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    Digital Transformation in Dubai: Who Is Playing the Critical Role?

The Challenges of Urbanization

The pace of urbanization coupled with a growing population have rapidly accelerated over recent decades in the Middle East, putting increased pressure on infrastructure, social and economic structures, and the environment. A critical question arises: how to provide adequate housing, healthcare, education, jobs, and infrastructure for residents of the region? Over the last 20 years, Dubai has been transforming itself into an international city and a regional business and tourism destination. This has been achieved through the diversification of the economy and vast development in specific sectors — including tourism, real estate, retail, travel, logistics, and finance. Underlying this process of urbanization, a strong and productive government sector has embraced regulatory reforms along with technology, wholly committing to the world-class digitalization of the city.

Technology Transformation

With the announcement of its first Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy in 1999, Dubai began its technological journey. The launch of Dubai Internet City, the Dubai e-government, and Dubai Smart Government all followed on, and, in 2014, the Smart Dubai initiative arrived. Over the past two decades, the numerous digital initiatives transforming the city have been welcomed by its residents, driving the adoption of ICT in all aspects of life.

The development of digital transformation and the rapid growth of concomitant digital services have posed new challenges for the Dubai municipality, including how to address a rapid increase in data volume, while still ensuring data security. In response, Dubai municipality decided to launch a Disaster Recovery (DR) data center project, which required a data center to be rapidly deployed and put into operation as soon as possible, in order to ensure the data security of digital services. However, ensuring fast delivery and high reliability has always been an extremely challenging task when constructing DR data centers on open land.

Prefabricated Modular Data Center

As a leading global ICT solutions provider, Huawei brings with it the engineering expertise that provides customers with more secure, intelligent, and reliable data centers. Huawei and the Dubai government worked together to overcome the challenges involved in constructing complex DR data centers and — thanks to its fast deployment times, high reliability, digital Operations and Maintenance (O&M), and high level of convergence with ICT devices — Huawei's FusionDC1000A End-To-End (E2E) solution was the natural choice for such a complex construction project.

Fast deployment: Huawei FusionDC1000A is an end-to-end all-in-one prefabricated modular data center solution adopting a highly integrated design. The power distribution, cooling, fire extinguishing, security protection, and monitoring systems are all prefabricated, pre-installed, pre-tested, and pre-commissioned in the factory. The manufacturing quality is guaranteed by the product-based solution design and E2E high-end manufacturing process, with its container design allowing for ease of transportation and installation. Additionally, deployment can be completed within just one day, slashing required work hours by 80%, significantly shortening the engineering time, and effectively addressing Dubai municipality's core requirement for a quick rollout.

High reliability: FusionDC1000A adopts a highly reliable structure with a service life of 25 years. The maximum IP65 protection level fully protects against dust and moisture, with a shockproof capability equivalent to McNair's 9 intensity — comparable to that of traditional buildings. With a high-strength mechanical lock also protecting core assets, high-temperature resistant applications are perfectly suitable for the climate of Dubai.

Digital O&M: The intelligent Huawei Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) platform is configured to offer unified management of power supply, cooling, access control, and Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) subsystems. Users can access the system through multiple terminals, including laptops, tablets, and smart phones, with a visualized O&M interface provided. The simplified and intelligent O&M experience is seamless, removing the need for onsite personnel.

Huawei's FusionDC1000A one-stop solution has been widely recognized and highly praised by the Dubai Municipal Government for its design, deployment, and O&M. Indeed, Huawei FusionDC1000A plays a key role in realizing Dubai's vision of Smart City 2021, it has been said.

Innovation Going Forward

"By embracing technological innovation, we strive to improve the wellbeing of all residents and visitors in Dubai, providing them with a more seamless, smart, safe, efficient and personalized city experience," the Dubai Municipality's Director of Information technology (IT), Asmahan Alzarooni, said. "Guided by urban digitalization, Dubai has transformed itself into a model Smart City. In less than three years, over 100 smart initiatives and more than 1000 smart services were delivered to the public by more than 20 government departments, improving happiness standards by approximately 3%. We look forward to further cooperation with Huawei on the road to digital transformation and Smart City construction in Dubai. As a high-tech company that is bold in innovation, we believe that Huawei is capable of contributing more to the development of Dubai, with an openness to address any future changes and challenges."