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GCC Govts urge to hire Chief Smart City Officers to guide urban development

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GCC governments must hire Chief Smart City Officers to ensure the long-term delivery of Smart Cities, one of the world’s leading digital experts challenged today.

As Internet of Things technology decreases in cost and increases in capability, GCC cities such as Dubai and Masdar City in the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s four Economic Cities, and Lusail City in Qatar are using technology to enhance the citizen experience with urban infrastructure, transportation, and safety and security.

Worldwide, Smart Cities present a market opportunity of USD 1.6 trillion by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan, with a recent report by Smart Dubai predicting the city’s value at stake could reach nearly USD 5 billion by 2020.

However, Dr Chakib Bouhdary, Digital Transformation Officer at SAP, a technology leader in Smart Cities, argued that without a senior government official leading Smart City efforts, they will not reach their full potential.

“Chief Smart City Officers can make governments more efficient and responsive to citizen demands by breaking down agency silos, forging public-private partnerships, and providing the digital tools to manage population growth, citizen services, and climate resiliency,” added Dr Chakib Bouhdary.

Leading global Smart Cities have hired Chief Information Officers, Chief Innovation Officers, or Chief Technology Officers to guide efforts, including Barcelona, Spain; Boston, United States; and Cape Town, South Africa.

To further drive city-wide and nationwide digitization, Dr Chakib Bouhdary also called on governments, educational institutions, and the private sector to partner on supporting local talent in learning technology skills.

While in Dubai, Dr Chakib Bouhdary attended the graduation ceremony of more than a dozen local youth who completed a rigorous training program by SAP’s Training and Development Institute.

As part of the Institute’s Young Professionals Program, these graduates were trained in business analytics and predictive analytics skills, which will be vital for organizations in the Smart City sector to drive their digitization efforts; they are certified as SAP Associate Consultants now.

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