Complex Made Simple

Lebanon boosts regional smart cities spend to $2.3bn by 2021

Lebanon’s Smart City projects, such as BeitMisk, are driving regional Smart Cities spend to reach a record-high of USD 2.3 billion by 2021, and using technology innovations to transform people’s daily lives, industry experts announced this week ahead of GITEX Technology Week.

As countries across the Middle East ramp up their Smart Cities developments – especially Lebanon, along with continued momentum in Egypt, Jordan, Oman, and the UAE – the Middle East and Africa Smart Cities market is set to grow by 83% from USD 1.26 billion in 2018 to USD 2.3 billion by 2021, according to IDC.

“Record-high spend on the Middle East’s Smart Cities shows the mass transition of the region’s enterprises in becoming ‘‘Intelligent Enterprises,” said Gergi Abboud, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SAP Middle East South. “GITEX Technology Week is an ideal platform to showcase how Intelligent Enterprises and Smart Cities can leverage data more effectively to draw meaningful insights that can transform citizen services, enhance daily lives, and ultimately make the world run better.”

READ: Dubai gets ready to start allowing crypto payments and ICOs

Supporting digital transformation of Middle East industry verticals and lines of business, at GITEX, SAP will exhibit under the theme “The Intelligent Enterprise,” with a central showcase of how the future of Smart Cities can reimagine daily lives in the Digital Economy. Visitors will be able to experience intelligent entertainment parks, blockchain for supply chain, smart sports, Intelligent Enterprises, and Future of Work.

“GITEX is driving awareness on the need to combine cutting edge technology innovations on one digital platform to drive better customer experiences,” added Gergi Abboud. “In an Intelligent Enterprise and Smart City, Artificial Intelligence is the brain, the Internet of Things is the senses, and blockchain is the nervous system.”

Helping to catalyze Smart Cities growth, SAP is seeing strong progress on its recent opening of a UAE public cloud data center, which is also available for customers in Lebanon.

READ: Oman lures foreign investors with $1.2bn Special Economic Zone

Smart cities in the GCC

Across the GCC, and in line with economic diversification plans, the Gulf states are putting more and more focus on a digitally-enhanced lifestyle, one were information technology reshapes our routine everyday lives through smart cities. Frost & Sullivan estimates a global smart city market potential of $3.3 trillion by 2025.

In Dubai for example, the Emirate’s Smart City initiative seeks to transform it into the world’s smartest city. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the strategy in 2014. His plan was to shape all of the cities’ utilities and infrastructure on the macro scale, from power generators, to water plants to traffic coordination, and on the micro scale, improving citizens’ lives in minute but significant ways to improve the quality of life.

Saudi, on the other hand, is building a smart mega city from scratch. Dubbed NEOM, a $500 billion project and a major component of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan, will set a worldwide precedent for the scale on which a smart city is built, where every tiny detail is preplanned and pre-engineered.

Oman has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea to help them build smart cities of their own. Oman is seeking to build a smart city in its Indian Ocean port of Duqm which hosts a special economic zone (SEZ).

As of 2017, nine smart city projects were expected in the Gulf nations by 2025, of which two are brownfield projects and seven are cities that will be built from scratch, Gulf Business notes.

READ: Insights: Where does Saudi’s $500bn NEOM stand today?