Smart Cities Forum

Monday 17th January

10.30 | Visit Exhibition

13.30 | Welcome Address

13.35 | Why going smart makes sense for cities and governments


(Reserved; details to be announced)

13.55 | Future-proofing city planning

Panel Discussion

How will the needs and wants for residential and commercial space change in line with the way people work? If workspaces are becoming more flexible, and working from home more prevalent, how will residential space be rethought? What will this mean for office space, particularly if larger companies adopt a hub and spoke office space approach? And what will this mean for government efforts to create smart buildings, communities and cities?

Confirmed speakers:

Gabriella De La Torre

Director, LEED Green Associate


Ross McKenzie

Executive Director

RMA Advisory

14.40 | Regenerative architecture – where does it fit within smart city planning?

Panel Discussion

The focus for building has been sustainability, but should it go further, with communities and governments embracing principles of regenerative architecture? This discussion will explain regenerative architecture, why it will become more important for net zero plans, and how it can link with nature even in extreme climates.

15.15 | Urban greening: Benefits towards a low carbon future

Case Studies

15.15: Case Study 1: Tackling the silent killer – urban greening to improve air quality

Strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter – therefore improving air quality - are central pillars to achieving future sustainable cities. Air quality is a significant challenge impacting the health and wellbeing of people using cities and large communities.

15.30: Case Study 2: Reducing heat islands – greening to make cities more liveable

In addition to reducing particulate matter, urban greening will help cool heat islands in built-up areas and prevent flooding where heavy rain occurs. This discussion looks at how to put in place ‘desert friendly’ urban greening that recognises the local climate and provides tangible benefits to a city.

15.45: Audience Q&A

16.00 | Close of Day One

Tuesday 18th January

10.30 | Welcome

10.35 | Changing transport infrastructure in urban environments

Keynote Panel Discussion

A key pillar in the electrification of the energy transition is to reduce the number of petrol- and diesel-based vehicles used, and to encourage greater use of clean, mass transit. But most companies and people are invested still in their current approach. How do we accelerate change, increase clean personal transport, put in place reliable mass transit and crack the last mile when public transport is used?

Confirmed speakers:

11.15 | The electrification of transport


As governments look to reduce the reliance on energy from fossil fuel, it will result in the increasing use of electrification of the transport sector, be that light vehicles, heavy vehicles or mass transit. This presentation will discuss opportunities in the electrification of transport and how to tackle challenges of rolling out the necessary charging infrastructure.

11.35 | Is micro-mobility the answer to the last mile challenge?

Panel Discussion

Some aspects of micro-mobility can be quite divisive, but is it the answer to the last mile challenge? If the use of micro-mobility is to rise, what must municipalities and governments put in place for its smooth operation in spaces that will also include vehicles and people. This panel will discuss some of the options around the last mile challenge and how to increase micro-mobility use in a safe, sustainable way.

Confirmed speakers:

Jaideep Dhanoa

Co-Founder and CEO


Ahmed Samir Elbermbali

Managing Director

Clean Energy Business Council

Feri Zekisson



12.15 | The hydrogen transport economy

Panel Discussion

What is the future for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs)? Will light vehicles become more popular, or has battery EV now got too much of a market hold? For hydrogen, is the future fleet vehicles such as taxis and buses, which need to be on the road for much of the time, and heavy vehicles? And if so, how does this change planning for infrastructure?

13.00 | Visit Exhibition

14.30 | Digital transformation: Ensuring intelligence for city planning

Presentation Discussion

For smart cities to function efficiently, they will be reliant on different systems being integrated and the unstructured data produced being turned into usable information from which decisions can be made. And different functions within a city will require different information from that data. This presentation will take a practical look at the required digital transformations required and the benefits they can produce.

Sherief Elabd

Industry Strategy Director

Oracle Construction and Engineering

14.50 | Cybersecurity in smart cities

Panel Discussion

Examples of cyber-attacks, including state-based, are increasing and as cities become interconnected and smart, the data they hold will become more attractive. How do cities protect themselves from sophisticated attacks and what data protection needs to be in place?

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Mohammad Khaled

Vice President

Group 42

15.30 | Opportunities from 5G in cities

Panel Discussion

5G technology is essential for the functioning of future smart cities. This panel will discuss the opportunities and services introduced by 5G and ask when we are likely to see them in use, and how they will improve the lives of those living or working in an urban environment.

16.00 | Close of Day Two

Wednesday 19th January

10.30 | Welcome Address

10.35 | Fuelling regional smart city developments


This presentation will set the scene for the focus on decarbonisation in future buildings, communities and cities, highlighting the what, why and how considerations. It will also discuss the positive role people can have in low-carbon cities and the enabling technologies now making ‘sustainable’ and ‘smart’ happen. 

10.55 | Meeting net-zero carbon targets in cities

Panel Discussion

Cities account for 66% of global energy demand and 70% of carbon emissions. Building and construction – when both pre-and post-handover are considered – account for 39% of carbon emissions. Of that, 28% is from energy used during a building’s operation and 11% are the emissions associated with the construction process. If cities are going to become carbon net zero in future, new ideas are required to reduce emissions. This panel will take a practical look at moving towards net zero carbon targets and set the scene for the morning’s discussions.

Confirmed speakers:

Riad Bsaibes

President and CEO


Dr. Ioannis Spanos


KEO International Consultants

Ghaith Tibi

Senior Consultant


Greg Fewer

Group Chief Financial & Sustainability Office


11.40 | Decarbonisation: Tackling embodied carbon

Panel Discussion

As more focus turns to decarbonisation in the buildings sector, attention is turning to embodied carbon and how to reduce it. As highlighted in the previous session, 11% of carbon emissions in construction can be considered as embodied. What targets need to be in place and how should the industry approach measuring embodied carbon, because without tackling this issue, it will not meet new quotas.

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Yasemin Nielsen

EngD in Construction Programme Leader

Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Mario Saab

Head of Sustainability MENA


Senior Representative

Emirates Green Building Council

12.10 | Sustainable asset management for buildings

Case Study

12.10: Case Study 1: Affordability vs sustainability: Understanding lifecycle cost of an asset

12.25: Case Study 2: Using smart sensors to drive asset efficiency

12:40: Case Study 3: City-based Digital Twin

13.00 | Visit Exhibition

14.30 | The role of materials and technologies in promoting building efficiency

Panel Discussion

What sensor and monitoring technologies will make buildings more efficient in future, reducing their consumption and altering building management when problems are on the horizon? This panel will build on the technologies and materials that will become prevalent to meet future net zero targets, as well as the importance of running an energy audit model to increase efficiency, functionality and ongoing sustainability once a building has been handed over. 

Confirmed speakers:

Tolga Candan

Head of Strategic Business Development


Rachid Hamida

Technology & Performance Director


15.10 | Esco Insight

How is the energy services (Esco) market changing as more awareness and expectation is placed on efficiency in buildings? Governments are still committed to retrofitting buildings. So where are the market opportunities for Escos and retrofitting and where should companies focus for future revenues and growth?

15.10: Case Study: Tangible benefits post-retrofit for a large building

15.25: Panel Discussion: Re-energising the Esco market

Confirmed speakers:

Stephane le Gentil

COO and Acting CEO

Abu Dhabi Energy Services Company

Aref Abouzahr


Ark Energy

Henrique Pereira


Taka Solutions

16.00 | Close of Smart Cities Forum