Establishing a brilliant example of how to make the younger generations learn and fulfil their civic duties using latest technological innovations of the 21st century, Sharjah Department of eGovernment (DeG), launched ‘Sharjah Land’, an augmented reality game, at GITEX Technology Week 2016 today in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Centre (SMC); His Excellency Sheikh Salim bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s office, His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director General of DeG and Her Excellency Jamila Al Findi, Director General of the Zayed Housing Program. This new game provides an interface for users to access the various public services provided in the emirate of Sharjah, and in the process teach their younger generations important civic duties in a non-dictative way.
Creating an interactive playground for visitors through its ‘smart stand’ at the Sharjah pavilion, DeG featured high technology screens and devices with built-in sensors and wearable slap bracelets to optimise user experiences, making their interaction with the game as real as possible. As players strapped in, the four protagonists of Sharjah Land came to life, taking a tour of the ‘Sharjah Planet’ with them. Players, both the young and the young at heart, were subtly informed and educated about the importance of the four pillars that uphold Sharjah’s bright cultural image – sustainability, connectivity, growth and society – as they excitedly progressed from one level to another.
Citing the successes and benefits that have emerged from their continuous innovations, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi said, “The DeG’s methods have always blended together innovation and creativity to value add to a range of premium services, stepping away from repetition. We have been delivering the finest services and applications over the years; an approach that has resulted in an exceptional increase in reliability among our users and agents in the public sector.”
“Every year, we look forward to showcasing our latest services at GITEX. This year, we decided to launch our augmented reality game, Sharjah Land, which is specially designed to engage children and young adults in an attractive and creative way. They are our future, the generation we depend on to continue building on Sharjah’s achievements, and therefore it is imperative that we capture their imaginations, teaching them their duties towards society and its strongest values,” he added.
Players of the game will assume the roles of its four protagonists, namely, Environmento (aka Viro), Transportina (aka Tina) Economan (aka Noman) and Communiti (aka Uniti) – each responsible for protecting one pillar of the interactive ‘Planet Sharjah’, against evil entities that try to banish it. Sharjah Taxi, Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority, Heart of Sharjah, and Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services are the four government entities that are represented through each of these avatars in the game.
Protection and preservation of the local environment, enhancing connectivity within and around Sharjah, propelling growth in Sharjah’s vital sectors, and enabling seamless communication between members of society are the central themes that players will approach in a game structured in three different levels; all intended to come together in fulfilling the game’s ultimate objective of building a bright, smart and sustainable future for Sharjah.
Pointing out the various advantages of the game, Sheikh Khalid Al Qasimi said, “Engaging young gamers in a fun way, Sharjah Land will impart important training and education unconventional ways. Through any of the game’s four avatars, users have the option of choosing a profile that matches their interests. The game will act as a unique interactive interface between DeG and the emirate’s youth, gathering knowledge and feedback from them to further develop itself and its digital services in the future.”
“Sharjah Land will fortify the emirate’s efforts in developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills among our younger population. Eventually, all of these initiatives will fuel our greater goal of building a city that is aware, collaborative, flourishing and innovative, in alignment with our objectives to turn Sharjah into a city that blends together nature and the latest technologies within a sustainable environment by 2021,” he added.
GITEX Technology Week, in its 36th edition, being held from 16 to 20 October 2016 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), will see the participation of 4,200 exhibitors and more than 22,000 senior executives from 144 countries. The five-day event is expected to draw more than 146,000 visitors and offers an unrivalled platform for leading global brands to launch their latest ICT innovations and products to the Middle East – one of the fastest emerging investment-ready ICT markets in the world. More than 1,000 international media professionals are expected to attend and cover one the exhibition.