Qatar, a breeding ground for technological innovation for European companies!

Are you in the field of technological innovation? Markets are waiting for you!

Qatar has set ambitious technological and environmental goals to join the ranks of “smart cities” that are flourishing around the world. Called “Tasmu”, which means “elevation” in Arabic, the initiative is part of Qatar’s “Vision 2030” led by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Indeed, its position as the world’s largest exporter of natural gas has also earned it the award as the world’s largest per capita emitter of carbon emissions. The project represents an opportunity for Qatar to reverse this trend by establishing itself as a leader in environmentally responsible urban transformation, a cornerstone of the kingdom’s growth objectives.

In addition to adequate financial resources, Doha has the advantage of a fertile ground for innovation: the majority of the infrastructure, built over the last 40 years, is more suitable for technological equipment than some large European cities. The transformation of the urban landscape also meets a logistical need – Doha is home to nearly 2 million people, or 80% of the Qatari population. Faced with this high density, the city has set itself the challenge of taking on the mission of the “smart city”, which consists of “putting technology at the service of the community in order to improve the living conditions of its inhabitants” according to the Ministry. As such, 550 million dollars have already been disbursed by the Ministry of Information and Technological Communications to equip the city with fiber optics and thus guarantee the inhabitants access to high-speed Internet.

MSHEIREB DOWNTOWN: THEATRE OF THE CITY’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The project is mainly centered around the historic Msheireb Downtown district, which covers 32 hectares. Begun in 2010, the restructuring of the neighborhood has transformed it into one of the most environmentally friendly in the world.

The French telecom giant Orange took advantage of this investment to develop a multi-million dollar partnership with its Qatari counterpart Meeza, aiming to provide “the majority of smart applications and services” in the Msheireb district, according to the official statement. Indeed, the Ministry wants to “develop, integrate and monitor its entire infrastructure, including roads, railways, airports, communications, electricity and buildings, in order to optimize resources and maximize services to residents. Orange Business Services is overseeing the installation and development of 500,000 sensors and the accompanying master control center, which will subsequently enable the control of buildings and services equipped with these sensors. The services involved range from video surveillance to automatic waste processing, street lighting, parking and building access. The contract also includes the development of applications for users “in the areas of public services, online payment, energy and navigation”, according to the press release. These advances are evidence of Doha’s digital transformation, which is already well underway.Les transports se sont aussi mis au vert à Doha : une attention particulière a été portée au réseau ferroviaire de la ville en vue de l’accueil de plusieurs millions de visiteurs à l’occasion de la Coupe du Monde de Football 2022. À cet effet, 9 milliards USD – soit 24% du budget annuel – ont été investis par l’état dans le développement de nouvelles mobilités, afin de pallier l’absence quasi-totale de transports publics.

SYNTHESIS

Qatar is a key player in the city of tomorrow. With considerable financial resources, the kingdom is allowing itself innovations that few can afford, such as LEED gold or LEED silver certified buildings that represent an additional cost compared to traditional construction methods. Likewise, the $200 billion invested in the seven stadiums that will host the FIFA event promises to be a real spectacle for fans of new technologies. The kingdom is therefore well on its way to achieving the goals set out in its “Vision 2030”, namely the development of a “hyper-connected, ultra-fast, zero-carbon city”. However, Qatar must revisit its ambitions if concerns about the protection of human rights and the environment within the kingdom continue to overshadow its technological advances.

A PLACE TO TAKE

Companies with expertise in technological innovation enjoy financial and strategic support in Qatar. Where European start-ups have to fight against all odds and curry favor with investors, Qatar is betting on the future of these start-ups and focusing its attention on diversifying its revenues and slowly moving away from its dependence on the emirate’s gas revenues.