The smart city plans of UAE government revolve around using technology as a tool to heighten the happiness levels in the region. More distinctively, if we talk about the Dubai government, it is scaling up the implementation of the smart city plans in that same dimension. One of the citizen-centric initiative involving the role of Dubai government came to light in the year 2013. The goal was to enable accessibility of all government services through mobile devices within two years. For the same, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and the ruler of Dubai, said, “We want to relocate citizen service centers into every citizen device, enabling them to obtain their desired service through their mobile phones anywhere at any time. A successful government reaches out to the citizens rather than waits for them to come to it.”
In line with this ambitious goal, the year 2015 witnessed a major accomplishment. That same year in May, Sheikh Mohammed declared that 96% of public services in the government’s 337 most significant departments had successfully gone digital. Moving ahead on the same road, a new target has been set by the Emirate. By 2018, It wants at least 80% of the citizens to access government services via mobile devices. The new target set has brought in a new challenge for the government to promote the transfer of its services to mobile while ensuring optimum user-friendliness.
So, as the year 2018 has already approached, it’s time we look back at the efforts showcased by the city until now.
If we dig into the Smart Dubai vision in detail, it reveals some more plans. The authorities aims at providing government services and the facility to transact anywhere at anytime. The citizens will be able to access services through their channel of preference (computer, mobile phones etc.) making their experience more seamless and efficient.
The digital services will span across different sectors including healthcare, culture, entertainment, community, housing, volunteering services and many more. While the government considers benefits for individuals and businesses both, here are few of them unveiled.
- The government wants to create digital procurement opportunities for businesses and SMEs that will enable them to send invoices and receive payments easily
- Everyone will be able to use and share open city data through the Smart Dubai Platform by 2021.
- Online services related to housing needs will make things more quick and simple for the residents. An Emirati will be able to conduct things online that is required for purchasing a land, completion of a house right through to moving in.
- In healthcare, residents will be able to fix online appointments, consult doctors and share the report with other healthcare providers easily. The government also wants them to get prescriptions and medications online.
- In the education sector, parents and students will have quick access to academic and schooling information online. They will be able to carry out miscellaneous activities such as registration and payment of courses, interaction with peers and exploration of the course curricula.
- The digital service across various sectors will make the interactions between the people and the government better. Additionally, it will save a lot of time and money leading to a happy city experience.
- Reduction in physical visits will lead to a significant decrease in traffic congestion and carbon emissions
Until now the government has invested in significant efforts to improve city-wide services while bearing in mind citizen satisfaction. Two of the initiatives include launch of electronic voting machines, facility to refill debit card to make payment of government fees more efficient. The most recent include launch of ‘DUBAI NOW’ – an electronic one-stop shop and 100% digital service offered by Dubai Police.
Dubai anticipates that these initiatives will give a boost to the strong social community, enriched by seamless digital services enabling happy social experience. Ultimately, these factors will stand as strong pillars empowering the growth of residents and people of Dubai.
DUBAI NOW Gives the Freedom to Go Paperless
Last year, the Smart Dubai Office launched an electronic platform called ‘Dubai Now’. The platform will cater to the needs of individuals offering them access to all government services in the Emirate of Dubai. And so, the platform is regarded as “an electronic one stop shop for all government services”.
The innovatively built platform is one of the latest initiatives rolled out by the Smart Dubai Office. The platform complements the Dubai Now mobile app that was launched in 2015 by Smart Dubai. Every service accessible on the application will be integrated into the Dubai Now Website. Introduction of government services online through website and application both will provide easy access to everyone with best in class services.
Dubai Now is a comprehensive platform that targets all categories of the public, businesses and visitors. The platform offers 55 services from 24 government departments, semi-governmental and private entities. 11 categories of the services have been compiled into the platform which includes security and justice, public transport, payments and bills, business and employment, driving, healthcare, education, housing, visas and residence and Islam.
Through the platform, individuals and businesses will be able to locate the nearest car registration centre, pay for the traffic violations, electricity and water bills, Etisalat and Du fees. Moreover, they will be able to have quick access to Dubai Customs accounts and services such as “Ajari”, “Makani” and “Criminal Case Look-up”. The platform will also enable users to donate to Dubai Cares, Al Jalila Foundation and others.
Dubai Now mobile application was acknowledged as the ‘Best Mobile Government Service’ in the UAE during the World Government Summit 2016. And yet it received the Best Government Mobile Application in Dubai and the Northern Emirates award at the dot Gov 2016 Awards.
Dubai Police Shifts 100% Services and Transactions To Smart Technology
After the launch of Dubai Now platform it was Dubai Police that transferred all its services and transactions to smart technology. The initiative aims at providing paperless service to citizens through different channels including smartphone apps and websites.
The initiative was launched by the collaborative efforts of Smart Dubai Office. H.E Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office said, “The Dubai Police department are always ready and willing to cooperate with us in our ambitious projects and, for that reason, they are today the first Government body in Dubai to entirely forego paper transactions,” Dr Aisha further added by saying, “Dubai Police has achieved unprecedented progress in implementing the Smart Dubai 2021 Plan, fully transferring all of their services and transactions to smart technology. This is a great achievement that saves customers’ time and effort, all the while underlining the strength of the partnerships that Smart Dubai has forged with the public sector to transform the emirate into a fully-fledged future-ready smart city.”
The Dubai Police analysed the statistics for 2017, which revealed that payment of traffic violations fines was the most popular smart service used by the citizens. Other top services on the list were reporting accidents and appealing traffic violations.
Over time, smart transactions increased by 46% in 2017 as compared to 2016. The turnout rates were 64% and 20% for traffic services and criminal service respectively.
These initiatives mark the progress of Smart Dubai Plan 2021 to the next stage of transforming Dubai into the happiest place. Smart infrastructure, legislation and applications rolled out by Smart Dubai stand as the basis of the four-year plan. We look forward to seeing the next set hi-tech developments in the Emirate of Dubai this year.