Construction, traffic and weather – these are the main topics that people talk about in Doha. All around there is this a massive pulse of change accompanied by many threads of activity. Resilience and knowledge economy are fed by this energy of bright minds congregating on this big shift plain.
Cities around the world are preparing their smart city or Internet of Things (#IoT) policies and practices. Doha is on this same journey. Cities that create together breathe.
ictQatar hosts #IoT and Smart Cities event
Humans connected to machines, machines connected to humans. It often seems like such a far off concept. But the convergence of the Internet of Things (Web of Things) and Smart Cities is creating a space where the data bits and the human bits become parts of the big data analytical questions. Layering citizen data (citizen sensing) with open data or sensor data is really the next level of social innovation. We want to interact and make sense of our environment and make decisions about how the space can or should be used.
ictQatar connects people to the technologies that enrich their lives, drive economic development & inspire confidence in the future.
Dr. Elyes Ben Hamida from Qatar Mobility Innovation Center (QMIC) spoke with the community on the topic of Internet of Things (IoT). How can we which is build a future where every day physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices. At QMIC, they have created a product, Labeeb – an intelligent sensing and M2M services platform. During the Q&A period, there were some great questions about how can this research and the tools or datasets be activated to spur new entrepreneurship. Music to my eyes. While IOT may not be the first concept that comes to your mind when you think about Doha, what this talk demonstrated for me is that same undercurrent I encounter all around town. People want to dig into the data and activate it. They want to start businesses and gain a sense of play. While Labeeb is a closed system, there are many opportunities with IoT (Web of Things) can become part of Doha’s entrepreneurship story.
Doha was listed #41 on the Sustainable Cities Index. This is a call to action for the citizens and creatives of Doha. While government bodies like ictQatar work on the policies and negotiate the murky waters of trying to implement projects with few local context examples, there is this burgeoning undercurrent of people who want to capitalize and innovate using the doors that open with the dialogue of Smart Cities. Mr. Ahmed Hefnawi from the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology presented the basics of smart cities including how “information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents.” There are a number of business and governmental initiatives around Smart Cities in Doha. The biggest take away I took form this was how small businesses and entrepreneurs could also be part of the solution. A few of the attendees inquired about how they could get more involved or how they could access the Open Data of Qatar to build apps or programmes. Step by step.
All of this brings me to the key point: Every day Doha surprises me with the collective drive to the future. There are big ideas activating Doha. While my new home may only be #41 on the Sustainable Cities Index, but I expect that the progression is changing. The Social Innovation programme at QCRI is keen to use research social computing for Resilient Cities. We are keen to see how we can focus on Doha. Already, colleagues are digging into Traffic data.
Thanks to Julia Astashkina of ictQatar for an engaging night.
(Photo: Doha Skyline from Katara on a Dhow (November 2014))