As part of the ‘Smart Cities Global Network’ initiative, Smart Dubai held its first in a series of networking events titled ‘Smart Talks’, organised in collaboration with the Swedish Trade and Invest Council of Business Sweden, at its headquarters on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. The inaugural event explored the concept and prospects of a cashless society and was organised on the back of an MoU Smart Dubai signed with Business Sweden in February 2018, which seeks to encourage cooperation and knowledge exchange between the UAE and the Kingdom of Sweden with regards to advanced technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai, addressed attendees in the opening ceremony, as did H.E. Henrik Landerholm, Ambassador of Sweden to the UAE and H.E. Massoud Biouki, Trade Commissioner of Sweden to the UAE. Smart Dubai’s Smart Cities Global Network is the largest international network of smart city stakeholders, bringing together partners involved in advanced technology, Fourth Industrial Revolution breakthroughs, smart living and spreading happiness in the community with tech-enabled, human-centric services. The network has so far enlisted more than 300 members and has representatives from governments, the private sector, research centres, academic institutes and the media.
“We are here to explore the concept of a cashless society and who better to look towards in this regard than Sweden. The Nordic country has become synonymous with cashless transactions and is well on its way to becoming the world’s first completely cashless society by March 2023. Dubai and the UAE have their own ambitions for a cashless society and these aspirations have been expedited as Dubai rapidly transforms into a full-fledged smart city” said H.E. Dr Aisha.
“At Smart Dubai we are committed to strengthening cooperation with all stakeholders to develop advanced services and support Dubai’s smart-city transformation. With this in mind, we signed a partnership agreement with Business Sweden in February of 2018 to encourage cooperation and the exchange of expertise between our two organisations,” Dr Aisha noted, adding that the joint event represented a milestone on the two organisations’ shared smart transformation journey.
The first event in the Smart Talks series included a keynote speech titled ‘Nordic Tales from a Cashless Society’ delivered by Stig Johansson, current Chief Strategy Officer of Svea Ekonomi and a Board Member of The Swedish Fintech Association, who took the audience through Sweden’s journey to becoming the first cashless society in the world.
Following the keynote, three presentations were given by prominent Swedish companies representing the Fintech sector: TishaPay, that delivers innovative solutions that cater to cashless payment services; norbloc, the innovative blockchain-based KYC solution provider and Verisec, a leading provider for digital identification solutions.
The cashless society joint event concluded with an interactive panel discussion that explored the different angles of a coherent cashless society taking into account the governance structure that could support a cashless agenda; the infrastructures and technologies needed for a cashless transformation and the future challenges and opportunities within cashless societies.
The panel was a diverse one, comprising of representatives from the government, Fintech and banking sectors, including: Naimish Shah, Head of Innovation and R&D at Emirates NBD; Stig Johansson, Chief Strategy Officer of Svea Ekonomi; Tajinder Singh, CEO & Co-Founder of TishaPay; Ian Norville, MENA head of norbloc and Dr. Sohail Munir, Advisor on Emerging Technologies at Smart Dubai. The discussion was moderated by Omar Almajali, project manager at Smart Dubai’s Strategy & Emerging Technologies team.