By Mike Weston, Vice President for Cisco Middle East
Today, the Kuwaiti Government is focused on diversifying the economy, boosting long-term economic growth as well as providing employment and support for its fast-growing, predominantly youthful urban populations. They are achieving these ambitious goals by grasping the enormous potential of the next wave of the Internet - the Internet of Things (IoT) where technology will connect everything from people, processes and data to things.
Kuwait and other Middle East public sector organizations are well poised for the IoT because of the size of many government institutions, the number of people they serve, and the difficult problems they must solve. Because the Kuwaiti government has a broad authority over large sectors of society and the economy, it is able to launch IoT initiatives with impressive scale and transformative potential - using the IoT to create value by lowering costs, improving employee productivity, generating new revenue, and enhancing citizen benefits.
Embracing the Digital Opportunity
As digitization accelerates, cutting edge infrastructure will increase Kuwait's GDP, reduce spending and create jobs. It will allow the government to extend the reach and impact of public services by converting insights into action. It will enable new and diverse groups of entrepreneurs to build businesses that will shape the world, whilst providing more accessibility and opportunities for education and technology-based careers. As a result, it will ensure that Kuwait become more competitive on the global stage.
Digitization has the potential to create sustainable and positive impact for every area of society. At its core, Country Digitization is the process of planning, and ultimately building, a sophisticated and forward-thinking IT network ecosystem that will allow for greater connectivity, productivity and security to drive this positive impact.
Having the right digital ecosystem in place will be a necessity to achieve any of these things. It's our goal at Cisco to help the Kuwaiti government to accelerate their plans to develop this ecosystem and remain competitive as the world transitions into this new digital era. Our goal is to enable governments globally to serve their citizens more effectively, drive stronger economies and increase opportunities on the national and global stage through forward-thinking IT ecosystems.
Smart City Potential
Kuwait City and other Kuwaiti cities are well positioned to improve the quality of citizens' lives through the IoT as it starts to provide many of the services upon which citizens rely, including transportation, law enforcement, education, water, and in some cases even Internet connectivity.
In the future, Kuwaiti cities will be able to capture much of this value for example by implementing:
- Smart parking to help citizens find open parking spaces via smartphone app.
- Smart waste sensors installed in waste containers signal when they become full or are emitting odours above a set threshold for optimized pickup routes.
- Smart street lighting sensors in smart light poles can detect moving objects, including people and animals, in the street and adjust light levels accordingly.
- City Wi-Fi to enable traffic congestion management and automated water metering resulting in greener and more efficient city infrastructure management.
- Public safety and security - City Wi-Fi solutions will improve situational awareness by accelerating incident detection and it can trigger a combination of automated response, real-time collaboration and escalated decision support for optimal city operations and planning.
Another area where the IoT is coming increasingly into play is mobility: citizens and employees often now interact with IoE services primarily through mobile devices. Many public sector entities are putting mobile apps at the center of their IoE strategies, whether they are developed in-house or through third parties. We see the IoT as providing an unprecedented opportunity for the Kuwaiti government to transform the public sector in terms of how it operates and how it provides services to constituents – delivering affordable, reliable solutions for the region's population.
Partnerships between private companies and public-sector organizations in Kuwait are absolutely vital in order for this vision to become a reality. By selecting technology partners who have IoT vision and expertise, organizations can better envision what their IoE solutions can accomplish and use technology in ways they haven't considered before. Public-sector leaders here in Kuwait and in the region know that change isn't constant, it's instant. And by working together, private and public sector, we can bring change for everybody in Kuwait and the Middle East.