Our first Design Forum in Dubai during the Dubai Design Week explored the concept of “The connected city”. Architects, designers, developers, and project owners joined us and our media partner Sleeper Magazine at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City, in Dubai.
Paul Hollingworth, our managing director for EMEA, introduced the well-known speakers: Nasser Turk, Regional Design Manager for the Middle East and Africa at WATG and Wimberly Interiors, Khalifa Al Zeraim Al Suwaidi, CEO and a Board Member of Emirates Real Estate Solutions, Isabel Pintado, senior vice president and managing director of Wilson Associates Dubai, Mark Bickerstaffe, our Director of New Product Development, Kitchen & Bath Europe & Asia Pacific, and the moderator for the evening: Guy Dittrich, journalist and Editor-at-large at Sleeper Magazine.
Guy introduced the topic and kicked-off the presentations and led through the panel discussion. The global nomads Khalifa, Nasser, Isabel, and Mark kidnapped the audience and took them on a journey peeking into the not-too-distant future.
The Design Forum guests got a glimpse where connectivity in cities is taking us. Enhancing the experience of the traveler – the global nomad – through new technologies is the main purpose. To be connected everywhere, anywhere and with anyone.
Planning these smart cities takes an urban design master plan view. Over time, consumers will see their city and especially the public spaces becoming a “living room” in their own right.
However, informed consumers will also be looking for data and information transparency to make their own good decisions about their lifestyles. These insights and smart services are available for businesses today, especially in Dubai.
Along the same lines as smart public places, the hospitality sector, a semi-public zone, zooms in on the integration of technologies in its properties. When entering a hotel guests often cannot see technology because it is cleverly hidden, but through an excellent guest experience, they learn to appreciate it. This allows people to experience these new technologies even before they have to buy them.
The same trend of new technologies and more connectivity is also apparent in our homes – from living room, to kitchen and into the bathrooms. Smart technology to connect products and applications and to give feedback about relevant data will enhance the living experience.
Some of the technologies shown or concepts touched upon during the forum still seem far away. But they will catch up with us soon and to have the awareness of what is coming our way will resonate when it is upon us. It is an advantage to approach these opportunities and interact with new technologies from an early phase.
Companies working in this space tackle the challenge to find the right balance of new technologies to assist our convenience and limiting the intrusion of our private lives.