Gulf Customer Experience Awards judge Ahmed Aly Shaban has over 15 years of experience in meeting customer needs, and is currently a Senior Consultant in the UAE’s Prime Minister’s Office.

Here, he discusses how new technology can help with the business of good governance in the Middle East…

Governments everywhere face serious challenges in a world characterized by global macroeconomic uncertainty.

We live in a world where – in the space of just 60 seconds: 250 babies are born, 107 people die, 5,707 passengers board aircrafts, 2.66 million searches are made on Google, and 571 new websites appear.

The challenges are how to run services efficiently, to be customer-centric, improve services to meet customer needs as well as expectations, and to compete with the private sector.

Consequently, many countries established an independent entity or organisation that can work across all government levels to improve services smartly by adopting emerging technologies.

For instance, Smart Dubai Gov in UAE, and Smart Nation Singapore are considered successful models.

Emerging technologies can bring enormous benefits across all government sectors.

Health

Health Services can be considered at the heart of a government’s national agenda. Imagine the power of wearable devices, the internet of things (IoT), and data mining techniques, if they are deployed to save people life and predict risks.

Sensors attached to patients who are suspected diabetes or have the basic symptoms of diabetes can save their lives. They can keep eyes on the daily changes in patient health records and the efficiency of dietitian plans and physical exercises.

Wearable devices attached to newborns can instantly alert both parents and doctors to changes in the baby’s vital signs.

Using basic predictive models can even inform parents about the next time the baby will be hungry or when diapers should be changed.

Wearable devices for elderly people can remind them about medicine times, as well as update patient records about heart rate and other measurements.

Education

Robotics and AI are the future of education. Our students are digital natives – they grow up using smartphones and computers.

When students interact with robots, they get inspired by mechanics and programming; robotics within a strong curriculum can create thinkers and leaders.

Additionally, robotics can improve community involvement by increasing positive attitudes about school and homework, meaning less behavioral issues between teacher and student.

National Identity

National identity services help a government oversee information about citizens and residents, including demographic information such as age, nationality, marital status, education, and occupation.

Technology in this field could direct city developers to build more elementary schools in the areas with a majority of families with kids from six to 17 years old.

New hospital sites with special care facilities could be identified for locations with a high number of elderly people, while hospitals with dedicated pregnancy units could be marked in areas with a majority of newly married couples.

Housing

Augmented and virtual reality can be an efficient way to introduce and present city development to citizens, where the citizen can explore their future home and the area where they will live.

Transport

Authorities can monitor and review drivers’ habits with simple analytics modules that can predict potential dangerous drivers, and identify who needs more training behind the wheel.

With installed sensors on the parking and signals, we can detect the rush hours on the roads and decide when to extend the traffic signal timings in one direction and when to shorten the signal duration (Smart traffic Signals).

With sensors on the main roads, we can calculate road capacity and communicate to drivers about hazards and provide useful information. The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai is one of the leaders on applying such practices.

Airports

Dubai airports have introduced sensors to identify the number of passengers available in each stage, and can use data to arrange the number of customs and passport counters accordingly. This sort of efficiency saves both time and money, as well as keeping passengers happy.

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