The Gulf region aims to boast a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025. At the heart of this goal is the realisation of key smart city development dreams held for decades. Can the next three years really bring about the delivery of smart infrastructure, mobility, health, services and government on an unprecedented scale?
While announcements about smart city ambitions never fail to grab headlines and attention, turning this ambition into reality is much harder. This is something that is painted vividly – sometimes proudly, sometimes painfully – across the Middle East’s recent history.
Regardless, today the region’s attitude towards smart city development is decidedly more focused and goal-oriented than compared to the previous decade. One feature of this renewed focus is the increasing investment. Middle East investments in smart city technologies will reach $2.3bn by the end of 2021. This is against a global backdrop of rising smart city technology spending, which is predicted to reach $135 billion by 2021, up from $80 billion in 2016.