Dubai taking steps to become a fully digital city through building codes

Municipality aims to emulate cities such as New York by linking municipal services through an electronic building tagging system.

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DUBAI // A new Municipality project is set to turn the emirate into the region’s first complete digital city, it has emerged.

The Quick Response (QR) code system will link municipal services through a single electronic system. The code is an encrypted column that can be read using mobile phones with a built-in camera and tag reader. Users take a photo of the code of required services and the proper procedures will be downloaded on the phone.

Municipality services already available include requests for building permit renewal and request for registration for new contractor. Hundreds more will soon be added, said Hussain Nasser Lootah, the municipality’s director general.

“We are moving strongly towards e-government and the major benefits are [that] it is simple and offers us quick calculations,” he said.

Each building in Dubai will have a QR code by the end of next year that can be scanned to gather required information about their specific locations, projects, field visits and outstanding fines.

The structure’s QR code will also store phone numbers, internet and e-mail addresses with a capacity of up to 4,296 characters. The codes have been implemented in cities such as New York. 

Municipal officials are currently in talks with government departments such as the police, Civil Defence and the Roads and Transport Authority to connect through the codes, said Marwan Ibrahim Nasser, the head of the municipality’s Follow Up Office.

“If someone spots an emergency like a fire and they are unfamiliar with the area, they can scan the QR code of the building and get through to the right emergency service, which will then pick up the details,” said Mr Nasser.