Smart Dubai is an ambitious technology-powered transformation project that strives to improve the lives of the city-state residents. The project has announced that it will make a considerable investment on the world’s first open, decentralized data architecture. It aims to unlock and democratize value from data in partnership with Outlier Ventures and a novel vision of convergence.
This move will see the launch of a Dubai Decentralized Data sandbox. The sandbox is designed to let innovators work in a rapid prototyping environment to develop new ways of organizing, interfacing, and acquiring insights, value, and happiness from Dubai’s data lake. The most recent report by Smart Dubai and Outlier Ventures highlights these characteristics of smart cities.
This ambitious project acknowledges that data is the world’s first limitless asset. It is the only latest major technology initiative that the emirate’s digital transformation leadership has launched. Designing excellent methods of organizing data using decentralized structures can enable Dubai to accelerate its digital transformation journey. When implemented successfully, it will make Dubai rank among the most innovative and secure cities in the world.
Based on the current technology standards for monetizing and organizing data, the derived value tends to be one-sided. In most cases, the value falls in the hands of highly centralized systems or legacy operators. That makes legacy systems more vulnerable to cyber threats like the incident of Equifax’s massive data breach. Criminals target these centralized structures since they are veritable ‘honey pots’ of precious personal information.
That breach of institutional trust, data, and privacy made a compelling argument for the need for self-sovereign digital identities. That pushed the boundaries to what stakeholders in the cryptosphere refer to as Web 3.0. The investment thesis behind Outlier Ventures, Web 3.0, favors a more decentralized data architecture that is secure, trustworthy, and efficient. Value will also accumulate in a networked manner.
The Chief Executive Officer, Smart Dubai Data, and Assistant Director-General, Smart Dubai, Younus Al Nasser, believes that cities like Dubai are perfectly located to enable stakeholders strike the right balance between centrally controlled data and dispersed models. He also said that the project intends to move carefully towards a future where open data repositories like the Dubai Pulse Platform Data will integrate with decentralized technologies like blockchain.
The repositories will also integrate with ‘digital agents/representatives’ and open data marketplaces to provide data to those who will develop genuine economic and societal value from it. Some of the Outlier Ventures portfolio companies participating in this initiative point towards the directions Dubai’s decentralized data project will move to.
Outlier’s solution to self-sovereign identity systems, Sovrin Network, will join Fetch.AI and Ocean Protocol in the open data sandbox. The sandbox is designed to address issues of interoperability and friction between data systems. The interconnected model, Convergence Stack, enables the deployment of top quality technologies like Artificial Intelligence and blockchain. The technology cuts through informational silos that inhibit breakthrough transformation.
The Outlier Ventures CEO, Jamie Burke, thinks that the current web has evolved in a direction and rate that its developers did not expect. It has become an economic model that seems unsustainable and currently holds back innovation. Thus, Smart Dubai has taken a bold move in the Decentralized Data for Dubai model showing its belief in the possibility of open data that can unleash societal and economic value.
Outlier believes that the Convergence Stack will rapidly accelerate the adoption of Web 3.0. That will make data usable by more participants enabling innovation to flourish. In turn, it will create economic value throughout the data ecosystem.
The launch of this sandbox will solve a series of hackathons and other challenges. Therefore, firms will get an opportunity to work in conjunction with Smart Dubai and other stakeholders to eliminate real world challenges and explore opportunities. All this is possible while operating within the confines and operational safety of a digital sandbox.
The prevalence of sandboxes and innovation hubs in this way has started to appear around the world. City-states like Dubai and small islands like Bermuda have proven to be the best locations for this co-creation strategy. New strands of value and data obtained from the world’s data lakes may prove to be the biggest stranded assets worldwide despite the recurrent challenges with governance and data valuation.
Now, enterprise blockchain investments including technology majors like Oracle have started to see the connection between blockchain and traditionally walled-off data repositories. Nowhere else is this more evident than in the information and data that governments throughout the world store on their citizens. The decentralized technologies will come in handy in the eradication of imperialism around the world.
These data sources will be buffered from other government services and functions. The buffering places a heavy burden of proof and trust on the citizen to determine their identity. The citizens will also have to determine the city or government service that they require. In the end, they will have to validate the legitimacy of all their claims whenever required.
This leads to the slow, bureaucratic process that is quite dominant in the provision of a majority of citizen services worldwide. By the current standards, there is almost nothing that governments can do to break the mold of the Dubai-styled digital transformation.
The futuristic smart cities will embark on implementing this model of rapid prototyping precisely. The rapid implementation is what Outlier Ventures and Smart Dubai are calling for in the latest report.