From Smart Cities to Smart Destinations: How RSG is Leading the Way
By Ben Bilz, Associate Strategy Director at Red Sea Global (RSG)
As more people populate urban areas, cities around the globe are striving for new concepts that engender happiness, improve quality of life, and increase prosperity. Estimates show that today more than half of the world live in cities, and that this is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Yet, urban areas increasingly face environmental challenges spanning freshwater depletion, air and water pollution, deforestation and food security. There is also a pressing need for solutions that will ease the ever-increasing volume of traffic.
How can this be achieved? Transitioning towards a super-smart, sustainable society, or ‘Society 5.0’ offers hope. But governments and societies cannot manage this on their own. The private sector has an important role to play.
Singapore, Dubai, and Vienna are among the front-runners of smart cities. Each has started their journey by modernizing their traditional setup and services with the help of smart technologies.
As the world comes to understand the potential and the power of smart living, people increasingly demand personalized interactions and services in their day-to-day lives, and it is becoming a determining factor in the appeal of where to live and visit.
Technology with Purpose
A smart destination has proven to be more than a technology implementation project. We have found that cutting-edge technologies and solutions are only one part of what makes a destination smart.
A holistic vision and strategy is needed for true digital transformation – a new way of thinking, implementing, delivering, and operating a destination. By taking a full 360 approach, smart initiatives can be prioritized based on a high-level assessment of their needs and their fit to the destination’s objectives and stakeholders’ requirements.
We have assessed the complex nature of smart initiatives implementation across our vast development area, which includes 33,000 square kilometers of islands, deserts, volcanoes, and canyons, all presenting unique landscape hurdles that we must overcome. For The Red Sea Project’s conceptualization, a portfolio of dozens of smart services ranging across mobility, utilities, environment, logistics, healthcare, education, security, buildings, public space, administration and more was defined. Such diverse landscapes require multiple technologies to be employed simultaneously in order for the entire project to achieve seamless experiences, the highest living standards, and maximum sustainable and environmental improvements.
From the outset, The Red Sea Project has been inspired by key learnings from smart cities worldwide. We asked ourselves: what challenges can be solved by a smart city? How have other cities solved these challenges? Which products and solutions have they implemented? What lessons can be derived and adapted to our destination?
Only after we had created a holistic vision and technology strategy, validated the impact of our initiatives, and understood and learned from other projects, we developed an execution roadmap. Our roadmap was split into several execution waves outlining the timeframe of when a specific smart initiative was best implemented and any dependencies on other initiatives.
In addition, we have established an ecosystem of committed and collaborative partners. We know that strong technology partners are key to attaining our full potential as a smart destination. An ocean of opportunities is waiting to be explored.
A new Siemens Advanta whitepaper outlines five key enabling factors for smart destinations: developing a holistic vision and technology strategy; evaluating impact and finalizing the initiatives execution roadmap; building an ecosystem of partners; developing an integrated technology platform; and starting small, optimizing, and scaling.
The Red Sea Project is included within this whitepaper as a best practice example of a super-smart, sustainable destination - ‘a blueprint for world-wide smart city initiatives’ that is leading the path to a new era of responsible development.
In the same manner, that we learned and benefitted from the knowledge and experience of leading smart city projects, and enterprises, we wish, other smart cities and destination developments can learn and benefit from us.
About Red Sea Global
Red Sea Global (RSG - www.redseaglobal.com) is a closed joint-stockcompany wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
RSG is a global multi-project developer, seeking to lead the worldtowards a more sustainable future, showing how responsible andregenerative development can uplift communities, drive economies, andenhance the environment. The protection of natural capital is central toall development decisions, as the organization seeks to create a betterfuture for all.
A cornerstone of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 ambition to diversify itseconomy, RSG is playing a key role in transforming the nation, bycreating exciting opportunities for young Saudi talent and the privatesector, as it develops built assets and destinations across multiplesectors that make a positive impact for people and planet.
RSG is the visionary company behind some of the world’s most ambitious development ventures, including luxury regenerative tourism destinations such as The Red Sea and AMAALA.
Across its portfolio, RSG leverages the most innovative concepts, strategies, and technologies to deliver projects that actively enhance the wellbeing of customers, communities, and environments.