The Smart Dubai initiative was launched in 2014 by the Vice President and the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. By embracing technological innovation, the initiative aimed to make Dubai the happiest, most efficient, safe, and impactful experience for its residents and visitors.
In 2015, Dubai decided to use key performance indicators (KPIs), developed from the International Technology Union’s (ITU) standards for Smart Sustainable Cities, to track their progress and inform strategies for future actions. These KPIs assessed the impact of the information and communication technologies on the sustainability of Smart Cities.
Guided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Dubai followed the 7-step process to perform the assessment using the aforementioned KPIs. This process included KPI collection, analysis and identification of data sources, data collection, KPI reporting, ITU assessment, data verification and evaluation.50 Moving forward, it mandated that data collection be embedded within all Smart City projects to ensure that the best quality data was available for the KPIs evaluations.51 The 92 KPIs from the ITU standards were categorized into 19 major topics and further sorted into three broad buckets— economy, environment and society and culture—reminiscent of the triple bottom line. Dubai became the first city to pilot a KPI development using the ITU’s Sustainable Smart Cities standards.53 From this exercise, Smart Dubai was able to quickly develop a standardized data collection method across all departments not only to satisfy the ITU’s KPIs, but their own Smart Dubai strategy KPIs.
What did we learn from Dubai?
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) development and assessment helped Dubai monitor their progress and identify gaps in their Smart City activities.
Dubai was able to build on the International Technology Union’s (ITU) standards for Smart Sustainable Cities,50 which facilitated the development of a Global Smart Sustainable City Index that will be used to assist future Smart City development.