Sharjah DeG DG: ‘smart cities’ make life easy

Launched thirteen smart applications, six new and updated websites and an array of digital services

Tags: United Arab Emirates
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Sharjah DeG DG: ‘smart cities’ make life easy Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al-Qassimi, Director General, Sharjah Department of eGovernment (DeG).
By  Staff Writer Published  October 11, 2017

Thirteen smart applications, six new and updated websites and an array of digital services have been launched at GITEX Technology Week 2017 by Sharjah Department of eGovernment, all with the prime purpose of making life more convenient for residents of the emirate, according to Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director General, Sharjah Department of eGovernment (DeG).

"Our Vision 2021 objectives to transform Sharjah into a smart city are intended to make life more convenient for the residents of Sharjah. We want to streamline all of our government services through the use of new digital platforms and disruptive technologies," he says.

Al Qasimi adds that a month before GITEX a Digital Transformation Committee was launched to oversee the advancement of the emirate's Vision 2021 objectives.

The proposed Vision 2020 plan aims to improve Sharjah's stature as a regional magnet, enhance the quality of life for Sharjah's residents, increase the emirate's competitive advantages, and assist its planned regional and global integration.

"Sharjah is approaching the ‘smart city' transformation in a collaborative and inclusive manner, hence the presence on the Government of Sharjah stand of 48 different government entities," he explains. "The Digital Transformation Committee will work with all of these departments and individually assess their requirements and their timeframe for implementation of the Vision 2020 objectives to ensure that no one is left behind."

The collaborative approach to GITEX on the Government of Sharjah stand is representative of the way the wider UAE is tackling the changes required to provide 21st century services to its citizens. "The decision was made that Sharjah needs to be present at GITEX as one organisation, we have 48 departments under the same umbrella here and the reason it's important is because all seven of the emirates are undergoing the transformation as part of the Vision 2020 criteria and being part of this great nation there are obligations we have, to transform the way that we use technology to enhance the services we provide to the public," says Al Qasimi.

As such, the Digital Transformation Committee will oversee government entities' adherence to objectives that have been set out by the federal government according to certain KPIs in terms of health, education and business.

"But the Ruler of Sharjah also wants the residents to live a very easy life when it comes to interaction with the government and its various entities," adds Al-Qasimi. "What we want to do is transform the services and overhaul the status quo. We want to give our citizens things they don't even realise they need, such as the Chat Bot app, a virtual assistant based on artificial intelligence that is deployed on all government systems to interact with members of the public and help them resolve their queries and finish their transactions quickly."

One of the most interesting announcements this week from Sharjah DeG was the launch of the Customs Department on Wheels, a mobile customs office that goes where it is needed in the emirate. "If you need to interact with the Customs Department, you don't need to go down to the offices, they can come to you and sort out whatever inspections and paperwork needs to be done," says Al Qasimi. "Again, it's all about making life more convenient for the residents of Sharjah."

 

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