It seems that there is no place as determined to develop towards the future as Dubai. The list of large scale projects that were seemingly unimaginable, but were brought to fruition is quite impressive. Their will and determination have driven them past every obstacle, the only question is what is next? Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council announced that all Dubai Government departments will stop using paper documents by the year 2021. Think about ecology, think about waste, but also about time and money spent on complicated bureaucratic transactions and you might find the reasons behind this decision.
The first image that appears in your head – administrative and bureaucratic offices floated with documents, files and folders. Paper documents were the irresistible chaotic element of every office and governmental institution in the world. The fact is that with the use of computers, paperwork become obvious unnecessary double, but for some reason it also seemed unavoidable part of bureaucracy. So, the news that the last paper will be issued in 2012 is just another revolutionary and visionary tendency coming from Dubai. It actually means that all transactions will become digital, and that should finally save time for everyone involved in the process of paperwork.
Paper free government is part of the wider platform called Smart Dubai, the ambitious project that will host all the emirate’s data. It will be implemented in couple of phases, the first of which has already begun in 2015 when all bills and other essential transactions were transferred online. Other phases include compiling data, analyzing data and serving government agencies in an adequate way. Digitization of paper documents seemed inevitable for a long time. Old institutions seemed inefficient and slow. The fact is that implementation of the new system will take time and bring new challenges, but the determination to solve all the obstacles should make it finally possible.
This information revolution would save 25 million work hours annually and cut almost 100 million paper transactions. Not to mention time wasted by citizens in their attempts to provide documents they need. The goal is clear. And as Sheikh Hamdan said: “We are looking to build a truly smart city, one that will use technology as the key to a balanced and happy life.” We might miss the smell of dusty offices full of piles of paper. Or maybe not.