[SPEAKER] EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: YOUNUS AL NASSER. SMART DUBAI OFFICE, UAE

For this new BIGIT Blog series, we feature our Speakers – industry experts from around the world, as they share their insights on the ongoing challenges, future opportunities and growth potential of Big Data in the South East Asia (SEA). Read on to get a sneak preview of their presentation for the upcoming BIGIT Technology Malaysia 2016 and a fun trivia about them too.:)

This week, we usher in Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General from Smart Dubai Office, UAE, as he lets us in on his featured project and enlightened us with his views on the future of Big Data in SEA and how his team is working on pioneering the first true Data Economy.

Exclusive INTERVIEW (7)

BIGIT Team (BT): What is your current position and can you share with us a brief overview of what it is you do in your work at the Smart Dubai Office, UAE?

Younus Al Nasser (YAN): I am the Assistant Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, guiding Dubai’s citywide effort to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest city by 2017. I am also the CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, the data and insights arm of Smart Dubai. The Dubai Data Establishment is the leader of the Dubai Data initiative: responsible for the implementation of the Dubai Data Law; cultivating a culture of data sharing in the city; and stimulating a new data economy. Prior to the formation of the Dubai Data Establishment, I was a member of the Open Data Committee, which was formed in November 2014 with a mandate to deliver the Dubai Data Strategy, Dubai Data Road Map and Dubai Data Law.

BT: What is the featured initiative/project that you are currently working on? Share with us a brief overview of it.

YAN: Currently the Dubai Data Establishment is focused on the implementation of the Dubai Data Law. Working closely with a pioneering group of public sector entities, the Dubai Data Establishment is defining the data standards and privacy policy in preparation of the opening and sharing of city data.

The Dubai Data Establishment is also building a Primary Registry of the most valuable data for Dubai, creating a single-source for data to increase efficiency and smooth data-sharing between entities. The Primary Registry will become an important resource of the city, and will lead to the implementation of a “onceonly” policy for government departments — meaning that the government is only allowed to ask once for essential documents, such as passports and residency visas. Policies such as this, which stem from seamless data sharing between entities, will lead to immense benefits for the city: both in terms of quality of life and efficiency.

All Dubai Data will be accessible through the Dubai Data Portal, which will be fueled by the Smart Dubai Platform, the digital backbone of our smart city transformation. The Smart Dubai Platform will unite city infrastructure; data orchestration; enabling services and applications for the city.

BT: What are your thoughts on the progress of Big Data in the SEA region and what are the potentials that Big Data can bring?

YAN: The appetite for data in South East Asia is growing. As smart city initiatives take hold, led by pioneering cities like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the need for a comprehensive approach to data will continue to grow. Data is the fuel of smart cities. It is our hope that Dubai will be looked to as a benchmark for citywide data initiatives. I look forward to sharing our experiences at the BIGIT Malaysia conference. It will be a great opportunity to learn from and share with our peers in this field.

There are enormous potentials in Big Data to benefit everyone, not just corporations or governments. The insights that are made available from data that is open, shared and analysed, will impact all aspects of city life. Beyond governance and decision-making, insights from data can and will stimulate the economy; create new opportunities for entrepreneurs; contribute to a cleaner environment; support individual’s health; reduce congestion; and benefit education — leading to a better city experience for everyone.

BT: What are some of the key issues of Big Data in the industry?

YAN: Most people will say the privacy and security are the biggest issues of Big Data. However at the Dubai Data Establishment security is one of the focal points of our entire implementation and decision making process. Privacy and security have been a key focus since day one. Data will be anonymised according to a robust privacy & confidentiality protection schema. Individual privacy and data security is our highest priority.

There is a second issue which is facing Big Data, particularly at the city level. We need to develop the knowledge capacity in our workforce to be able leverage Big Data, to make the most out of insights that are sometimes buried deep within these massive data sets. One of the main focuses of the Dubai Data Establishment will be to build our skill base for data insights and analysis. Our aim is to make Dubai a regional capital for data science.

BT: What are the next stages after Big Data?

YAN: The Dubai Data Establishment is leading a comprehensive data initiative that spans all categories of data: open data, shared data, big data and rich data. We have set an ambitious target for compliance in the government sector, with an aim of 100% compliance within the next five years.

But we are not only looking at the public sector: our ambitious vision spans the private sector as well. We are actively working on pioneering the first true Data Economy, with the public and private sector engaged in the exchange of data in accordance with its value and benefit for the city.

BT: Can you give us a preview of your presentation at BIGIT Technology Malaysia 2016?

YAN: At BIGIT Technology Malaysia 2016 I will discuss the formation of the Dubai Data Establishment, its core duties and the obligations of partner government entities. I will also explain how the Dubai Data Initiative will fuel the Smart Dubai Platform which will in turn power the Dubai Data Portal – the city’s single entry point to Dubai Data having a collection of the city’s most impactful data.

BT: What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your career?

YAN: Dream high, stretch your objectives, be ambitious of the future and grasp opportunities.


Read more on Younus Al Nasser’s profile here.

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Any questions? Send them over to enquiry@bigittechnology.com.

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