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The capital, Muscat, has improved its performance in the world's Smart City Index by moving up eight points to 88 from 96 in the previous year, which was prepared by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).

The Index takes into account the economic and technological aspects of smart cities on the one hand and the “humane dimensions” of smart cities (quality of life, environment, and inclusiveness) on the other. The other GCC cities also improved rankings with Riyadh moving up to 25 from 31, Doha to 48 from 54, Dubai to 12 from 14, and Abu Dhabi to 10 from 13. The top ten smart cities are Zurich, Oslo, Canberra, Geneva, Singapore, Copenhagen, Lausanne, London, and Helsinki, apart from Abu Dhabi. A Smart City system is about the integration of all the utilities, infrastructure, and citizen services on a single platform and a unified dashboard for the efficient, reliable, and resilient operation of the city.

The regulatory framework for smart cities is likely to be ready by the end of this year, according to a top official of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Speaking to the Observer recently, Omar al Ismaili, CEO of TRA, said, "There is no limit on how this concept of smart cities will evolve. It is based on guidelines, including that from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the ISO standard. There is a national effort regarding the smart city and this is a good example of a collaborative regulation." It has been prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (MoUHP) and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology (MoTCIT).

"There is a need to create and suggest frameworks to achieve the interoperability among all the devices and layers at every interface in the networks, be it a smart home network, a smart building network, a smart city/community network, or the smart grid network. Development of smart cities infrastructure and services is reliant on a strong Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure and governance framework where the roles and responsibilities of all entities that contribute to ICT governance are set out clearly and transparently," the TRA said.

The Oman 2040 strategy has made it clear that Smart Cities are a national ambition, a source for growth, and jobs, and a tool to diversify its economy away from oil exports. As such, the government developed the Oman National Spatial Strategy to guide progress in line with Vision 2040 and has been deploying several pilots and tools to support the development of the Smart City sector throughout the country, while increasing opportunities for collaboration with the private sector and academia.

The launch of the national Smart City Platform underscored the importance of this sector for the country. It has developed to become a hub for knowledge sharing, solution enablement, and capacity building.

As it surveyed and data collected in 142 cities across the world since 2019, the IMD index seeks to help policymakers and media illustrate various stages of development and diverse experiences in each, to show the relevance of the index to the real world.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Vinod Nair

Quelle/Source: Oman Observer, 13.04.2024

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