Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dubai approaches Expo 2020 with holistic Smart City initiatives

(My article in The Gulf Today-posted for my reference)
DUBAI: As Dubai gives a vigourous push to its Smart City initiatives so as to be well prepared for the Expo 2020, residents can reap the benefits of an assortment of high-tech services that have a direct impact on their daily lives. 
In fact, Dubai is galloping its way to be the first city in the Middle East to adopt a holistic approach to the Smart City concept.
“We are highly encouraged by the government approach through public-private partnership,” says Dilip Rahulan, executive chairman of Pacific Controls, which works closely with Dubai’s Civil Defence department, providing “city management” for the authorities. This  means the company traces and handles alarms in private and public buildings on behalf of the authority.
The main operating hub is Dubai, where Pacific Controls currently has 60,000 buildings connected to its own control network, supervising emergency, power, cooling and energy, elevators and other mechanical and electrical infrastructure in those buildings. 
Microsoft Gulf recently announced its partnership with Pacific Controls Cloud Services (PCCS) to offer an exclusive SaaS portal providing range of PCCS products and software based on popular Microsoft applications. “In the future, information technology will primarily be in the cloud,” informed Rahulan.
By implementing the 24x7 monitoring system for safety alarms, the Dubai Civil Defence (DCD)-Pacific Controls National Life Safety system has already achieved a number of benefits for residents.
“Every day we deal with at least 10 critical alarms; elevator failure of systems or real fires. In a smart city, for the government infrastructure as a whole the cost is shared by residents and the benefits are returned at low cost,” says Rahulan.
According to officials, fire incidents in Dubai have been reduced by 54 per cent in the first four years of operation, from around 600 a year in 2007 and 2008, before the project was launched, to only 290 in 2011.
The reason has been attributed to accurate, timely and early notification of emergencies.
“The direct alarm system not only assists in monitoring life and safety alarms but also alerts the Civil Defence about possible faults in the fire alarm and firefighting systems. The system monitors the fire alarm control panels, water tanks, elevators and pumps and in case of failure a notification is received at the command control centre,” explains Rahulan. 
The 24x7 DCD team notifies the building owner in writing to carry out the maintenance on the system, and continues to follow up with the owner until the issue is completely resolved.
It is stated that more than 50 per cent of firefighting systems were not working in the buildings before the direct alarm system was implemented. 
However, after installing the direct alarm system, owners have started fixing their fire alarm and fighting systems, causing a significant improvement in overall compliance. Till date more than 59,600 direct alarm systems are said to have been installed in Dubai. 
There have been gains on environmental protection too. Etisalat partnered with Pacific Controls to launch the Emirates Energy Star (EES) programme in 2011. 
Since November 2011, the UAE’s National Energy Efficiency Programme has eliminated more than 39,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions till date, which is equal to planting 8,400 trees.


  1. This is a very good measure.... if you can't plant trees, at least control CO2 emissions. Keep going, Dubai!!!