QITCOM’s Conference

The Conference at QITCOM 2017, part of Qatar’s biggest digital event, focused on the transformational power of technology to improve quality of life and promote sustainable economic growth. Managed by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, QITCOM’s Conference took place from 7 to 8 March at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

QITCOM 2017’s Conference featured over forty internationally renowned expert speakers with specialist knowledge in their field. Among the Conference’s keynote speakers is Professor Carlo Ratti who directs the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who discussed how technology has the potential to shape the cities we live in and improve the quality of life for citizens. The concept of Smart Cities was a key theme throughout the Conference, highlighting how the application of smart technology can drive sustainable growth across different sectors of the economy.

Following the opening session, topics examined on the first day of the Conference included how technology can enable more efficient transportation systems to reduce congestion, boost GDP and facilitate a transition to a low carbon economy. The use of digital clusters as a business model to drive economic growth by stimulating innovation, creating jobs and attracting international investment will then be followed by a session on how digital technologies are enabling governments to engage with their citizens in more effective and efficient ways online.

Among the sessions on day two were cybersecurity for Smart Cities to ensure digital safety, and the challenges and trends in the current technological revolution taking place in the healthcare sector for future healthier societies. The application of technology as a driver for environmental sustainability through more efficient resource consumption will precede the final topic of the day on how sporting mega events such as the 2022 World Cup are being transformed by technology in terms of athlete performance and stadium entertainment.

Ms. Reem Al Mansoori, Assistant Undersecretary of Digital Society Development Sector, Ministry of Transport and Communications, said: “QITCOM 2017’s Conference is the region’s preeminent platform for senior-level government officials, business leaders, academics, innovators and investors to interact, network and share knowledge on sustainable economic development through technological innovation. As well as exceptional international speakers, the Conference will also feature a large number of Qatari speakers who are leading the application of Smart City technology, in what promises to be a thought-provoking two days of discussion on sustainable solutions to real-world issues that affect all of us around the world.”

Keynote speaker Carlo Ratti, Professor at MIT and founding partner at Carlo Ratti Associati design office said: “Today, we find ourselves in a moment of crucial change. Internet is entering the spaces we live in, and is becoming Internet of Things. It is merging the physical and digital layers, giving rise to cyber-physical systems. This transformation is opening the door to a new world of applications that can encompass many domains, as it happened with the first wave of the Internet. As a result, many aspects of urban life are being rapidly transformed: from energy to waste management, from mobility to water distribution, from city planning to citizen engagement. Confronting these changes requires an open and cross-disciplinary debate, and it is for this reason that I really look forward to joining the QITCOM 2017 Conference. It will be a great opportunity to discuss innovation and the ways in which technology can improve quality of life in our cities.”

Digital clusters

Digital clusters are driving economic growth by stimulating innovation and knowledge spill overs. Cities and regions that are successful in creating Digital Clusters are experiencing rapid job creation, economic growth, international investment and are attracting global talent.

Public Services and Cybersecurity

Digital technology enables governments to better engage with citizens through more responsive service design. Protecting critical infrastructure, cloud services, data privacy, and maintaining cybersecurity are key for the implementation of smart cities.

Sports

Athletes are enhancing their performance through equipment and connected health devices, and in-stadium entertainment is being transformed by Internet of Things, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. With Doha emerging as the sporting capital of the GCC and with the World Cup in 2022, new technologies will change the way that Mega sports events are manged and experienced.

Environment

Technology provides an avenue for governments to drive more efficient resource consumption, transition away from the hydro carbon economy and look towards a more sustainable future. Building sustainable communities relies on a solid system for the production and consumption of food, water, waste and energy.

Health

Emerging technology is revolutionising healthcare and reducing the cost of managing the increasing prevalence of chronic metabolic disease. Artificial Intelligence has enabled digital diagnosis and the delivery of virtual healthcare, while the Internet of Things is improving the wellbeing and experience of patients under care.

Transportation

Technology can enable more efficient transportation systems that can improve mobility, save time for citizens, maximise government resources and facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy. Low carbon and autonomous vehicles, intelligent transport systems, sustainable mobility and traffic management are driving the future of transportation.