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Tech-driven innovations ‘key to ME growth’

Dubai, April 16, 2013

The Middle East’s future development is dependent on its effective embrace of sustainable, technology-driven development strategies, said an urban matters and public security expert ahead of a major IT summit in Doha.

The second edition of Arab Future Cities Summit will run on April 22 and 23 at St Regis Doha.

Sean Patrick O’Brien, vice president, Urban Matters & Public Security, SAP – the world’s largest business software company –  said that urban governments could radically alter their development course for the better by adopting  a “five-by-five” philosophy.

The approach entails building the future via an intricate, interlined combination of cloud, analytics, mobility and database technology.

“Backed by the right level of visionary leadership, this quintet of solutions can have a dramatic impact in the Middle East through driving good governance, empowering users, engaging communities, unlocking innovative services and achieving unprecedented urban resilience,” said O’Brien, who is one of the keynote speakers at the Arab Future Cities Summit.

The notion of “Five by Five” - two-way radio parlance for signal strength and clarity – is likely to be met by receptive ears across the world, he added.

According to the UN, the number of people living in cities will increase to 6.3 billion by 2050, up from 3.6 billion in 2010.

By 2025, there will be 37 megacities with populations of more than 10 million. The Economist Intelligence Unit states that 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban centers, with the 120 top cities accounting for 29 per cent of all GDP. 80 per cent of the world’s total GDP stems from urban environments.

A new report from Pike Research says that such explosive urbanisation is set to drive a new era of smart city initiatives defined by the integration of technology with a strategic approach to sustainability, well-being, and economic development. The research organisation forecasts that the smart city technology market will grow from $6.1 billion annually in 2012 to $20.2 billion in 2020.

“Cities are continually evolving, hugely complex entities,” added O’Brien. “To develop in an appropriate and sustainable manner requires considerable data-led insight, not to mention the ability to react in real-time to problems ranging from mere inconveniences to life and death situations.”

“Rapid urbanization demands sustainable growth, smarter economics and, most importantly, people power. What we need is good governance through efficient strategies, resource optimization and smarter transport grids,” O’Brien continued.

“We need user empowerment stemming from real-time, data-driven enlightenment and a new level of transparency that helps populations connect, collaborate and prosper. We also need streamlined processes, and the confidence to innovate that only comes with the most resilient risk prevention and reaction measures.  That is what it takes to be a best run city, and that is what SAP’s Urban Matters program is all about.”

SAP’s Urban Matters program was formed last year with the goal of helping cities and urban settlements improve the lives of people and deliver better, more effective government.

The program builds on an over 30-year old track record of helping cities innovate and sustain themselves. Over 1,700 urban governments worldwide currently run on SAP, O’Brien noted. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Doha | SAP | Conference |

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