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21 March 2018

Smart Dubai Takes Part in South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals 2018

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·      H.E. Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr:

“Learning from our forefathers, we have realised that constantly diversifying and embracing what is to come is the way to the future. We all know that emerging tech such as AI, IoT and Blockchain are going to revolutionise our everyday experiences, making them much more seamless, efficient and impactful, leading to higher standards of living for the people of Dubai.”

 

Dubai, March 18, 2018 – A delegation from Smart Dubai took part in the world-renowned South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals 2018, held on March 9-18, 2018, in Austin, Texas, in the United States.

 

Leading the delegates, Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO), joined a panel of prominent experts to discuss “Blockchain and the Future of Global Governance”. The panel comprised of Thomas Debass from the US Department of State; Mark Kaplan from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Michael Metzler from the US Agency for International Development. The session explored real-world implications of Blockchain technology on global governance, outlining potential opportunities for public-private partnerships.

 

During the panel, Dr Aisha introduced the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which seeks to execute all applicable government transactions using Blockchain by 2020. In 2017, over a dozen government use cases were identified and designed, with many progressing into proof-of-concept and project development phase. Smart Dubai is working to create a complete Blockchain industry by providing an enabling ecosystem that empowers start-ups and businesses. H.E. cited the Smart Dubai Office Blockchain Challenge as an example, which, in May 2017, saw 21 start-ups fly into Dubai from 19 cities to pitch their best and brightest Blockchain implementation ideas, several of which are now being piloted around the city.

 

“Having been part of the UAE Government’s rapid transformation over the last two decades, I had found myself, for the first time, at an unusual junction: Business as usual or complete disruption and reassessment of the role of government and its relationship to the city,” H.E. Dr Aisha said, asserting that the UAE and Dubai, in particular, have chosen to adapt to emerging tech. “Learning from our forefathers, we have realised that constantly diversifying and embracing what is to come is the way to the future. We all know that emerging tech such as AI, IoT and Blockchain are going to revolutionise our everyday experiences, making them much more seamless, efficient and impactful, leading to higher standards of living for the people of Dubai. This is why we, at Smart Dubai, are embracing such technologies today, creating proof of concepts and testing the pros and cons of each.”

 

“As part of our global leadership and knowledge sharing efforts, Smart Dubai is consistently participating in international events to share our success stories and progress in smart-city transformation with experts and enthusiasts from around the world,” the SDO Director General asserted. “Due to its international appeal and distinguished attendee list, South by Southwest is a great platform for us to showcase our innovations in an environment that combines film, music, arts, debates and conferences, perfectly resonating with our mission of using knowledge and technology to spread happiness in the community and establish Dubai as the smartest city in the world. It is also a great opportunity for us to meet and learn from likeminded organisations and individuals that are leading the global smart technology sector.”

 

Also as part of Smart Dubai’s participation, H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG) gave a presentation titled “Towards Becoming the Happiest City on Earth” showcasing Smart Dubai’s Paperless Strategy, its social and environmental benefits and the advanced technologies that are powering the strategy such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Data and Digital ID.

 

“Dubai has set itself on an ambitious course to fully eliminate paper transactions, digitising any necessary paperwork required for all government services,” H.E. Lootah noted. “We, at Smart Dubai, have gone beyond simply setting strategies and plans for this objective, and have moved towards implementing on-the-ground tactics to affect real change. The Dubai Paperless Strategy marks the official launch of a new government ecosystem.”

 

“The transformation will reflect positively on the economy,” H.E. Lootah added. “By eliminating all paper transactions, we will be saving over one billion pieces of paper used in the Dubai Government every year, which in turn will save each resident of Dubai more than 40 hours a year that would otherwise have been spent on everyday paper transactions.”

 

Zeina El Kaissi, SDO’s Head of Emerging Technology & Global Partnerships, led a “Mentor Session on Cities” at the festival. The session consisted of five one-on-one meetings to network with those interested in Smart Dubai’s work, and introduce them to the SDO’s many strategies and initiatives. El Kaissi focused her discussion on Blockchain technology, Data Sharing, City Digitisation, and Paperless Strategies.

 

Launched in 1987, South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals, including conferences on a range of topics that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas. SXSW is run by the company SXSW, LLC, which organises conferences, trade shows, festivals, and other events. In addition to the three main South by Southwest festivals, the company runs SXSWedu, a conference on educational innovation, held in Austin, and the me Convention, held in Frankfurt, Germany, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz.

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