Even more impressive than the Red Sea Development project , the Saudi Giga Neom concept was unveiled five years ago , on the occasion of the Future Investment Initiative 2017, in Riyadh.
When Prince MBS illustrated the Giga project from the stage, in his role as President of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Board of Directors of the NEOM company, many were struck by his words and inspired tones. Someone was also reminded of Steve Jobs during his famous speeches! The prince, hieratic in his immaculate traditional Saudi costume, said that Neom would be the “destination of the dreamers of the future”. Where the brightest minds in the world will be at work to create a city in which the quality of human life would be an absolute priority, thus establishing a new harmony between man, environment, innovation, technology, industrialization, sustainability …
Neom – first Cognitive Meta City in Saudi Arabia
The words of MBS have been taken up and expanded by the various CEOs and super managers who have alternated within the project for different roles and in various sectors since then. Joseph Bradley, current CEO of Neom Tech and Digital Co., is an “Applied Futurist, Author and Cognitive City Developer”.
It is his definition of Neom as the first Cognitive Meta City in Saudi Arabia, where the concept of a smart city now appears to be largely superseded. Indeed, Neom will have a sophisticated 3D platform, favoring mixed virtual reality, “powered by data and artificial intelligence to interact with residents” in all their activities, from home, social and working life. Artificial intelligence will guide the path of optimizing services to citizens and businesses, ranging from safety to public transport control to waste management. In addition, monitoring human health and healthcare, and predictive maintenance of structures and infrastructures can provide a wide range of applications, including managing essential resources such as energy and water.
Neom – the city where Technology & Humanism come together, will it be an exportable model?
From the union between Technology and Humanism, Saudi Arabia, therefore, expects to create a prototype of a city where the quality of life and safety of citizens will be at the center of everything: Neom wants to establish a new urban quality standard, a model to which the rest of the world will watch. As Giovanna Carnevali, urban planning executive Director, explains, the concept behind this new city is: ” to urbanize as less as possible and to enhance the Nature”.
The XVRS platform, which will underlie all functions and services in Neom, was officially announced last February in Riyadh, during LEAP 2022. LEAP is the first edition of a forum that aims to be the meeting point between the largest international TECH groups and Saudi protagonists with it’s technological future.
XVRS is the result of an important investment by Neom Tech & Digital Co. and will be tested in Neom. After that, it can be purchased by other companies or cities that want to adopt the Saudi model of “Technological Humanism”, to implement functions and services, through a series of tailor-made assets.
Despite doubts and objections the project raises towards residents’ privacy rights, the expectations for its realization are very high. It will therefore be an experiment that will be followed with great interest.
Neom – the Giga project that will propose the solution to thirst in the world
Talking about the numerous and amazing anticipations about Neom’s innovations will let you enter the dystopian world of some of the most recent movies inspired by the cities of the future, such as “Her” all the way to “Minority Report”: No cars, urban mobility shifted to an underground level of the city ( The Line) with vehicles that travel off the ground, ultra-fast and with zero impact; a system of vertical public mobility entrusted to incredible, small helicopters; robots that will populate the city and perform many tasks, such as domestic help; millions of Neomians fed with food produced at 0 Km in imposing vertical greenhouses; 100 million trees planted to rehabilitate 1.5 million hectares in one of the driest and most desolate areas of the Arabian Peninsula; up to an artificial moon that appears every night and luminescent sandy beaches …
But all this is nothing in the face of solving the problem of problems: water!
Neom – let there be light!
Enowa , the Neom subsidiary created in 2022 to “accelerate the development of an intelligent, world-class and interconnected system to produce energy and water”, has just finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japanese ITOCHU and the French giant Veolia , a global leader in water services. Not much is known about the details of the technologies that will be employed, but the promise is that it will be a one-of-a-kind seawater desalination system, powered by 100% renewable energy (solar and wind). It will be built in Exagon, the industrial and port city of Neom. It will provide (as early as 2023) pure drinking water for millions of Neonians and for all their activities (including agriculture!), reusing any production waste. All this will take place with zero impact processes.
Neom – a circular economy model
The production of renewable energy that powers the desalination of seawater, together with the already launched project for the production of Green Hydrogen in partnership with Saudi Arabia ACWA Power and Air Products, are the cornerstones of the circular economy that is to be achieved in Neom, and which could be an example of possible solutions to the crucial problems of the world and of this region in particular.
Neom is a great experimentation laboratory for the future, let’s all cheer for what this project represents!!