitor outdoor temperature, humidity, and air quality.
•    Integrated nature of solution means it is ‘future ready’ – or ready to integrate additional services and capabilities in a cost effective and timely manner. 
•    Centrally controlled Smart Street Solution that allows greater energy efficiency and management.

3.    Dubai is the Middle East’s leading city for the adoption of smart cities initiatives. How do you think smart city initiatives are shaping up in Dubai?

Dubai’s smart city initiatives are currently on the right track and have shaped up well. Implementing smart solutions is an ongoing journey. Dubai has undergone this journey smoothly and organically – transitioning seamlessly from the ‘e-Government’ to ‘m-Government’ to ‘smart city’ to ‘happy living’ ecosystems. And the tangible outcomes of each phase are testimony to its sustained growth in this field. 

In its report titled ‘Dubai - a new paradigm for smart cities’, KPMG described Dubai as one of the few cities in the world that has adopted a unique approach to evolve into a smart city. The report further stated that this approach is underpinned by three themes - communication, integration and cooperation. The report reiterated that this concerted approach would facilitate Dubai’s efforts in developing as the first truly global smart city.

As for DSOA’s part, we have launched in 2014 the AED1.3 billion Silicon Park - the first integrated smart city project to be built in Dubai Silicon Oasis spanning an area of 150,000 square meters. The project articulates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and is a significant contributor to the Dubai Government’s strategic plan to transform Dubai into the smartest and happiest city in the world. The project offers residents, workers and visitors a modern lifestyle and related amenities associated with smart cities. The Dubai Government’s strategic directions on smart cities focus on six pillars: life, society, mobility, economy, governance and environment.

4.    What would you believe are challenges for Dubai on its way to becoming a smart city? 

Developing a smart city brings with it several associated challenges. Some of the core challenges at present include the need to ensure an open data platform, enabling policies and procedures, as well as a complete understanding of new laws. To overcome these challenges, we believe that successful collaboration and synergy between all stakeholders and sectors is a top priority. We also believe that the involvement of the private sector is vital in deploying new projects, and reiterate the importance of working collaboratively - rather than in silos.

5.    What will you be presenting at the Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2016?

The 20-minute presentation by the DSOA team at the Arab Future Cities Summit 2016 will offer an overview on the initiatives and activities undertaken by DSOA in transforming Dubai into the smartest and happiest city in the world.

The presentation will also highlight DSOA’s recently announced 2021 strategy that consolidates earlier achievements and takes progressive steps towards realizing the vision and mission of the integrated hi-tech park through promoting technology-based industries, facilitating their work and boosting research and development efforts.

6.    What will be the key takeaway for attendees from your presentation?

Attendees will enjoy this informative and educational session that sheds light on the transformation of the UAE's urban landscape and highlights how consumers can be more proactively engaged in developing a smart ecosystem. It will also explain how consumers have been empowered to lend a hand towards energy management and reducing the carbon footprint. In addition, the presentation will enhance the understanding of the attendees about Smart DSOA, the projects that have been implemented so far, the Centre of Excellence and much more. 

Hear Eng. Muammar Al Katheeri speak at length at the 3rd Annual Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2016. The summit is scheduled to take place on 8-9 November 2016 at Palazzo Versace, Dubai.

More information on the Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai is available now at  Follow the Summit on social media with the hashtag #AFCSDXB2016. 

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Read the July 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine

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Jun 10, 2021

217,000 extra workers needed to meet COVID-19 recovery

2 min
The Construction Skills Network says the industry will require an extra 217,000 workers by 2025 to meet demand from a fast-recovering COVID-19 pandemic.

As the construction industry’s recovery progresses, the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts have led the organisation to believe the industry will reach 2019 levels of output in 2022. 

The CSN says there will be an increase in the number of construction workers in “most English regions” by 2025, with demands forecasted at a 1.7% rise for the East Midlands, and a 1.4% rise for the West Midlands.  

Scotland and Wales are also predicted to see a surge in demand for construction workers with a total increase of 1.4% and 0.7% respectively. The North East is the only region to see a slight decline in workforce demand at -0.1%. 

Wood and interior fit-out trades among the most desirable during COVID-19

According to CSN’s forecast, the trades that are the most wanted are those of wood and interior fit-outs, with both requiring around 5,500 workers per year. Other in-demand trades include technical staff and other construction professionals, requiring 5,150 workers each year, construction managers at 3,600, and the electrical installation trade, which requires 3,400 staff per year. 

There is also expected to be demand for 7,850 non-construction, office-based professionals and technical and IT support staff each year. Steve Radley, Policy Director at CITB, said: “It’s great to see construction coming back so strongly and creating lots of job opportunities.

“We need to adopt new approaches to meet these growing skills needs and deliver these quickly. We are working closely with the government and FE to build better bridges between FE and work and make apprenticeships more flexible. We are also making significant investments in supporting work experience that make it easier for employers to bring in new blood.

“We must also make sure that we invest in the skills that will drive change and meet new and growing needs such as Net Zero emissions and Building Safety. We will be announcing plans soon to tackle specific skills and occupations such as leadership and management, digital skills, and skills related to energy efficiency”, he said. 


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