$500bn mega city will have artificial intelligence at its core including the must-have Neom app
Artificial intelligence will be the driving factor behind Saudi Arabia's new $500 billion mega city planned for the Gulf kingdom's Red Sea coast.
According to its mastermind, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, everything in Neom life will be connected via an app which will give residents control over what they want to do.
In an interview with Bloomberg, he said the city will have no supermarkets to visit because everything you need will be delivered to you using the latest technology.
He said: "Everything will have a link to artificial intelligence, to the Internet of Things - everything. Your medical file will be connected with your home supply, with your car, linked to your family, linked to your other files, and the system develops itself in how to provide you with better things.
"Today all the clouds available are separate - the car is by itself, the Apple watch is by itself, everything is by itself. There, everything will be connected. So nobody can live in Neom without the Neom application we’ll have - or visit Neom."
Neom, short for Neo-Mustaqbal, a Latin-Arabic term meaning "new future", is scheduled to start taking shape in 2020 with the main city opening five years later.
The Crown Prince told Bloomberg that the first phase of the giant project will be Neom Bay, which will be like the Hamptons in New York.
The plan includes a bridge spanning the Red Sea, connecting the proposed city with Egypt and the rest of Africa. Some 10,000 square miles have been allocated for the development of an urban area stretching into Jordan and Egypt.
New technology will transform mobility and livability in Neom, he said, adding that the likes of Amazon, Airbus and Alibaba have registered an interest in being involved in the city's development.
"There are many enormous companies, enormous, considered among the most important companies in the world, that want to do their new projects in Neom to take advantage of this opportunity," he noted.
"We are talking with everyone. We are talking with Amazon, they are engaged, but we didn’t reach a final agreement. We are talking with Alibaba, and they are engaged, and both of those two companies are having great ideas to make Neom different."
Asked if Dubai is worried about the impact Neom may have on its own ambitions, the Crown Prince said: "I think we are creating new demand and this will help Dubai and it will help other hubs in the Middle East. I don’t think Hong Kong harmed Singapore or Singapore harmed Hong Kong. They are creating good demand around each other.
"It will help Dubai, it will help Bahrain. It will help especially Kuwait. Kuwait will export to Europe faster and cheaper than now through the pipelines and the railways to Neom, immediately to Egypt, to the north of Sinai, to Europe."
He said all nationalities would be welcomed to live in Neom but, like the rest of the Gulf kingdom, alcohol will be banned.
"We can do 98 percent of the standards applied in similar cities. But there is 2 percent we can’t do, like for example alcohol. A foreigner who desires alcohol can either go to Egypt or Jordan."
Klaus Kleinfeld, who was ousted in April as chief of US engineering firm Arconic and will now be CEO for the Neom project, will lead an advisory team on more than 100 "world class" people.For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.