Smart city technology is setting the stage for the future of tourism, transforming the way travelers experience new places and making cities more comfortable, eco-friendly, and secure. Forward-thinking countries are including smart tourism in their digitalization strategies, turning it into a competitive differentiator to establish themselves as the world’s top smart city destinations.
In partnership with a European digital transformation company, Intellias is implementing a revolutionary state-backed urban development initiative to create a world-class city of the future in the Middle East. The emerging digital city is being built on the principles of high-tech innovation, environmental sustainability, and exceptional livability.
Smart city strategies start with people, not technology. “Smartness” is about using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life. Using the current generation of smart city applications effectively could help cities make significant progress toward meeting 70% of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Following the national vision to transform one of the country’s regions into a futuristic global hub powered by 100% renewable energy, the government initiated a series of smart city development projects to drive digital acceleration of this strategic location. Sitting at a crossroads of the world’s trade and travel routes, the region connects world-leading business and tourism centers and is home to scenic landscapes, waterways and ports, diverse commercial activities, and must-see tourist attractions.
One of the biggest challenges of the government’s smart city initiative lay in building intelligent, connected infrastructure to provide effective management of the region’s operations, create a sustainable living environment, and offer unmatched tourist experiences. The multinational tech company in charge of implementing the smart city infrastructure teamed up with Intellias since our exceptional technology expertise was the right fit for the project.
Together, we are building a digital ecosystem of smart city solutions and services for tourism, outdoor entertainment, environmental protection, digital identity access, and more. One of the projects we are working on is developing an AR-driven travel app that guides visitors in exploring the region’s landmarks, creating immersive and enriching smart city experiences.
From day one, Intellias assembled senior engineers for the project team who took over the entire delivery process, from solution vision and MVP to full product implementation and integration with the unified user access platform. We built a strong and productive team culture, allowing us to move fast with product development and rollout.
MVP in under 3 months
Our initial task was to build from scratch a competitive and scalable MVP for a self-guided AR hiking app with interactive routing, virtual archeology features, and suggestions for natural points of interest (PoIs). As a team, we assessed requirements, shaped the solution vision, and outlined a product delivery roadmap.
Working in three streams — frontend, backend, and mobile development — we released a functional MVP in less than three months. Our engineers implemented satellite maps and navigation through trails, with hiking routes created and managed via the back office. We also built an independent map service due to the limited and inaccurate work of Google Maps in the region. The app was tested by a team of GIS engineers on-site in real-life conditions in the desert and canyons.
Full-fledged product development
After the MVP successfully entered the market, our team proceeded with end-to-end development of a full version of the application, covering requirements specifications, product ownership, solution architecture, software implementation, and testing.
With the rapid development of the region and a growing number of tourist hotspots on the map, the product’s concept has shifted from a guide for travelers to a comprehensive tourist service. As new sights of interest, sports facilities, resort venues, and events emerge in the area, we are scaling and enriching the solution with new features to provide high-quality services to tourists.
The application has become a one-stop platform for tourists, offering a whole package of services including guided city and desert tours, hotel and villa booking, scheduling for offline events and sports competitions, leisure activities, car and yacht rentals, healthcare, payments, and more.
The app’s AR features offer rich and interactive exploration experiences, providing hints about must-visit PoIs, AR archeology with visualizations of historical sites and artifacts, and safe route navigation for hiking, climbing, and mountaineering.
In addition to being a go-to tool for tourists, the smart city solution that we’re developing is also widely used by local residents and business visitors. Depending on the user’s type and location, the application offers best-fitting options, categories, and services. Users can also switch between user types to accommodate their current needs and future plans.
Business and global impact
Smart city technology holds the key to tourism of the future, making cities more livable and explorable while creating unforgettable, world-class tourist experiences. As governments and municipalities worldwide look to embark on smart city initiatives, their digital transformation strategies must start with building robust digital infrastructure as the foundation for sustainable smart city development.
Intellias has been helping our client grow the ecosystem of smart city solutions for the entire region to become a premier global tourism hub. Our strong technology expertise has been the key ingredient in the project’s success, providing a competitive edge to our client and ensuring continued growth of connected city infrastructure.
As the region is now on the fast track to becoming an Olympic sports powerhouse, Intellias keeps contributing to the country’s growing transformation momentum. By building top-notch digital services, we’re supporting the national vision to create a sustainable quality of life, win a new generation of digitally savvy tourists, achieve higher efficiency in city functions, and cement the region’s status as a smart city of the future.
months for MVP, from A to Z
degree view of city operations