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The third pillar of a smart city – Development of social infrastructure

The third pillar of a smart city – Development of social infrastructure

Imagine a city has everything that it takes to be called as a smart city; the basic amenities, physical infrastructure, well-planned governance institution and all. Can the city be still termed as a smart city?

A city needs a better social engagement. It indicates a development planning of social infrastructure. People’s participation creates a wider scope for smart city development process. Let’s take a closer look at the sectors that create the threshold of social infrastructure; without which no city can be developed as a smart city.

  1. Education – In order to improve the student’s level of education and understanding, the concept of smart classroom has become extremely important. Nowadays the classrooms are designed to provide adequate information and knowledge. It is built in such a way that students gather and finds it extremely interesting and engaging. If teachers wish to monitor in real-time the level of their student’s interest, they can collect on the class, department and university. It will help the teachers to monitor and respond to the class level of interest.  The various aspects in the classroom will help department or university to understand how various are correlated with the level of attention. The collected data will also help to compare the level of interest in different universities in order to improve their performance by cooperation between the universities. It will also encourage the student to look at their performance and improve wherever it is required.
  2. Healthcare – Healthcare and good healthcare facilities is the most important factors as far as developing the social infrastructure is concerned. In the recent past health sector has advanced, but with increasing population and busy urban lifestyle restricts to efficiently cater every person’s healthcare needs. So, to meet the pace of fast and busy lifestyle healthcare has combined with smart technology. Numerous devices have been built to encourage people to maintain their good health and wellbeing. The market now has smart wearable devices like fitness trackers or fitness bands and even health assessment apps in smartphones to people constantly monitor their health and remain fit always. These technologies are well-equipped to collect data that can be later analysed by doctors, researchers and health care professionals for better and personalised diagnosis and solutions for your health. The digital records save cost and time of both patients and hospitals as well.
  3. Entertainment – Entertainment and smart city tourism helps in contributing to the economical growth of a city and country. There are increase in employment level as well that helps to create opportunities for retailers and restaurant owner. As the visitors visit your place and the number increase, there is a need of effective management services. The technologies like smart ticketing services and the security services are coming into place that can help in the growth and improvement of places of entertainment. Popular places and events like musical festivals, culture and heritage, sports events, parks and tourists’ spots would get better response. The manage the crowd management systems have adopted the magnificent technology for the development of social development.
  4. Inclusive Planning – The basic component of a smart city is its nature of inclusive, which often goes unnoticed towards the urban design and development. As a part of smart city initiative, one needs to prioritize inclusivity. Children, older people, women, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the mentally and physically ill, and people with low household incomes are often seen being excluded from urban design and development. As a common feeling, most believe that they are unable to fully enjoy or participate in civic urban life or the processes that shape it. It is a part of smart city programme change the city for better tomorrow and diminish the existing inequalities. The smart technical support of Artificial Intelligence has built active programmes towards plan and initiative of smart city development. The social and digital inclusion programmes and ended the age-old tradition and has encouraged diversity and inclusivity. Even if the policies have yet not reformed but the prospect of technology towards smart city planning is truly inclusive.
  5. Building Homes – As the hardware technologies and smart environments have advanced and became a reality, the vision and dreams of smart homes and buildings have now become a real story. Buildings like airports, hospitals or university campuses are already equipped with the latest technologies and facilities. There are a multitude of mobile terminals, embedded devices as well as connected sensors and actuators available in these buildings as well as in homes. Some activities which were already planned for developing the “Smart City” uses the opportunities provided by pervasive computing technologies to help the people. Smart environment plays an important role to cope up with the challenges of urbanization and demographic changes like sustainability, energy distribution, mobility, health or public safety and security. It gives rise to business prospects like large industrial supplier of infrastructures and solutions. A focus is to setup and energy efficient operation of smart infrastructures and data centres. The autonomic computing principles like self-configuration, self-healing, self-protection, and self-optimization are distributed in the social infrastructure planning. With all these improvements it will be never unfair to say that IT system architecture are giving rise to sustainable development and operation of smart environments.

SMART CITY

The Future of Vertical Farming: Middle Eastern Efforts in Urban Agriculture

The Future of Vertical Farming: Middle Eastern Efforts in Urban Agriculture

The future of vertical farming in the Middle East holds significant promise for addressing food security and sustainable agriculture challenges in the region. Vertical farming is a technology-driven agricultural practice that involves cultivating crops in vertically stacked layers, often in controlled indoor environments. Middle Eastern countries are exploring and investing in vertical farming as a viable solution for urban agriculture. Here are some key aspects of the future of vertical farming in the region:

  1. Water Efficiency: Given the water scarcity in the Middle East, vertical farming’s water-efficient methods, such as hydroponics and aeroponics, are gaining attention. These techniques use significantly less water compared to traditional farming methods, making vertical farming more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
  2. Year-Round Crop Production: Vertical farming allows for year-round crop production, independent of weather conditions. This steady supply of fresh produce can reduce the region’s dependence on imports and enhance food security.
  3. Optimal Land Use: Vertical farming maximizes land use by utilizing vertical space in urban environments. This is particularly valuable in densely populated cities where land availability is limited.
  4. Reduced Food Miles: Vertical farms can be established close to urban centers, reducing the distance food travels from farm to table. This reduces carbon emissions associated with transportation and enhances the freshness of produce.
  5. Climate Control: Controlled indoor environments in vertical farms enable precise control over temperature, humidity, and light, creating ideal conditions for plant growth and reducing the risk of crop failure due to extreme weather events.
  6. Nutrient Management: Vertical farms can tailor nutrient solutions to meet the specific needs of crops, leading to healthier plants and higher yields.
  7. Integration with Smart Technologies: Integration of smart technologies, such as IoT sensors and data analytics, enables real-time monitoring of crops and resource usage, leading to efficient and optimized farming practices.
  8. Local Food Production: Vertical farming empowers communities to produce their own food locally, fostering food self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on external sources.
  9. Innovative Crops: Vertical farms provide opportunities to experiment with growing less conventional crops and specialty varieties that may have higher nutritional value and unique flavors.
  10. Research and Development: Middle Eastern countries are investing in research and development to advance vertical farming technologies, optimize resource use, and adapt farming methods to local conditions.

While vertical farming presents numerous opportunities, it also comes with challenges, including initial setup costs, energy consumption, and ensuring economically viable production. Overcoming these challenges requires collaboration between governments, private sectors, and research institutions to develop supportive policies, incentives, and innovative farming models.

As vertical farming gains traction in the Middle East, it has the potential to revolutionize urban agriculture and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient food system in the region.

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SMART CITY

The Evolution of Smart Cities: Sustainable Urban Planning in the Middle East

The evolution of smart cities in the Middle East has been remarkable, with a focus on sustainable urban planning to address the challenges of rapid urbanization, population growth, and resource constraints. Middle Eastern countries are leveraging advanced technologies to create efficient, connected, and environmentally-friendly cities. Here’s how sustainable urban planning is shaping smart cities in the region:

  1. Sustainable Infrastructure: Smart cities in the Middle East emphasize sustainable infrastructure development. This includes energy-efficient buildings, green spaces, eco-friendly transportation systems, and waste management solutions to reduce the environmental impact.
  2. Renewable Energy Integration: Middle Eastern smart cities are increasingly integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to power their urban centers. Solar-powered streetlights, buildings, and public facilities contribute to reduced carbon emissions and energy conservation.
  3. Smart Transportation: Smart cities in the region prioritize efficient and sustainable transportation systems. This includes public transit expansion, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, bike-sharing programs, and traffic management solutions to reduce congestion and air pollution.
  4. Water Conservation: Water scarcity is a significant concern in the Middle East. Smart cities employ advanced water management technologies, such as smart meters, leak detection systems, and recycled water usage, to conserve and optimize water resources.
  5. IoT and Data Analytics: Internet of Things (IoT) sensors collect real-time data on various city functions, enabling data-driven decision-making for efficient resource allocation, waste reduction, and improved services for residents.
  6. Green Building Initiatives: Smart cities in the Middle East promote green building standards and certifications to ensure energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable construction practices.
  7. Smart Grids and Energy Management: The integration of smart grids allows for more efficient energy distribution and consumption, optimizing energy use and reducing waste.
  8. Public Participation and Citizen Engagement: Sustainable urban planning in smart cities involves active citizen participation and engagement. Smart platforms allow residents to provide feedback, report issues, and actively contribute to the decision-making process.
  9. Public Safety and Security: Smart cities implement advanced technologies for public safety, including smart surveillance systems, emergency response coordination, and disaster management strategies.
  10. E-Government and Digital Services: Smart cities in the Middle East provide digital services, such as e-government platforms and online service portals, to enhance administrative efficiency and citizen access to public services.

The Middle East’s commitment to sustainable urban planning is evident in various ambitious smart city projects, such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, NEOM in Saudi Arabia, and Msheireb Downtown Doha in Qatar. These projects serve as showcases for sustainable development and have the potential to inspire other cities in the region and beyond. By combining technology, innovation, and sustainable practices, smart cities in the Middle East are poised to create a more livable, resilient, and prosperous urban future for their residents.

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SMART CITY

Tech-Enhanced Pilgrimage: Middle Eastern Cities Integrating Smart Pilgrim Services

Tech-enhanced pilgrimage is transforming the experience of religious travelers visiting Middle Eastern cities for pilgrimage purposes. Smart pilgrim services leverage technology and innovative solutions to provide a more efficient, convenient, and safe experience for millions of pilgrims who visit the region every year. Here’s how Middle Eastern cities are integrating smart services for pilgrims:

  1. Smart Travel Planning: Mobile apps and online platforms provide pilgrims with comprehensive information about pilgrimage routes, accommodation options, transportation, and visa requirements. These apps also offer real-time updates on crowd density and travel advisories.
  2. Digital Guidance and Wayfinding: Augmented reality (AR) and navigation apps help pilgrims navigate through crowded pilgrimage sites and follow prescribed routes with ease. These technologies enhance the overall pilgrimage experience and reduce the likelihood of getting lost.
  3. Online Registration and Booking: Smart services allow pilgrims to register for their pilgrimage online and book accommodation in advance. This streamlines the process, reduces waiting times, and ensures a smoother journey.
  4. Real-Time Crowd Management: IoT sensors and data analytics are used to monitor crowd density at pilgrimage sites and manage the flow of pilgrims to prevent overcrowding and ensure safety.
  5. Contactless Payments and E-Wallets: Smart pilgrim services promote cashless transactions and offer contactless payment options for various services, including accommodation, transportation, and purchasing religious items.
  6. Multilingual Translation Services: Language translation apps and devices help overcome language barriers, allowing pilgrims from different countries to communicate with locals and each other more easily.
  7. Health and Safety Monitoring: IoT devices and wearables track pilgrims’ health data, such as body temperature and heart rate, to monitor their well-being during the pilgrimage. This information can be used to provide immediate medical assistance if needed.
  8. Digital Connectivity and Wi-Fi Hotspots: Middle Eastern cities provide free Wi-Fi hotspots in and around pilgrimage sites to ensure pilgrims stay connected with their families and friends during their journey.
  9. Digital Pilgrim Records: Smart services maintain digital records of pilgrims’ activities, making it easier for authorities to manage the influx of visitors and ensure safety and security.
  10. Smart Transportation: Integrated transportation systems offer efficient and convenient travel options for pilgrims, including smart buses, trains, and ride-hailing services.

By embracing smart pilgrim services, Middle Eastern cities not only enhance the experience of religious travelers but also improve the overall management of pilgrimage events. The integration of technology in pilgrimage planning and execution enhances safety, efficiency, and convenience, making the journey more spiritually fulfilling for millions of pilgrims who visit the region each year.

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