Director General of Dubai Municipality, H.E. Eng. Hussain Lootah has officially confirmed that the municipality plans to launch a new data-collection satellite that will provide them with critical information on environmental aspects ranging from sustainability, maritime conditions and air quality in the UAE. In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that the satellite is capable of monitoring the UAE from space.
The Director General of Dubai Municipality made the announcement during his presentation at the World Government Summit which was entitled, "How Innovation is shaping the future". The new satellite has been named DM SAT 1 and a specialized team within the municipality have been working diligently on the project under directives from the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Smart Cities World Forums managed to secure an exclusive interview with H.E. Eng. Hussain Lootah at the World Government Summit in an effort to find out more about the launch of the new data-collection satellite and some of the projects the municipality will embark on 2018. In a compelling interview, the charismatic Director General outlined the primary objectives of the satellite launch and its role in facilitating the government in its efforts to make Dubai the happiest city in the world.
During your presentation at the World Government Summit you announced that Dubai Municipality will launch a new data-collection satellite. Can you outline to us what the benefits of this program will entail?
One of the most important components in shaping the future is the collection of information and analysis of that information. We have to utilize the information that is conveyed to us in order to make the correct decisions moving forward. At Dubai Municipality we try to use all the tools at our disposal to build a complete database. So it's very important for us to collect data. We decided to launch this data-collection satellite (DM SAT 1) in order to get a better understanding and insight into our environment. The environment is very important to the city of Dubai - and this satellite can provide us with a lot of information which will enable us to find out how we can solve some of the problems and challenges we're currently presented with in relation to the environment. However, the DM SAT 1 can also provide us with other crucial information about our city, such as maritime conditions and air control that can help us achieve our sustainability objectives in our overall pursuit to help make Dubai the happiest city in the world.
What impact do you envision the integration of AI will have on the services Dubai Municipality provide and to society as a whole?
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. We've seen a lot of presentations throughout the World Government Summit this year that indicate to us quite clearly how fast these emerging technologies are coming. Every city must prepare itself in order to be able to utilize this technology for the benefit of its citizens. That's what we're doing at Dubai Municipality and we're working with a lot of companies to produce some of these technologies which can help us provide the best services that are faster and more accurate. However, we understand that some of these technologies like Artificial Intelligence are going to affect the careers of a lot of people. But this isn't something new. If you look back at every time new technology has emerged, it has been disruptive which resulted in job losses. However, when this happened there were always new jobs created - and I believe this will be the exact same with the integration and introduction of AI into our society.
Dubai Municipality has been a key partner of Smart Dubai. However, what do you think are the biggest challenges preventing Smart Dubai achieving its goal of becoming the world's smartest and happiest city?
I think the biggest challenge facing us is preparing our young people who are the next generation to be ready for the obstacles that lie ahead. The government and Smart Dubai are focusing a lot of its efforts towards education because they can see that it will be the fundamental component in continuing Dubai's digital transformation. Smart Dubai's long-term strategic goal is to become the smartest and happiest city in the world. I also believe that young people need to attend conferences like the World Government Summit so they can draw inspiration from listening to some of the political and technology leaders that are assembled here at this event. They need to see and hear about the best practices being applied in other countries - and need to be encouraged to go to university to further their education process. If we can get our young people to do this, then we will be producing a high level of quality amongst our next generation which will continue Dubai's journey towards becoming the world's smartest city.
Can you tell us what the main goals and objectives are for Dubai Municipality in 2018?
We're engaged in a lot of different projects which affects a lot of different industries. However, this year we're going to be concentrating a lot on tourism. We're working on a lot of new projects in an effort to boost our tourism industry. We've recently opened a new Safari Zoo and the Dubai Frame - and we've got some other ambitious initiatives in the pipeline which we feel will increase the tourism sector here in Dubai. Our goal is to always plan, develop and manage a happy and sustainable city that provides the essence of success and sustainable living. As I mentioned earlier, our future will focus heavily on information and data analysis and this will become the corner stone in creating a more sustainable environment and a happier society in Dubai."