From left: The Managing Partner of Effectas Business Improvement, Paolo Sebben; the Founding Chairman of Gulf Organisation for Research and Development and moderator of the session, Dr Yousef Al Horr; the Deputy Governor and Under-secretary, Makkah Province, KSA, Dr Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Khudairi, and the Chief Technical Officer, Qatar Rail, Daniel Leckel, during a panel at the 2nd Annual Middle East Smart Cities Summit at Sheraton Doha yesterday. (Salim Matramkot)
By ANILKUMAR NARAYAN
DOHA: Qatar is better positioned to develop Smart Cities than many other countries in the region, said Hazem Galal (pictured), Global Leader, Cities and Local Government Sector, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The comparatively smaller size of the country and a smaller population are conducive for the faster development of such cities, Galal said.
Galal was talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the 2nd Annual Middle East Smart Cities Summit yesterday, organised by Fleming Gulf Conferences in association with the Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD).
Galal is also the co-chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development group that is contributing to the ISO standard for cities and smart infrastructure around the world.
Galal said a more welcoming government in Qatar is a big positive for doing any business in the country, but a lot more is needed to enhance the inter-governmental coordination and project implementation.
Galal said other positives about Qatar to set up smart cities, apart from the smaller size and a manageable population, are the deadline for FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the scope to set up more green-field cities like Lusail. Galal said: “Qatar has a target year. And the World Cup is the best time for Qatar to showcase its vibrancy and infrastructure capabilities in front of the whole world.”
He said: “Things are improving in Qatar, but there is along way to go. Collaboration is very important for any company to conduct their work and the government departments should work together with private sector and other non-governmental organisations for a better work flow.”
Regarding Smart Cities, he said: “Technology is not the only element of a smart city, it has better healthcare, better transportation facility, work culture, leisure activities and pollution-less environment for a better life.”
The summit was also attended by experts from different fields.
Talking about the concept of smart cities, Paolo Sebben, Managing Partner, Effectas, a management consulting company, said, it’s all about a better living and enhance the growth of life with better technology and exchange of ideas.
An expert on smart city projects, Sebben said: “The vision of the intelligent city reflects quality of life, independence of energy supply and reducing emissions using smart technology.”
The summit was chaired by Dr Yousef Al Horr, Founding Chairman, GORD and co-chaired by Hussain Naimi, Adviser, Lusail Real Estate Development Company.
George Galica, Head of Business Solutions at Vodafone Qatar, also presented the vision and experience in deploying smart city applications around the world and how the company would bring this to Qatar.