RTA launches 'Smart City' apps for Dubai's way forward

RTA - The Road and Transport Authority have launched five new apps (and a website) that offers as many as 30 new services to customers. This is a big positive step towards establishing Dubai as a Smart City. Every app is available for free download across Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows platforms – which is commendable for launching a new app.

RTA's new applications cover five different verticals: Drivers and vehicles smartphone app; smart parking app in Dubai; Salik smart app, which enables customers to inquire, top up balance, and display trips; a useful public transport app; and a business services app which enables businesses to review tenders, request placing ads, rent metro outlets and more. All of the apps are working across mobile devices and tablets. The apps need separate downloads but one can access each or all of them via a common login – username and password.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, unveiled the launch of the new package of smart applications which enables users to complete their transactions via smartphones. He said " “Launching these apps comes in implementation of the initiative of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city of the world within three years,”.

“The key smart services which will be launched are the vehicle ownership renewal service, driver’s license renewal, payment of fines, issuance of vehicles/drivers-related certificates, recharging NoL cards, checking NoL balance, in addiction to launching the second generation of the m-Parking service, which enables motorists to pay their parking permit via text messages or credit cards" the RTA has announced.  One of the most useful apps will be the smart parking app which will have drivers given directions to the next available parking slot in the area. Sensor technology will be used to locate free parking spaces.

The Salik app will allow for balance inquiry, trips display and vehicle enquiries made directly via the app. With the unveiling of the latest apps this week, RTA now have 53 smart apps for the public. 

The initiative is aimed at ensuring that government services will be accessible, quick and efficient through the use of hi-tech smart devices. The project is expected to enable the public to transact with government departments using smartphones any time, any day of the year.

With more than 70% of Dubai on smartphones, and a large number of people having access to the internet, this move by RTA is a great step towards establishing Dubai as a leading smart city globally. With the plans that the forward thinking leadership have towards achieving this goal (see post earlier (Plans to make Dubai a smart city), it sounds positive. With those on data plans it's an easy jump into the digital world. Those who rely on available wifi at home and work, they'll have to wait a bit as the entire city slowly becomes one large free wifi zone!

You can keep track by following #RTA_Dubai.

Why you should directly upload videos to Facebook.

Facebook is encouraging direct video uploads onto brand pages, because according to them "video consumption on Facebook is growing rapidly and Facebook's news fees gives you the opportunity to place your brand at the center of daily discovery. Uploading your video directly to Facebook can increase the performance of your video campaign."

If you’re looking to grow your community, increase audience engagement, gain more visibility or generate more sales, video based engagement is your winning strategy. 

Facebook videos look better on Facebook – because the platform is built for them and will naturally encourage more use of their in-house facilities. However, YouTube is like the one-stop shop for video for many organizations and duplicating uploads on Facebook can seem like extra work for no good reason. 

Facebook says:

Video uploaded directly to Facebook using our video player have received better performance:
5.5x lower cost per video play*
30% higher video play rate* (number of clicks on the ad unit which are video play clicks)
3.5x lower CPC* than videos posted from another player

Get noticed: Images for videos directly uploaded to Facebook appear up to 11 times larger than links to off-site videos.

Access deeper video metrics:
Understand how your video resonated with people based on metrics such as: video views; video views to 25%, 50%, 75%, and 95%; cost per video view; average amount of time people spent viewing your video, and more.

Deliver a better experience to people:
Directly uploaded videos play in the News Feed, delivering a seamless experience. Often, using a link to an off-site video creates an extra step where people must navigate to another site. The experience can become even more disjointed for age-gated content given your audience may have
to sign-in to the other site to view the video.

Recommended video specifications:
We support almost all types of video files, but recommend using the MP4 format.
Resolution should be 1080p or under. To optimize the quality of your videos, upload HD video.
Although we support file sizes up to 1GB, there may be longer upload times associated with larger files on slower Internet connections. For a better upload experience, upload files that are less than 750MB.
Videos must be less than 20 minutes long. The longer your video is, the larger its file size will be. This may affect the quality of the video and the time it takes to upload.

Here is the link to Facebook's help page on uploading videos: