The UAE is making great strides towards achieving its vision of boasting some of the smartest cities in the world, with Dubai emerging as the Middle East’s leading smart city due to its high-tech infrastructure and execution of several smart initiatives.

The countries of the Gulf region are playing an increasingly visible role in the global development of smart cities. Cities in this region have seized on the ideas behind the smart city as a means of improving quality of life, strengthening avenues for economic diversification and supporting environmental and sustainability programmes.

Dubai has emerged as the Middle East’s leading smart city, according to an index that weighed up the high-tech infrastructure in several cities in the region.

Global research firm Navigant assessed the cities according to their vision and execution of ‘smart’ initiatives and said that Dubai stood out for its strategic vision and clear understanding of the practical requirements to deliver on its vision.

Commissioned by Huawei, the study found that the foundations laid by Dubai’s leadership and the Smart Dubai Office would provide an excellent basis for a range of innovations that would have a significant impact on the city’s operations and quality of life.

In the Internet of Things era, the UAE is also one of the world’s best-prepared countries in cybersecurity, ranking 17 out of 105 countries by the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union.

The Dubai government also recently launched its Cyber Security Strategic Plan to enhance protection of government services.

“As more smart city and government services become digitized, the Internet of Things is a cyberattack force multiplier, with critical national infrastructure especially at risk. The UAE government is at the global forefront of protecting smart cities and providing residents with peace of mind while using government services,” said Andrew Calthorpe, CEO at the UAE-based Smart City consultancy Condo Protego.

With the number of connected devices more than doubling from 23 billion in 2016 to 50 billion by 2020, cyberattacks will shift to disruptive and destructive attacks, especially on the hybrid cloud, mobile devices and critical national infrastructure, according to a report by cybersecurity firm RSA.

As a result, Condo Protego is seeing strong UAE public sector demand for cybersecurity solutions with advanced threat detection and response.

“Channel partners are vital for guiding public sector adoption of cloud or on-premise solutions to future-proof services, and the cybersecurity solutions with the full visibility, analysis and action to prevent cyberattacks in real time,” added Calthorpe.

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