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Six new and updated websites, 13 smart applications and an array of digital services have been launched at Gitex 2017 by Sharjah’s Department of eGovernment (DeG).
The prime purpose of all this making life more convenient for residents of the emirate, according to Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, director general at Sharjah DeG.
“Our Vision 2021 objectives to transform Sharjah into a smart city are intended to make life more convenient for the residents. We want to streamline all of our government services through the use of new digital platforms and disruptive technologies,” he said.
Al Qasimi added that a digital transformation committee was launched a month before Gitex 2017 to oversee the advancement of the emirate’s objectives.
The plan aims to improve Sharjah’s stature as a regional magnet, enhance the quality of life for residents, increase the emirate’s competitive advantages, and assist its planned regional and global integration.
“The Digital Transformation Committee will work with departments and individually assess their requirements and their timeframe for implementation objectives to ensure that no one is left behind,” said Al Qasimi.
The collaborative approach to Gitex on the Government of Sharjah stand is representative of the way the wider United Arab Emirates (UAE) is tackling the changes required to provide 21st century services to its citizens.
“The decision was made that Sharjah needs to be present at Gitex as one organisation – we have 48 departments under the same umbrella here,” said Al Qasimi.
“The reason it’s important is because all seven of the emirates are undergoing the transformation as part of our vision criteria, and being part of this great nation there are obligations we have, to transform the way that we use technology to enhance the services we provide to the public.”
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As such, the digital transformation committee will oversee government entities’ adherence to objectives that have been set out by the federal government, according to certain key performance indicators (KPIs) in terms of health, education and business.
“But the ruler of Sharjah also wants the residents to live a very easy life when it comes to interaction with the government and its various entities. What we want to do is transform the services and overhaul the status quo,” added Al-Qasimi.
“We want to give our citizens things they don’t even realise they need, such as the Chat Bot app, a virtual assistant based on artificial intelligence that is deployed on all government systems to interact with members of the public and help them resolve their queries and finish their transactions quickly.”
One of the most interesting announcements this week from Sharjah DeG was the launch of the Customs Department on Wheels, a mobile customs office that goes where it is needed in the emirate.
“If you need to interact with the customs department, you don’t need to go down to the offices, it can come to you and sort out whatever inspections and paperwork needs to be done,” said Al Qasimi. “Again, it’s all about making life more convenient for the residents of Sharjah.”