Canadian University Dubai researcher reveals technology needs of smart city infrastructure

May 23rd, 2019: As Dubai presses forward with its 2021 smart city agenda, Canadian University Dubai Assistant Professor, Dr. Moayad Aloqaily, has revealed some of the technological solutions needed to help realise the strategy in a recent academic paper featured in leading industry research publication, the IEEE Communications Magazine.

The paper, entitled, ‘Data and Service Management in Densely Crowded Environments: Challenges, Opportunities and Recent Developments’ explores the issue of managing the transfer, processing and storage of data required for smart technologies to function efficiently, and specifically in the context of congested spaces such as stadiums or metro stations. Its publication in the Magazine, which has an impact factor of 9.27 and has maintained a Q1 ranking for the past 10 years, demonstrates the significance of the research to both academia and industry.

While revealing the huge potential of smart city technology to deliver streamline and sophisticated approaches in the management of everything from transportation and health services, to education and food production, the paper also highlights the demands that the exchange of such volumes of data present on existing cloud technology.

Exploring specific issues in relation to densely populated areas, the paper cites the example of the State Farm Stadium’s hosting of the Super Bowl, where the high demand for data transmission among mobile phone users resulted in network congestion and breakdown. Considering different dimensions of technology, the research reveals how such service interruptions might be avoided in a smart city context.

Dr. Aloqaily explained, “To ensure that data services are always available for end users in crowded environments, we cannot only rely on traditional cloud solutions for storage and applications. Data must be readily available near end users to achieve fast and effective access to data and services.

“One such solution is the replication of data, which is a commonly used technique for distributed systems, where data is stored at multiple storage sites. This could mean end users advertising their data availability and capability for other devices to connect to when their users request access to particular data or services.”

Dr. Aloqaily’s latest insights come following a recent directive issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, to ensure safety standards in the testing of self-driving cars, which are a centrepiece of the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy and a fundamental development towards smart city living.

Reflecting on his research to date Dr. Aloqaily concluded, “While there are a number of approaches that present the potential to overcome the challenge of data availability and proximity, including network slicing and service composition, as well as data replication, what is clear at present is that there is still more research required to create an efficient, reliable and cost-effective service delivery technique for crowded environments.”