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10 February, 2014

Governmental decision-making and building citizen trust are key to the development of smart cities

The development of smart cities of the future will be led as much by the ability of the cities to leverage advanced technologies as by firm governmental decision-making and building citizen trust.

Dubai, UAE; February 10, 2014

The development of smart cities of the future will be led as much by the ability of the cities to leverage advanced technologies as by firm governmental decision-making and building citizen trust, panelists at a plenary session of The Government Summit observed.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, until February 12, 2014, in Dubai, the Summit's session on 'World-class services: First hand perspectives from global cities' presented the smart city models of London, Seoul and Barcelona.

Moderated by Richard Quest, CNN presenter, the session focused on the need for global cities to exchange their knowledge and experience in developing 'smart cities' while underlining the power of big data to make transformational change.

Sir Edward Lister, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning of London, defined a smart city as one that provides the services needed by the people to improve their quality of life while leading to economic regeneration. He said building smart cities is about changing 'the way we do things,' which calls for introducing the right systems right from the planning process.

Xavier Trias, the Mayor of Barcelona, said drawing on technological innovations to serve the people is the essence of building smart cities, and highlighted how Barcelona employs smart technologies to drive the efficiency of varied sectors - from healthcare to public transport. "The key is to build an ecosystem that benefits all sections of the society," he said.

Dr. Gunso Kim, Deputy Mayor of Seoul in South Korea, presented the successful model of deploying late-night public transport in the city, by evaluating citizens' requirements after studying telecom usage trends.

The panelists observed that it is not easy to define the limit of a smart city, stressing that discussions on smart cities must not be constrained to creating new widgets but must focus on the overall decision-making process at the governmental level. The process of transforming into smart cities started late, and it is a very slow process.

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On concerns on privacy, the panelists said personal data of citizens must not be used for private or personal goals, but only for solutions that benefit the larger community, while being transparent about the process. Ultimately, a smart city "is one that changes the way the person on the street works," observed Sir Lister.

Everyday new questions are being raised, new applications are being developed, and questions are being asked about how data is used, said Xavier Trias. "Creating a smart city is also about building trust with citizens, as this is a new journey we are embarking on."

In its second edition, The Government Summit is hosting over 3500 participants and continues its partnerships with a number of international organisations and institutions such as the United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Economic Forum as a Strategic Partner.

-Ends-

For further information, please contact:
Nedal Alasaad / Samer El Zein,
ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller,
Tel: (971 4) 4507600
Fax: (971 4) 4358040
Email: nedal.alasaad@bm.com ,samer.elzein@bm.com

© Press Release 2014