Orange to build out smart city platform in Saudi Arabia

orange smartcity KFD

Orange Business has signed a deal with the King Abdullah Financial District Development and Management Company (KAFD DMC) to design, build and run a new end-to-end smart city platform.

The work will involve connecting up some existing digital technologies at Saudi Arabia’s KAFD business district, while plugging in some additional AI and data analytics. Orange Business will also provide a range of ‘Digital Master Systems Integration’ services and orchestrate its partner ecosystem – by which it presumably means draft in some additional firms to facilitate the build.

The Orange Smart City Platform Includes aspects of big data, data management, descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive data analytics, and governance. Alongside this AI-related systems will include geolocation-based ‘sentiment analysis’ of social media, analysing, collating, and sharing contextual data in areas ranging from water supply to traffic situation awareness, and energy optimisation across commercial office buildings.

Meanwhile a digital twin will allow architects and engineers to analyse real-time data to optimise building design.

“The increasing wave of urbanization across the world is set to uncover a US $517 billion market for smart city solutions with an annual growth rate of 25%, a fact that plays into KAFD’s objectives of building a future-proof and business-friendly hub in Riyadh,” said Gautam Sashittal, CEO of KAFD DMC. “A major step in that direction, our partnership with Orange Business will further strengthen our drive to become a global pioneer in smart urban development.”

Sahem Azzam, Senior Vice President Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, Orange Business, added: “Orange Business is delighted to be a part of this flagship project and serve as a trusted digital partner. The commissioning of the Smart City Platform is a clear signal of our commitment to elevate the already world-class district to the next level of smart city evolution – what we call the cognitive city. This is driven by the collection of data and leveraging AI and data analytics to provide deeper user insights as a basis for new use cases, revenue streams, and innovative services for the city’s population. It will also optimize city operations – making them better, faster, and safer.”

“With our specialized teams on site to offer their unparalleled expertise from a regional cluster headquarters in the Kingdom, we believe our collaboration with KAFD will showcase innovative urban digital design and make a key contribution to the Saudi Vision 2030 economic diversification and transformation plan.”

Smart cities is one of those terms that’s been buzzing around for years now, usually as a way to sketch out how transformative things like 5G, data analytics, or AI will be on societies by those selling them.

While ideas about fully automated transportation systems, and municipalities generally improved thanks to data led decisions, AI and digital transformation projects, can’t be said to have yet manifested themselves to the extent of the grand utopian vision often presented to us, there have been some been some noteworthy trials and applications along these themes.

In the UK, the Cambridge Connector project trial will run next year and involve up to 13 automated electric vehicles serving routes around the city, backed by £8.7 million from government which is being matched by industry. The ‘on-demand’ self-driving shuttle service will run around Cambridge University’s West Cambridge Campus and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and the busses will initially have a ‘safety driver’ on board as backup.

Meanwhile the UK government announced it was looking at ‘smart lampposts’ alongside a series of telecoms initiatives, which are envisioned as providing a ‘range of smart services’, such as improved mobile network connectivity, public wifi, electric vehicle charging, as well as public safety and environmental monitoring.


Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Register for the newsletter here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.