By Naushad K. Cherrayil Staff Reporter
Dubai: Work is progressing on Dubai’s plans for a fully mobile government, a top official said at an m-government conference held in Dubai yesterday.
“The Smart Government initiative aims to harness the power of smartphones and make way for all possible services on mobile platforms by May 2015,” said Ahmad Bin Humaidan, director-general of Dubai Smart Government.
A Smart City represents a network of interconnected information systems using smart sensors that creates value by applying advanced technologies to search, access, transfer, and process information.
From a government perspective, the goal of a Smart City is often to integrate public agencies, systems and infrastructures into one holistic system.
Smart City initiatives have gained momentum in the Gulf in recent years with three countries announcing projects for future smart cities, namely, six economic cities in Saudi Arabia, three projects in Qatar — Lusail’s Smart and Sustainable City, Pearl-Qatar Island, and Energy City Qatar — and two projects in UAE — Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Smart City Dubai.
The UAE is moving from eGovernment to mGovernment and all government departments will operate in consonance with the mobile era by providing a one-stop store that will house all applications to do with various government services and enable all transactions through a single log-in.
Bin Humaidan said mGovernment will lead to better services for citizens at reduced costs, resulting in increased efficiency and accessibility for a larger number of people.
There are around 1,800 government services available online now.
“Transforming them into mobile platform will be based on their eligibility as some applications might be difficult to use on smartphones,” he said. The journey did not “start now” with the Smart Government. It began when “we launched eServices,” he said.
The ePay portal in 2013 recorded Dh5.6 billion, registering a growth of 27 per cent compared to 2012, while the mPay mobile application registered a 265 per cent increase in transactions in 2013, he said.
He added that interconnectivity, cooperation and integration among different departments and authorities, all done with the objective of making people happy, were their “main potential and the main enabler.”
High approval ratings
The Dubai government had disclosed earlier that 38.1 per cent of its services were now being accessed through the online channel.
Equally important is the satisfaction with these. A recent survey also shows a very high satisfaction rate of over 90 per cent for Dubai Government’s online services, which is a positive sign for the future.
“We have a centralisation-decentralisation approach. Centralisation is making shared services available for the government entities, to become faster in their rollout of government services,” he said.
The government departments are innovating on one side, he said, adding that while they decentralise the project and innovate, “we make the framework with the policies and norms for them to use with their innovations.”
“We want to better the experience for citizens who are using our applications. We want to provide our services around the clock through smartphones. These services need innovation and public-private partnership is vital. We have a clear-cut vision and want to be close to our customers,” he added.
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