While a person's share of electricity was one of the most important indicators to measure the progress of nations in the twentieth century, the International Internet Bandwidth per Capita now sits at the forefront of indicators that measure progress in the twenty-first century, the century of information and knowledge.
The single user's share of international internet bandwidth in the UAE is still low compared to developed countries . Despite the fact that the UAE topped Arab countries on the indicator, it was nevertheless ranked 52nd worldwide. In 2012 the user's share of international internet bandwidth in the UAE reached about 49,112 bits per second, which is about 5 times less the rate in Denmark, for example, noting that the latter occupied the tenth place globally on the indicator (as highlighted in the Arab e-Landscape Report published by Madar Research in 2013). The per capita bandwidth shares fared slightly better in Dubai than the UAE as a whole, but certainly even Dubai's share should increase significantly in line with the ambitious plans that seek to transform Dubai into a smart city. This increase must also be accompanied with the development of several mobile applications, such as those that monitor traffic, deliver complaints and petitions and conduct instant polls; applications that Dubai government departments are working on developing.
The UAE ranked first among Arab countries and 28th worldwide on the global e-government development index in 2012, published by the United Nations; a good ranking, but more work is required in order to advance further on the list. Dubai, on the other hand, was ranked 15th among the top 92 cities in the world in the study "Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide (2011-12)" conducted by Rutgers University.
Dubai occupied the sixth place in privacy and information security, ranked ninth in e-services, 15th in ease of use, 32nd in e-content and 21st in social participation. This means that the Dubai needs to exert more effort to develop its e-content and social participation.
Universities in developed countries have transformed from advanced centers for scientific research to centers of innovation, while universities in the UAE entered the phase of scientific research hesitantly. The difference between research and innovation is massive, as while research generates new knowledge (the steam engine, for example), innovation produces goods or services that are based on scientific research (the train, for example). If Dubai wants to transform into a smart city, it has to take great care of this matter and allocate adequate budgets for scientific research and innovation.
The number of computers available for every 100 students in Dubai is still very low (less than 10 devices per one hundred students). In a smart city, access to a computer for each student, as is the case in developed countries, is required. It is possible to reach this percentage in government schools but difficult to achieve in private schools for the foreseeable future. This must be coupled with the availability of all curricula for all stages of education in interactive electronic formats, and this in turn requires an extensive qualification process of educational staff.
Most developed nations utilize systems for the classification of hospitals which evaluate the level of health care provided by each hospital, using a set of international standards. This classification helps patients choose a hospital suitable for their needs in terms of technological advances as well as the availability of appropriate staff. A smart City needs a sophisticated system for the classification of hospitals, and we believe that the Dubai Health Authority should work on the establishment of this system in the coming years.
Innovation is a cornerstone of the Smart City . Despite the emergence of many creative ideas in Dubai , there is no effective system linking these ideas in order to produce new knowledge, preserve and transfer the knowledge, and provide the skills needed to develop products and service based on such knowledge. A good starting point would be to conduct an annual study to measure the level of innovation among companies in Dubai . It's preferred to use the methodology used by the European Union (European Community Innovation Survey methodology) to produce the Dubai Community Innovation Survey (DCIS). The study will measure the level of innovation in the field of goods and services, marketing, and economizing expenditure. It will also identify the effects of innovation on the evolution of the city and the factors that hinder innovation.
In conclusion, there are many other factors that must also be evaluated, particularly in the areas of sustainability of skilled labor, as the number of Dubai residents within the 55-64 age group came in at only 2 percent in 2012 (according to the Dubai Statistics Center), a low rate, as this group in particular has the expertise and wisdom demanded to further advance the vision of a Smart City.
-- Abdul Kader Kamli