Complex Made Simple

Latest Dubai government initiative: no more paper by 2021

The UAE government plans to invest more on smart infrastructure in the near future to improve the lives of residents across the country, according to officials from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.


All Dubai Government departments will cease to use paper in four years as part of efforts to curb waste, the Crown Prince has said. The emirate will celebrate the last paper transaction by government in 2021 – a highly ambitious target for officials.

The initiative was launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. He said digital transactions will save time and effort and that the department Smart Dubai would oversee the project.

Sheikh Hamdan was briefed by officials, including Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director general of the Smart Dubai Office, on the Dubai Pulse platform, which will host all the emirate’s data and form the backbone of operations.

The Dubai Pulse platform will seek to build on the achievements of the Dubai Smart City project, launched three years ago by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Last year, the Crown Prince said using Blockchain – a technology that secures digital transfers of data and transactions – would help cut out the use of paper by 2020, according to state news agency WAM. At the time it was said the move would save 25 million work hours annually and cut almost 100 million paper transactions.

In 2015, Sheikh Mohammed said almost all of the most essential government transactions, such as bills, had been transferred online, but that it was “no easy challenge” and work was still to be done.

The Dubai Pulse platform will compile all data in both the public and private sectors, providing access for the first time to live and up-to-date data about the city. Its first layer will be free of charge and will cater to the public. The second will offer a thorough analysis of the data for a fee, while the third layer will serve government agencies alone.

The four-year plan offers smart initiatives, including infrastructure, legislation and applications in line with the requirements of the Dubai 10X initiative, which was launched in February to contribute to the implementation of the vision of Dubai as a city of the future. The plan is also in line with the UAE Centennial 2071, which was launched in March to make the UAE the best country in the world.

Abu Dhabi

From smart traffic systems, oil field technologies and energy grids, the world is becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. And the UAE is following suit.

Ebrahim Al Alkeem, governance security lead at the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) said: “If we didn’t have smart infrastructure like Salik, there would tens of thousands of cars. This allows the flow of traffic without human interaction. In the future, we will have smaller hospitals, for example, to be able to do check-ups in one day but we will need more network, surveillance and monitoring systems to secure this data.”

The UAE’s target is to complete 100 smart initiatives and 1,000 smart services by the end of 2017. Although an undisclosed number have already been set up, new services are expected for the emirate’s residents this year.

Matar Al Humairi, assistant chief executive of smart infrastructure at Dubai Smart Government said: “It’s a very important milestone for us and we are working now on a big initiative with the Roads and Transport Authority in terms of having a command centre. This will monitor all the mobility in Dubai, the traffic and transportation, we will have a full city view.

“This will really impact the people’s quality of life. This will help monitor the traffic flow. We have a control systems for the metro and transport but we expect to see a consolidated command and control system because now it’s separate based on the domain.”

The new initiative, currently under construction, is expected to complete by 2018.