Smart Dubai: A Special Interview Series - Dubai Design District

Rita Makhoul, May 24 2016


This is part two of a special interview series with some of the Smart Dubai's strategic partners to get a better understanding of the initiatives being introduced. Our first interview was with Her Excellency, Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai office.

Today we speak to the COO of Dubai Design District, Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi who will be speaking at ArabNet Digital Summit - Dubai, May 30-31, 2016 along with other Smart Dubai experts. Check out the conference speakers and program and register now to make sure you don't miss it.


What is d3’s role as a partner in achieving the vision for Smart Dubai?
d3 is a strategic partner to Smart Dubai with the aim to be the smartest area on earth and the best example of Dubai Smart city. d3 is a greenfield pilot for Smart Dubai Initiatives, and, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, d3 has introduced 21 smart initiatives to develop an innovative business community and contribute to the realisation of the emirate’s aspirations to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. d3 offers initiatives that are wide ranging and intelligently leverage technology to help drive an unparalleled quality of experience for its creative tenants and visitors.

 d3 has incorporated the smart city platform from its earliest planning stages, what are the smart initiatives we should expect to see at d3 once the current project is complete?
d3’s aim is to implement Smart solutions that will bring significant benefits to business partners, visitors and district operations – and, importantly, to Dubai as a Smart City. d3 will implement numerous smart initiatives that are built around Smart Dubai’s four pillars – efficient, seamless, safe and impactful – and that address six Smart City dimensions covering Smart Economy, Smart Living, Smart Environment, Smart Governance, Smart People and Smart Mobility.

Through these technologically-enhanced initiatives, d3’s business partners will benefit by saving on resource consumption, they will receive an enriched customer experience, improved safety standards, and they will be able to tap into effective, real-time data analytics that help drive their business forward.

The smart initiatives that d3 demonstrated at the IoT forum last December include:

  • Visualization of city data on a 9x3 meter interactive display, showcasing the upcoming Command and Control Centre’s (CCC) digital platform which aggregates live data from various sensors, enterprise data sources and third party applications, conducts advanced data analytics, and supports a wide spectrum of urban services. The CCC is a multi-functional tool with its key points including: Next Generation Data Visualization, Data Integration, Energy Monitoring, Common Area Fire Monitoring, Environmental monitoring, Smart Parking and Waste Management.

  •  “Smart d3” Mobile Application which offers three original features: 1) a parking function which enables the most effective and economic parking; 2) notifications that allows d3 to effectively communicate and provide alerts about important events and developments; 3) “report a missing object” service which allows d3’s tenants to report and retrieve lost and misplaced items.

  •  Interactive Teller Machine, in collaboration with NCR, that acts as a “mini-branch in a box”, where a customer can achieve 95% of the transactions processed in the branch without the need to visit the branch, helping customers save time and reduce congestion, thus improving productivity while conserving the environment.

  •  SamTech Smart Waste Management system which uses wireless sensors to measure the fill level of containers as well as GPS locaters to enable job scheduling and route optimisation for more efficient waste collection. The solution allows facility managers at d3 to schedule collections and track KPI’s to ensure the agreed service level agreements with contractors are met.

Could you give us an idea what a day in a d3 resident life would be like? [considering they also work in the district)
d3 is a dynamic community for the design industry in its broadest sense, encompassing segments such as fashion, interiors, architecture, arts and luxury design. We are creating a place for the region’s designers and design enthusiasts to live, work and play, offering a mix of residential, commercial, retail and hospitality real estate. As a Smart City we aim to foster a rich experience that connects the community and allows district residents to interact with each other and with the district at large.

In the future, d3 business partners will have a seamless commute to work, whether by private vehicle or public transport. In d3, parking systems will recognize cars and open the gate automatically, then guide drivers to their designated parking area. Kiosks and bus stations will be equipped with interactive screens allowing users to check timings by destination and get live updates on incoming buses, or request a nearby taxi and track its progress. All services can also be accessed through a single d3 app.

Walking into their office building, business partners gain access thanks to the 3D face recognition system deployed in the lobbies at d3. Should they wish to schedule a meeting, they can book a common meeting room online or through the d3 app, along with all necessary equipment; they can also pre-register external meeting attendees and other visitors they expect. This means visitors can have pre-booked parking to which they are automatically guided, they can breeze through security at the building entrance, and they receive a personal welcome upon arrival as their host is notified of their entrance into the building.

Should d3 business partners need to rapidly prototype a design concept, they can make use of shared 3D printers, bookable online or through the d3 app. Immediate photo shoot required? No problem, business partners can access professional lighting and photography equipment in a perfect environment.

At the end of a productive day, d3 residents can unplug their electric car and head back home knowing they have had a time-efficient, cost-effective, and nature-friendly work day; as soon as they leave their office, d3’s Smart office will put their printer in sleep mode, dim the lights, scale back the cooling and position the building’s elevators at optimal positions to conserve energy.

What does the future look like at d3?
Our vision is for d3 to lie at the very heart of the Arab world’s design scene. It should be a place where all of the world’s leading creative talent and brands want to be - and a place where emerging regional talent goes to be inspired. Ultimately, we want d3 to be recognised alongside the world’s best known creative hubs, and we want to give the substantial talent there is in this region the global recognition it deserves. d3 will be a thriving hub of creativity, a destination dedicated to design and a tourist hub.

By 2018, d3 will go live with Phase 2 of the project, a one million square foot Creative Community, which will act as the site’s cultural epicenter, inspiring emerging designers and artists, and attracting tourists to the area. By 2021, Phase 3 of d3 will boast a bustling Waterfront, a 1.8km esplanade running alongside the Dubai Creek, with international and design-led hotels, boutique retail concept stores and an outdoor events space, as well as a host of hospitality and leisure facilities.

In the future, we see d3 as an international design hub, which nurtures local emerging talent and provides an international platform for established brands. It will be one of Dubai’s key lifestyle districts, with unique retail outlets, original and world-class F&B concepts and individual hotels to attract distinguished travelers. 


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