Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Dubai world’s first to assess ITU smart city indicators

Steve Rogerson
May 19, 2015
Dubai will be the world’s first city to assess the efficiency and sustainability of its operations using the key performance indicators developed by the International Telecommunication Union’s ITU-T focus group on smart sustainable cities. The two-year pilot project will evaluate the feasibility of the indicators with the aim of contributing to their international standardisation.
“ICTs have great potential to improve the quality of life enjoyed by city inhabitants,” said ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao. “Dubai’s experience will assist the ITU in developing a standard means to measure the success of smart-city strategies, and I commend Dubai for its will to promote urban sustainability at the international level.”
The collaboration between Smart Dubai, an initiative to convert Dubai into a smart city, and the ITU is part of the ITU’s efforts to encourage the adoption of master plans for sustainable urban development by city administrations. The key performance indicators focus on the elements of a smart city that rely on information and communication technologies (ICT), offering a measure of progress relevant to ICT aspects of urban-development master plans. The Smart Dubai initiative’s application of ICT makes the city an ideal test bed for the use of the indicators and their subsequent refinement.
“The Smart Dubai initiative is an ambitious one,” said Aisha Bin Bishr, assistant director-general of the executive office of Dubai. “We are transforming a thousand government services through innovative applications of ICT. The broad scope of the initiative makes for an excellent field trial of the ITU’s key performance indicators as we have an opportunity to trace the efficacy of a wide range of ICT applications from root to maturity. Selecting Dubai to be the first city to assess the efficiency and sustainability of its operations using the key performance indicators developed by the ITU is a challenge to showcase the achievement of our city in this field. We will work hard to make a successful pilot to open the doors for other cities to learn from the Dubai experience.”
The pilot project will test and verify the key performance indicators as a contribution to their international standardisation. Dubai’s experience will also assist the ITU in the potential development of a global smart sustainable cities index derived from the set of indicators.
“UAE is home to some of the highest ICT penetration rates in the world,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates. “We are creating the conditions necessary for government and industry to capitalise on this ICT ubiquity to build smarter, more sustainable cities that are highly responsive to citizens’ needs.”
The agreement between the ITU and the Executive Office of Dubai was signed this month at the ITU Forum on Smart Sustainable Cities in Abu Dhabi.
The focus group has offered an open platform to identify the standardisation requirements of smart sustainable cities, concluding its activities with the release of 21 technical reports and specifications. The reports and specifications, in addition to key performance indicators, detail the requirements of smart sustainable cities in areas spanning from the management of electromagnetic fields to smart water management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, intelligent buildings, open data, and cybersecurity and data protection.