Dubai, the rich Middle Eastern city, has recently announced a five years plan to implement cutting edge technology with the aim of creating a Smart Dubai through the use of the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain tech.
In a highly ambitious project, Dubai’s government aims to conduct all transactions through the blockchain by 2020. ConsenSys, an ethereum tech company, recently signed a Moratorium of Understanding, stating:
“Rahilla Zafar, Director of Strategic Research at ConsenSys signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on behalf of the company. The MoU seals our agreement to work with the Dubai Smart Government Establishment to incorporate blockchain in the city’s Internet of Things (IoT) to help develop a smart city.”
The city aims to incorporate wireless technology, sensors, data analytics, cloud computing and blockchain tech, to create a Smart Dubai where objects are connected and therefore become dynamic.
Street lights, for example, could become much more efficient with sensors as it would give them the awareness of whether there are individuals in the vicinity and, therefore, whether the light is needed or otherwise.
For the dessert city, water might be a significant consideration, especially for crops. IBM recently showcased the use of IoT in a vinery to considerably reduce water usage, and therefore decrease costs.
Energy use could also become more efficient through smart metering. This could become even fancier with blockchain integration as then payments can be automatic based on usage which, through sensors and analytics, would likely reduce costs due to more efficient use.
A smart city might also want to prepare for charging stations so that self-driving cars can re-energize while performing a taxi or bus like service with even fancier implementations through blockchain integration which would allow the car to automatically pay the charging station, thus needing no human involvement at all.
While the last example might be some years away, IoT’s use in numerous aspects for efficiency increases and cost reduction is available today and is being implemented in many areas.
At a city wide level, its implementation is at a planning stage as the initial investment costs are likely considerable. There are a number of such plans, including in China and India, but Dubai, with its significant investment fund, seems to be moving a bit faster.
As such, we may soon have the first smart city which will allow us to see how it all works in a day to day context, with many more likely to follow as the added services it provides as well as increased efficiencies are likely to have many advantages.