With the support and cooperation of the Smart Cities Council and Information Technology Authority- ITA , the Sultanate of Oman will host the first conference and exhibition dedicated to discussing the economic value and benefits for citizens when implementing smart cities projects in the country.

Taking place at Oman Convention Center, which is part of the Al Irfan smart city project, the event will focus under the theme “Empowering Smart Nation” on what defines a smart city as well as explore how to adapt the concept to best meet the unique needs for each city. Speakers will include thought leaders from Oman and experts presenting case studies from around the world.

Oman’s digital strategy was led by ITA more than a decade ago and was successful in paving the way for building a future-proof ICT infrastructure. This solid infrastructure enables the creation of new ventures that contribute to the country’s GDP.

Speaking about the importance of the conference, Dr. Salim Bin Sultan Alruzaiqi, CEO of ITA commented: “technological change and new technologies have made massive improvements in the delivery of public services and Oman is one of the countries aspiring to embrace the move toward urban automation and transforming into smart government. This conference, with its highly recognized experts and thought leaders, will bring about new insights on how the change to smart cities can open new horizons to the country at socio/economic levels.”

He further added: “The big stimulus for smart services comes from the acceleration of the fiber-based national fixed broadband infrastructure. Global trend statistics prove that for a 10% increase in national broadband penetration, there is a direct growth on the GDP by 1.38%. Fiber to Home (FTTH), the new generation broad band, will provide the nation with unmatched benefits and more reliability enabling ultra-fast internet connectivity and content-rich applications that require high bandwidth and speeds. It is estimated that by 2020, over 90% of the Governorate of Muscat- which is equivalent to 350,000 premises- will be covered by the fiber optic network. By the end of 2030, it is expected that most of the surrounding urban areas outside of Muscat will also be covered by the fiber optic network. The ultimate target is to connect all homes and businesses to the national broadband network across the sultanate by 2040.”

Commenting on the OSC Exhibition & Conference, Smart Cities Council Managing Director Philip Bane explained that the participation is part of its global initiative to share knowledge, benefits and opportunities and best practices from proven smart city projects implemented around the world. The Smart Cities Council includes a global network of smart city practitioners and innovators dedicated to improving the livability, workability and sustainability of the world’s cities. The Council’s network of 40+ companies and 75+ expert advisors has completed more than 5,000 smart city projects all over the world.

Urbanization and creating urban centers proved effective in developing new revenues for the country and creating new horizons for business enterprises as well as for the local community. However, opportunities spur challenges and in new ventures effecting the whole country, it is important to gather knowledgeable experts to debate these important topics of the future and create guidelines around future demands and possibilities.

Highlighting the reasons behind the launch of the Smart City Conference & Exhibition, Tarek Ali, General Manager of OITE Trade Fairs said that “the developed IT infrastructure in Oman and the expansion of broadband services opens new investment opportunities for international and local companies to explore. Oman has already started implementing smart cities applications and the emerging projects such as Madinat Al Irfan, Omagine Oman and Duqm are examples of the country’s vision to create new urban centers and enhance urbanism. Other government initiatives such as the Public Private Partnerships and the establishment of the $-530-m Technology Fund Demonstrates the readiness of the country to introduce more smart cities ventures.

Alongside the conference, leading smart city companies will present international technologies and ideas to conference participants and the local business community to expand knowledge and business sourcing.