Doha, Qatar, April 19, 2015 – Smart city development in the Middle East with special focus on Qatar and its key initiatives was showcased successfully at the recently concluded 4th Annual Arab Future Cities Summit, produced by global conference organizers, Expotrade. The event took place on 13-14 April, 2015 and was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Doha, Qatar. The summit lived up to its reputation of being the premier smart cities event in the region, with over 400 participants. The summit featured over 25 presentations, networking sessions and a panel discussion creating the ideal environment to discuss efficient management of resources, developments and ways to make future cities work better in the Middle East.
The summit was inaugurated by Eng. Abdulla Abdulaziz T. Al Subaie, Managing Director, Qatar Rail, who outlined the projects undertaken by Qatar Rail, especially the Doha Metro project. An integral part of the Qatar Rail Development Programme, the Doha Metro project will play a critical role in bolstering Qatar’s sustainability objectives.
The opening session was attended by dignitaries such as H.E. Deddy Saiful Hadi, Ambassador, Indonesian Embassy to the State of Qatar; H.E. Shingo Tsuda, Ambassador, Embassy of Japan in the State of Qatar; H.H. Sheikha Athba Bint Thamer Al-Thani, Chief Support Services Officer, Q.D.V.C.; H.E. Mohammed Nasser Al-Wahaibi, Ambassador, Embassy of Sultanate of Oman - Doha; H.E. Waheed Mubarak Abdullah Sayyar, Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain - Doha, Qatar; H. E. Eric Chevallier, Ambassador, French Embassy in Doha; H.E. Nurmakhmad Kholov, Ambassador, Embassy of the Russian Federation in the State of Qatar.
The agenda for the first day saw interesting sessions presented by speakers from the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), (QCERT) ICT Qatar, Masdar Institute, AEB, and premium sponsors Huawei, Accenture, Ooredoo Qatar, Cisco, Intel, Alfardan Properties, Esri, Schneider Electric, Microsoft and EMC, speaking on topics spanning the range from the regulator’s role in facilitating smart cities; Lusail city; IoT in smart cities; future connected cities and security for smart cities to enabling the urban information economy through smart cities; laying the foundation for a smart Qatar; smart living solutions, urban energy management, ICT innovation, GIS as location platform; people-first approach to innovation and research towards smart cities. The panel discussion of the day sponsored by ITS focused on the e-government initiatives taken up for building smart cities in the GCC.
Day 2 saw sessions on ‘Dohaization’ and branding Qatar; district cooling, IoT, mobility and big data, sustainability in transportation, smart and sustainable mobility services, smart energy and efficiency, intelligence and analytics for urban security, sustainability ratings and frameworks, and the ‘SunRise Project’. Speakers included experts from QNMP, QMIC, Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi, Arup, Vienna University of Technology, the Environmental Engineering Research Laboratory, France, and premium sponsors Qatar Cool, B+B SmartWorx, Proteco LLC (Al Nasr Holding) and Selex ES.
Other sponsors included GE Lighting, malomatia, TexEnergy and Almana Motors Company. The networking sessions on both days saw impressive participation from delegates, while the Future Cities Lounge was a top draw. A host of innovative products and solutions were showcased by over 30 exhibitors including smart city solution providers such as Kodak Alaris, Kansai Paint, Technoserve, FOSS, Manateq, Avtech, Cambium Networks, MDT-tex, W-Locate, WifiActiva, FCC Aqualia, Dassault Systèmes and HERE. The prize draws on both days added to the excitement, with prizes such as smartphones, smart watches, tablets, mini projectors and complimentary stays at the venue given away to lucky winners.
The event was appreciated by attendees, with the quality of delegates coming in for special praise. Safder Nazir, Regional Vice President, Smart Cities & IoT, Huawei, said, “We are glad to be back here at the Arab Future Cities in Doha. We find a very well-attended event with a high quality of guests here. We have been able to interact with a lot of people and share our vision and thought for the future of smart city development not only within Doha and Qatar but across the region as well.”
Anas Sawaf, Smart+Connected Communities Business Lead, Cisco, said “This is the second year for Cisco as a major sponsor of this event. We believe that having a large presence from the private and public sector at this event really shows the commitment in Qatar and the commitment from the private and public sectors to develop smart cities. What we have seen today is really amazing in terms of the diversity of individuals, representatives from the private and public sector across different industries like transportation, real estate, security, education etc. It is a collaborative effort and we are very pleased to see this commitment from all parties involved.”
Mohannad Khader, Vice President - Commercial, Qatar Cool, said, “Every year when we come here, we listen to new ideas, we get to know more people and great strategies from other well- reputed companies. It has been valuable for sure.”
Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, organizers of the conference, said “We are delighted that the Arab Future Cities Summit Qatar has been such a success and has achieved its core premise of showcasing sustainable smart city development in Qatar and the Middle East. We would like to thank all our sponsors, delegates, speakers and partners for supporting this event. We are honored to have been able to offer a meaningful platform to our speakers, sponsors and delegates that has afforded tremendous scope for networking and knowledge sharing.”