Dubai e-gov dazzles Gitex

Dubai government unveils groundbreaking mobile services and a new education programme for all.

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By  Alicia Buller Published  October 3, 2004

Twenty-six Dubai government departments are taking part in Gitex and showcasing the 1,000-plus services that are currently available through electronic channels. This figure indicates remarkable progress since Gitex 2003 when only around 600 services were available online. The goverment’s big two launches at Gitex are e-Citizen and mDubai-Pull. The former comes under the umbrella of e4all and is e-gov’s new education service for its citizens and employees. “e-Citizen is the new baby of e4all. It’s a programme to educate all of the population in basic online skills and how to use the government’s e-services,” says Rehab Lootah, e-Services provisioning manager. “By 2007, there will be no over-the-counter services, so it’s imperative that the citizens know how to use the internet,” she adds. mDubai-Pull is also a brand-new offering. For the first time, local citizens will be able to request and access government information via SMS on their mobile phones. Services available include: parking fine data, flight times and information of the current status of Dubai’s Municipality projects. “It is a matter of great pride that all 26 government departments are participating at Gitex under Dubai’s eGovernment umbrella. As a result, we have considerably expanded the size of our stand to accommodate such a large number of participants," says Salem Al Shair, director of e-services, Dubai eGovernment. “We believe that the visitors Gitex attracts are the ones who have the ability to understand fully the concept of e-services and apply it at professional and personal levels. Our participation in Gitex is designed to introduce our e-services to all segments of society,” he adds. Among the departments that will be demonstrating a wide range of online services at the stand are Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department, Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS) and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Also participating for the first time will be the Dubai Ports and Customs Free Zone Corporation, the Dubai Airport and Free Zone Authority, Dubai Quality Group and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation. New features to watch out for are demonstrations of ePay, the channel that allows people to make secure online payments for public utilities, various services and fines, without any user or processing fee. In addition, mDubai, which allows government departments to deliver SMS messages to its customers and publish WAP content, is also being showcased for the first time. This service is proving to be popular as nearly 70% of the United Arab Emirates’ population owns a mobile phone and WAP subscribers have registered a growth of 20% in 2003. Other first-time showcases include, AskDubai, Dubai eGovernment’s 24-hour access call centre and eLearn, a new programme that delivers important online training services to government departments, residents and businesses. “GITEX is highlighting Dubai eGovernment’s pivotal role as a facilitator of e-services, integrating the different government departments and making them accessible to the public,” enthuses Al Shair. “Visitors to our stand will gain new insights into our achievements in using technology to simplify and speed up government transactions and eliminate the need for physical visits to various departments,” he adds.

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