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Liam Zhao
While Smart City projects have been under consideration for years, the current maturity of different enabling technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing or IoT heralds a major transformation of urban management in the coming years and decades. Incorporating these innovations into our urban environments points out potential gains in terms of robustness, security, flexibility, adaptability and reliability of public infrastructure and services delivered to urban dwellers.
This is true for Qatar, where several projects are underway to turn its urban centres into Smart Cities as the country prepares to host the showcase FIFA World Cup 2022. For example, more than $5.5B has been invested in creating a model mixed-used district at Msheireb Downtown Doha, considered the world’s first downtown regeneration project leveraging connectivity and intelligence as the foundation for the local economy, lifestyle, and environment.
Meanwhile, the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has launched the Tasmu Smart Qatar Program, consisting of the Smart Qatar platform and a Playbook of 114 digital use cases across five priority sectors, including transport, logistics, environment, healthcare and sports.
Some of these innovations were on display at the recent Smart City Expo 2022, where experts from Qatar and around the globe gathered to share ideas and solutions for creating a better, more sustainable future for cities and their citizens. Huawei was part of the Smart City Expo 2022, exhibiting under the theme of “Making Smart Sustainable.” There, we showcased how our Smart City solutions improve liveability and sustainability by accelerating intelligent decision-making while supporting Qatar’s digital economy. Various Huawei smart city innovations and demos at the stand included digital transformation platforms for smart cities, CloudCampus technologies, its Everything-as-a-Service value proposition, Green Energy solutions and 5G.
But implementing and maintaining Smart City applications and infrastructure demands highly advanced ICT skills. That is why Huawei supports another of Qatar’s key priorities, nurturing its talent pool. This participation by the broader ecosystem in talent development is crucial to mould all-rounded graduates prepared for a dynamic digital-led workplace. Huawei will continue doing its part to advance the country’s ICT skills with our initiatives such as the ICT Competition, Seeds for the Future and other initiatives.
We must also ensure that the environment remains central to these discussions about the cities of the future. A Smart City is a sustainable city. Therefore, pursuing a green ICT strategy is paramount, especially as Qatar aims to reduce 25% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Indeed, When Qatar was awarded the right to stage the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world, it not only committed to organizing a breathtaking tournament but also a mega-event delivered sustainably. Qatar pledged to deliver the first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in the event’s history by ensuring that all projects meet stringent sustainability benchmarks. For example, Qatar will roll out a fleet of electric buses to ferry fans to and from the stadiums and other parts of Doha.
Luckily for Qatar and other environmentally-conscious cities in the region, digital technologies like AI, cloud, and big data have significantly impacted the rate of carbon emissions across all industries. According to the World Economic Forum, ICT will help reduce industrial emissions by 12.1 billion tons globally by 2030. This is ten times greater than the emissions by the ICT industry itself. As a leader in the global ICT industry, Huawei has been developing innovative green technologies that make ICT products more energy efficient. Using its simplified site solution, renewable energy, and intelligent technologies, Huawei helped carriers deploy green sites in more than 100 countries.
In the post-plight era, the Qatar government aims to continuously promote the deployment of intelligent applications, drive the digital transformation of organizations and industries, and improve service efficiency and social benefits. At Huawei, our technologies and capabilities help accelerate the implementation of the 2030 national vision and strive to build Qatar into a regional data hub, leveraging the opportunities in the AI+cloud intelligence era.
(Liam Zhao is CEO of Huawei Gulf North)
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