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EMC, IDC showcase foundation framework for the Smart City

Companies launch research to provide guidance on ICT building-blocks for of the smart city

EMC, IDC showcase foundation framework for the Smart City
Research shares insights into the effective deployment of a set of technologies to build the agile, data-driven cities of tomorrow.

EMC Middle East and International Data Corporation (IDC) recently released a white paper that provides deep insights designed to empower governments around the world and in the region to aid the transformation of their urban centres into Smart Cities.

The whitepaper comes at a time where the rapid pace of urbanization, coupled with the digital transformation characterized by the pervasive adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) among individuals, businesses, and governments, are driving the social and economic transformation of cities around the world. A recent United Nations (UN) report predicts that, by 2050, nearly 70% of the world's population will be concentrated in urban centers; the GCC countries are widely expected to have one of the highest urbanization rates in the world, ranging from 80% to 100%.

EMC aims to provide a Smart City platform that is open, agile, software-defined and data analytics driven which deliver the speed, performance and scalability needed for hyper-connected, data-driven cities.  Comprising three critical layers, the EMC Federation Smart City platform brings together best-of-breed technologies from EMCII, VMware, VCE, Pivotal, RSA and Virtustream.   The EMC Federation Smart City Platform provides leading edge technologies to host the applications of today and to enable the development of Cloud Native applications which will enables the Cities to accelerate innovation adoption, deliver superior, fast and personalized Citizens and businesses experience and achieve agility and sustainability.

The whitepaper provides essential guidance to all stakeholders within the smart city ecosystem, outlining the benefits, the key ICT building blocks of a smart city and the significant role of ICT innovation. The research shares insights into the effective deployment of a comprehensive set of transformation technologies including cloud, big data analytics, data lakes, and security to build the agile, data-driven cities of tomorrow. Citing the need for a strong, collaborative ecosystem of stakeholders, the research also outlines a Smart City maturity model 2 that can be used to assess a single Smart City stakeholder or project or multiple stakeholders within the city ecosystem. IDC provides insight on the five stages of maturity of a Smart City each based on the evaluation of ICT readiness, government processes, coordination, collaboration and data governance.

Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East at EMC said, “As we continue to become a community of digital citizens always connected with the world’s information at our fingertips, the need to meet citizen expectations drives cities and businesses to use technologies to deliver faster, always-on and personalized end-user experience. In addition, the astonishing urbanization growth rates are driving cities to better plan for the optimization and allocation of their resources as well as ensuring a sustainable secure environment. 

"A successful Future-proof Smart City must be built on a strong ICT foundation layer that allows for efficient city management, better allocation of resources, economic development, sustainability, innovation and citizen engagement. The EMC Federation provides a Smart City platform that are open, agile, secure, software-defined and analytics driven to aid the establishment of optimized cities that are well integrated, and capable of providing citizens with a superior personalized experience.”

IDC predicts that by 2020, the world will see more than 30 billion connected devices forming the internet of things ecosystem and all the apps and devices creating as much as  44 zettabytes of data (or 44 trillion gigabytes) in the digital universe.  This transformation will lead to a data-driven software-defined world in which every “Smart device” will be receiving or transmitting vast amounts of data.  

"The GCC's transformation agenda has leapfrogged in terms of IT development and egovernance, with major cities in the region increasingly leveraging ICT in a bid to transform themselves into 'smart' or 'digitally-transformed' cities,” said Megha Kumar, Senior Research Manager, Software, IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “A growing number of cities are realizing that they need to ensure an environment that is conducive to economic growth, sustainability, and efficiency. More importantly, they also recognize the need to improve their levels of citizen engagement. To this end, IDC has created the Smart Cities maturity model. The model allows cities to assess where they stand in terms of their ICT readiness, government processes, coordination, collaboration, and data governance.  While there are five distinct stages of maturity, cities need to aim to reach the "optimized" stage of maturity where by a properly defined strategy allows a city to achieve its goals and provision higher quality of services for its citizens." 

The GCC region is already witnessing the innovation-powered transformation of cities across the region. In Saudi Arabia, cities such as Jeddah, Makkah and Riyadh have been earmarked for modernization. With Vision 2030, Qatar aims to transition into a ‘Smart Country’, with its Lusail City currently under development and set to be a hub of integrated infrastructure, smart grids and intelligent transportation. In the UAE, Dubai has taken the lead in the deployment of smart services, with a hundred in active use already. Expo 2020 has further catalysed the local government towards the adoption of smart services. These initiatives align with the aspirations of GCC governments to improve the quality of life for their citizens, stimulate business and drive economic growth in the future.

Habib Mahakian, Vice President, Gulf and Pakistan at EMC noted that the GCC is home to some of the most ambitious digital transformation events and initiatives such as the Expo 2020 in the UAE and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. All these are aimed at establishing sustainable facilities and infrastructure to enhance quality of services and life while achieving goals for economic diversification and social development.

“As we continue on this exciting journey of digital transformation, we have the opportunity to create “smart societies” that foster innovation, collaboration and open engagement between governments and citizens, visitors and businesses alike. With this whitepaper, we at EMC aim to provide the insights and guidance that will accelerate collaboration between the different stakeholders towards achieving these objectives. The EMC Federation Smart City Platform sets down a solid foundation for EMC to come together with different stakeholders in the GCC to provide them with a strong foundation of technology and service excellence to foster an environment of innovation for generations to come,” Mahakian added.

The whitepaper provides an use cases and best practices of Smart City initiatives from the Middle East and how it forms a core part of the countries’ national strategy to ultimately enhance the quality of life for citizens, residents and businesses, provide diverse and sustainable economy and foster innovation. 

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