Smart city design contract awarded for Saudi Arabia's 700ha Al Widyan

Smart city design contract awarded for Saudi Arabia's 700ha Al Widyan
A smart city consulting contract has been signed for Saudi Arabia's 700ha Al Widyan project.
Published: 5 February 2019 - 11:30 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

Listed Saudi Arabian property developer Al Widyan Saudi Real Estate Co has contracted Orange Business Services to deliver an ‘unobtrusive’ smart city model for its 700ha Al Widyan project in Riyadh.

As part of the contract, Orange will “define smart city services”, information communication technology engineering guidelines, the project’s operating model, and a business strategy for an open access network.

Developer Al Widyan Co is part of Al Akaria Saudi Real Estate Co (Sreco), in which the kingdom’s Crown Prince-led Public Investment Fund holds a two-thirds stake. Al Widyan’s construction plan was unveiled in August 2018, and in September the same year, contractor Binyah was awarded a $292m (SAR1.1bn) infrastructure contract for the scheme.

Al Widyan’s eponymous mixed-use development will be delivered through a phased model spanning seven years, and has been created in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals, one of which is to be the home of the three of the world’s top 100 cities.

Al Widyan will unobtrusively incorporate advanced technology to provide a sustainable and high quality of life.

The mega-development is located 15 minutes away from King Khalid International Airport, and will be accessible to eight million people. These residents, employees, and visitors are expected to benefit from Orange’s plans to develop Al Widyan as a smart city.

In a statement shared with Construction Week, Orange said it would focus on the typical aspects of a smart city digital masterplan, which covers “a range of seamlessly integrated solutions for businesses”, in addition to “city management systems, traffic and mobility solutions, [and] building and utilities management, as well as shared information and other services across a community-wide platform”.

Al Widyan Co’s deputy chief executive officer, Dr Khalid Alarfaj, said Orange was picked to deliver smart city services, in part, due to its “global experience in intelligent cities”.

Alarfaj added: “The ambition, scale, and speed of major infrastructure projects can present a challenge, and we needed a trusted partner to ensure that intelligence was built into this new smart development at the outset.”

Orange Business Services Saudi Arabia’s managing director, Mohammad AlOtaibi, said the company’s contract win reiterated the company’s track record with regional smart city developments, with its kingdom portfolio alone comprising The Digital City – ITCC; The Royal Commission at Yanbu; King Abdullah Financial District; King Abdul Aziz Road; and Jeddah Economic City, home of the 1km-tall Jeddah Tower.

Saudi Arabia is a global centre for innovative smart city developments, and Al Widyan will unobtrusively incorporate advanced technology to provide a sustainable and high quality of life and experiences for its residents, visitors, and businesses,” AlOtaibi continued.

“The scale of developments [in Saudi Arabia] is ambitious and matched by the vision, leadership, and resources required for success. These developments demand new business models and new thinking.”

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