Smart Dubai and the Consulate General of Canada in Dubai hosted a webinar on March 9, 2021 titled ‘Connected Communities: Lessons from Dubai and Canada’, featuring industry experts from Dubai and Canada who showcased current approaches to connected communities and people-centric smart cities.
The one-hour webinar was organized by Smart Dubai’s Smart Cities Global Network (SCGN), in partnership with the Canadian Business Council (CBC) Dubai and Northern Emirates and the Canada Arab Business Council (CABC). The event focused on technology’s influence over citizens’ wellbeing, the social and economic impact of connected cities, and innovations in digital health, artificial intelligence, and citizen engagement.
His Excellency Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, delivered a welcome address followed by H.E. Jean-Philippe Linteau, Consul General of Canada to Dubai & the Northern Emirates.
“The topic of connected communities and smart cities is gathering considerable steam all around the world – and that is to be expected considering the relentless rise of advanced technologies that are now part of nearly every aspect of our lives,”noted H.E. Younus Al Nasser. “Industry experts will be joining us at today’s webinar to showcase what Dubai and Canada are doing to embrace these technologies in order to develop citizen-centric services and processes that seek, first and foremost, to make people’s lives easier and happier in the people-centric smart cities of the future.”
“At Smart Dubai’s formation, making Dubai the happiest city on Earth was the mandate given to us by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, therefore people’s happiness has long been at the core of everything we do,” H.E. explained, adding that “we never looked at technology as an objective in itself, but rather as a means to an end, and an instrument to streamline procedures, transactions, and services in order to spread happiness among Dubai’s citizens, residents, and visitors.”
H.E. Jean-Philippe Linteau, Consul General of Canada in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, underlined that “Canadian technology companies play a key role in helping cities build an inclusive society and economy in Canada and across the globe. I look forward to grow the partnership between Dubai and Canada to advance the digital transformation of public services and the economy”.
Moderated by Daniele Haddad, Trade Commissioner and Head of the Innovation Unit at the Consulate General of Canada in Dubai, the event also included a keynote address by Lawrence Eta, Chief Technology Officer of the City of Toronto, Canada.
"As Chief Technology Officer of the City of Toronto, I am pleased and honoured to support the Smart Dubai webinar. Like Dubai, Toronto is committed to improving the quality of life for our residents through technology, data and processes,” Lawrence said. “Digital transformation must be rooted in true digital equity so we can all have a level-playing field to build mutual and sustained prosperity,” he added.
The webinar included a presentation by Smart Dubai’s City Experience Advisor Dr. Ali Alazzawi on How Digital Technologies Influence Citizen Wellbeing. This was followed by an armchair discussion on The Digital Health Journey and Population Wellness Through the Smart Initiatives Lens by Charbel Ghannoum, Senior Director of Telus, and Ghazi Atallah, CEO of NXN.
Also on the agenda was a second presentation on Citizen Engagement: AI for the Public Sector by Fadi Honein, Vice President for the Middle East at OpenText, before the webinar wrapped up with a panel discussion titled Responsible Innovation in Canada and Beyond: Understanding and Improving the Social Impacts of Technology, with Faun Rice, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Information and Communications Council of Canada (ICTC), and Mairead Matthews, Research and Policy Analyst at the ICTC.
Smart Dubai’s Smart Cities Global Network (SCGN) is the largest international network of smart city stakeholders, bringing together partners involved in advanced technology, Fourth-Industrial-Revolution breakthroughs, smart living, and spreading happiness in the community with tech-enabled, human-centric services. The network is available online and has so far enlisted more than 600 members, including representatives from governments, the private sector, research centers, academic institutes, and the media.