Ushering in an era of innovation with smart lamp posts and parking system

HIGH-TECH lamp posts equipped with Wi-Fi and smart vehicle payment systems are just some advances coming soon to Bahrain.

Innovations in the private and public sectors were discussed yesterday at the fourth edition of the Bahrain Smart Cities Summit.

Among those showcasing latest developments was VIVA Bahrain, which revealed new advances in smart parking, smart lights and smart security.

It hopes to roll out its smart vehicle technology at locations including King Fahad Causeway, saying its automated payment solutions could significantly cut commute times on the border.

The system is based on an ability to recognise vehicles and automatically charge drivers for accessing car parks and other facilities.

“You can link it to other databases,” explained VIVA Bahrain pre-sales specialist Ahmed Tarrada.

“You can have a payment system so, if you want, when you enter your car will be scanned and it will say on the application what time you checked in and when you leave.

“It can have multiple payment options and you can have automated payment, if you link it with a wallet.

“We pitched the project with King Fahad Causeway to integrate this, so it will cut the trip time by at least 40 minutes. You don’t have to wait or go pay.

“Being a Saudi-owned company, I think we have a shot.”

VIVA Bahrain is best known for its telecoms services, but it has already entered the FinTech space with its digital wallet VIVA Cash.

It is also looking at other opportunities in the technology space, including smart lighting systems that incorporate Wi-Fi services.

“The smart light is a solution that you can implement in public areas like gardens, public parks, golf courses even,” said Mr Tarrada.

“It has a screen which can show advertising or messages to everybody.

“It has high calibre LED lights, you can integrate a Wi-Fi access point as well which gives you coverage for that public area.

“It comes with a panic button and a charging station as well for cars or golf carts – and you can connect a camera there too.

“It’s an all-purpose lamp post, so if you have a nice park you can have multiple ones all around and it can help with Wi-Fi, public messages, you can push whatever content you want on the screen and we provide these to any company that wants to use them.

“You also have a standard CCTV solution with a bit more extra bells and whistles.

“For example, if you’re taking a video of something but you don’t have the permission to show someone’s face, you can just get this system that will automatically blur the faces.

“You can also measure distances between objects and people, all these things help security using this system.”

The Bahrain Smart Cities Summit covered topics such as sustainable energy and intelligent energy saving, intelligent systems for real estate solutions, government and private initiatives for smart cities and smart waste management, as well as applications in FinTech and blockchain.

Exhibitors also included Bahrain University, which showcased its use of blockchain in a verification system that allows employers to swiftly confirm credentials of potential recruits.

The Blockcert system is now being integrated, said College of Information Technology information systems department assistant professor Dr Aisha Bushager.

“Once you select [Bahrain University] as an issuer an invitation will come to you via e-mail with a pass phrase,” she explained.

“Once you enter it will know you are a student of this university. You can see whatever credentials the university has provided you.

“You name it: transcripts, Bachelor’s, postgraduate. For example, the university has given me a Blockcert training credential. I can open it, verify it and share it. It takes less than four seconds for it to be verified.

“We created this international portal for our students, so wherever they go in the world – any employer, any embassy, any university they go to – the student can give them the URL and they can verify everything.”

Accredited files are designed to be both human readable and machine readable, so it can be scanned, copied and printed – meaning former students will never again have to return to a campus to certify their qualifications.

Blockcert is already available for some students and will be rolled out to others over time, with support being sought from the Education Ministry and the Information and eGovernment Authority.

Organised by Smart Way Consulting, the two-day summit continues today at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel under the patronage of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf.



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