NEOM, Saudi Arabia's $500 Billion Mega City. Photo: NeoScribe/YouTube.
NEOM Co., an accelerator of human progress and a vision of what a New Future might look like, announced its first step to create the world’s leading cognitive cities that rely on leading technology for digital services after signing a contract with stc group to establish a 5G network infrastructure that will accelerate NEOM’s digital ambitions.
In addition to the one-year contract to develop the network, the partnership also includes the development of an innovation center in NEOM to explore new 5G opportunities.
Cognitive Cities in NEOM
NEOM is a region in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea being built from the ground up as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship will chart the course for this New Future.
NEOM, a bold and audacious mega-city project, is touted will be a destination and a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for exceptional livability, creating thriving businesses, and reinventing environmental conservation.
NEOM will be the home and workplace to more than a million residents from around the world. It will include hyperconnected, cognitive towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations.
As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate and commercialize new technologies and enterprises in ground-breaking ways.
If all goes according to plan, residents of NEOM will reportedly embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity - all supported by a progressive law compatible with international norms and conducive to economic growth.
NEOM’s next generation cognitive cities will support its cutting-edge urban environments, improving the lives of residents and businesses far beyond the capabilities of today’s smart cities. This partnership with stc is geared towards that end.
NEOM – stc Partnership
As part of the partnership with stc, NEOM will use one of the most advanced 5G technology in the world, to enable the proactive exchange and analysis of data between NEOM residents and city infrastructure. stc will build a wireless 5G network enabling present and future 5G applications across NEOM.
With a speed and capacity 10 times higher than standard 4G networks, 5G in NEOM will enable numerous segments such as Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, virtual reality, augmented reality, smart homes, and autonomous vehicles. It will also provide the public safety network for NEOM security services.
Cognitive Cities Expand the Concept of Smart Cities
According to Finger, Matthias & Portmann, Edy. (2016) in their book What Are Cognitive Cities?, “‘Smart city’ as a concept is an appropriate and valuable answer to the efficiency challenges modern cities are facing today. Its epistemic foundations, however, ...lead to a very traditional and mostly technocratic view of urban management and government. Yet, the new urban challenges cannot be addressed solely by ways of increased efficiency.
These challenges also—and probably mostly so—pertain to sustainability and resilience, requiring new and innovative approaches to urban governance. Such approaches will have to involve the “human factor”, [which include] cognition, creativity along with the ability to learn so as to be able to deal with disruptive changes (resilience).”
Based on advances in cognitive computing, cognitive cities expand the concept of smart cities through the introduction of cognition and learning. In a cognitive city, humans and cognitive systems learn from and with each other, and they mutually influence and change each other.
The vision of cognitive cities powered by the intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and grounded in cognition and learning for the sustainable development of cities that will ‘learn’ from their ecosystems and evolving contexts, has gained traction and a range of cognitive cities initiatives are emerging across the world. The partnership between NEOM and stc. is another effort taking this visio forward.
Commenting on the agreement, NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr said:
“We are glad to form this partnership with a leading national digital enabler such as stc to support our ambition and goal to be an accelerator of human progress and to create the world’s leading digitally sustainable, cognitive cities.
NEOM’s infrastructure will utilize AI, robotics, and human-machine fusion to deliver greater predictive intelligence and enable faster decision making across all NEOM sectors.
The procurement and deployment of a future-proof wireless network is a critical first for NEOM in realizing our goal of driving innovation in the future digital economy.”
The CEO of stc Group, Eng. Nasser bin Sulaiman Al Nasser, added:
“This agreement reflects stc’s commitment to enabling digital transformation and providing digital solutions across the Kingdom. We are proud to have been chosen to build the infrastructure for the 5G network and an innovation centre in NEOM - the land of the future and a model for sustainability, innovation, development, and prosperity.
This agreement comes in line with stc’s vision as a digital enabler to develop infrastructure and provide the latest technologies that will enrich the experience of societies and foster innovation, which in turn will contribute to improve the customer experience and moving the digital transformation forward."
NEOM will also trial and test 5G solutions that will allow it to lead in fast-growing, future-focused sectors such as robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and human machine interface technologies. Leveraging such technology will open up the enormous potential of NEOM as a new economic driver across a range of industry sectors for the Kingdom.