The Smart Dubai Department (Smart Dubai) has implemented a full agenda of activities to mark UAE Innovation Month 2020, with its focus running from February 23-29 to correspond with the emirate’s engagement with the country-wide event.
Smart Dubai’s initiatives activities included the DubaiNow Hackathon, organising innovation themed workshops for all employees at the Smart Dubai offices, and participating in the exhibition organised by The Executive Council of Dubai.
Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Department, said, “Our mission at Smart Dubai is to embrace advanced, promising technologies with great potential and embed them in services and initiatives tailored to make life easier for citizens, residents, and visitors in Dubai. We work to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the Earth.”
“Needless to say, when technology is your instrument of choice, innovation is of utmost importance,” H.E. added.
“And with that in mind, Smart Dubai is always committed to promoting, embracing, and encouraging innovation. UAE Innovation Month provided an unparalleled opportunity to do just that, as it offered a prominent platform for us to showcase our latest breakthroughs, exchange knowledge and expertise with innovative individuals and organisations from around the world, and evaluate the progress we’ve made in implementing the wise leadership’s ambitious initiatives and visions.”
The activities from Smart Dubai included the DubaiNow Hackathon, where contestants sought to come up with innovative solutions to upgrade the overall architecture of the DubaiNow application.
The application was designed to provide a single, centralised service platform with fast, seamless, and paperless services that allow Dubai residents to complete their transactions and paperwork online and from the convenience of their smartphones. It plays an influential role in implementing the Dubai Paperless Strategy, which strives to make the Dubai government the first administration in the world to forego paper for all government transactions.
Contestants were split into four teams, each focusing on a particular area of improvement: Authentication, Performance, Ancillary Services and Realtime Monitoring. The overall objective was to provide an integrated experience for users, minimising and eliminating challenges, and making the product more user-friendly.
The Authentication team’s list of objectives included seamless and unified authentication, as well as upgraded and enhanced integrations, while the Performance team sought to optimise business process management and streamline payment systems.
The team specialising in Ancillary Services worked on traceability and logging, cache and OTP as a service and exception handling, while the Realtime Monitoring team focused on application availability, performance and operations analytics.
The challenge resulted in several improvements for the DubaiNow app, namely, shortening loading time when the app is launched and when accessing services; improving user experience and providing them with information as quickly as possible; setting up a performance monitoring system that also tracks how users react to the application and helps address issues they may face; improving the payment system and informing users of the actual causes should the payment process face any obstacles; and constantly monitoring services on the platform and informing the relevant entities in case of delays or issues with their respective services.
Another item on the agenda for Innovation Month were the workshops the Smart Dubai Department organised at its headquarters, in partnership with leading global research and advisory company, Gartner. The first session – titled ‘Seven Digital Disruptions You Might Not See Coming’ – featured Daryl Plummer, Vice President, Distinguished Analyst, Chief of Research, and Chief Gartner Fellow, and brought together executives and officials from across the Dubai government. The department held another workshop for Data Champions, which introduced them to various ways to use technology to ensure employee happiness.
Smart Dubai also organised two workshops for its employees, the first titled ‘How To Be Innovative,’ which centered on realising the role of innovation in the workplace, while the second, ‘‘Styles at Work,’ focused on helping participants better understand their behaviour and the behaviour of their colleagues through the use of a simple diagnostic tool.
Smart Dubai’s agenda for UAE Innovation Month 2020 included taking part in the exhibition organised by The Executive Council in Boulevard Hall – Emirates Towers, where participating entities display their latest innovations and accomplishments. The department showcased the latest additions to the DubaiNow application, with the platform having grown to house 111 services from 33 government entities across 12 sectors: security and justice, public transport, payments and bills, residency visas, mobility, health, business and employment, education, housing, and Islam, among others.
On a similar note, the Smart Dubai team also took part in the exhibition organised by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) at Mirdiff City Centre, showcasing its UAEPASS service – the national digital identity platform, launched in October 2018 in partnership with the TRA and the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA). It also participated in the UAE Hackathon, which had the theme this year ‘Data for Happiness and Well-being.'
UAE Innovation Month is one of the largest innovation festivals in the world and is a national effort that brings together government entities, private companies, and individuals to establish a culture of innovation in the UAE.
Following the success of UAE Innovation Week 2015 and 2016, UAE Innovation Month was announced to celebrate innovation across the nation. The month-long festival aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global hub for innovation, promote the development of innovative ideas, establish a widespread culture of innovation, and support the UAE National Innovation Strategy.