Since His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum launched the Smart government initiative across the UAE, governmental entities and departments have been racing to meet their goals within the set time frame of two years. And it has not been easy.
“The biggest challenges we face are related to the routine regulations and the terms and conditions imposed on government processes, as well as security issues that we need to keep updating ourselves about,” Yousuf Mohammed Al Shaiba, director of the Smart Services Development Department at the Municipality of Ajman, told AMEinfo on the sidelines of the I’M CONNECTED conference and exhibition – taking place from June 8 to 10 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
“I think there should have been certain regulations set from the start, to help overcome potential obstacles in the roadmap… I think there was a gap in the but the government has reached a high level of maturity and integrations have been put in place to tie up all the related entities ,” he added.
The Smart Government Exhibition and Conference SGEC – I’M CONNECTED 2015 brings together dozens of ministries, government departments and entities to reveal their achievements in the field of Smart and mobile governance.
In addition to the routine and regulatory processes that need to be followed, the technical part is always going to be a challenge for governmental migration to the Smart zone, explains Al Shaiba, adding, “No matter how secure Smart applications are built to be, there will always be some problem or some bug, from the technical side.”
From a technical perspective, Oubai Abbasi, Mobile Application Developer at Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services, noted that beyond technical obstacles, other goals, such as the integration among sister government entities, can be challenging at times, especially when working on a tight deadline.
“One of the main challenges comes from the enormous amounts of different systems everyone is using,” Abbasi said. “We, as Dubai Ambulance, have our own entity, but all the dispatching is done through Dubai Police, so we had to integrate with them… Integration with other sister government entities is achievable but takes a while.”
“Another challenge is finding out what the community needs,” he added. To do that, Dubai Ambulance conducts numerous surveys and studies to understand and deliver the most efficient services.
Investing in research and development and going through logistics, integration and programming – among all the other steps comprising the overall initiative of migrating to Smart governance – may be challenging at times. Two years may be a tight time period for such deliverables, but with more than 100 applications showcased during the conference, it is evident the UAE government entities are coping quite well.