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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Investing in public safety

Over the new few years we will see even more synergy between innovation and the broader sense of our well-being as individuals

We are witnessing two emerging outcomes as we recover from the global pandemic. First we are realising now that our health is our most underrated blessing and our least optimised asset and second is that innovation and technology advancement are necessary for the sustainability of humanity.


For example, as shown in many of the technology advancements highlighted in tech gatherings such as Comex Oman 2022, there has been more technology adoption in the past two years than in the past decade.


One amazing case study are the vaccines that took the pharmaceutical industry years to develop now took a few months, thanks to emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related fields.


I would argue that over the new few years we will see even more synergy between innovation and the broader sense of our well-being as individuals. This can be attributed to the unprecedented flow of ideas and products between all corners of the earth and how much they are occupying our attention and making an impact not on our physical health, but also on the balance with our mental and spiritual health as well.


It has been well documented that the private sector, especially in the energy, construction and logistics sector has taken the lead for decades developing what is called HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment). However, who has been taking the lead in the public sector in leveraging the balanced adoption of the said technology advancement for our HSSE?


The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has been for years the catalyst behind digital transformation, especially in the area of public safety. This is a truly interesting case especially since the world of business, research and innovation is traditionally considered closer to the civilian government units. Here are 4 examples in which the ROP’s lead in digital transformation in public safety can be scaled up on a national level:


Health


‘Prevention is better than cure,’ mindset adopted in regulations such the Traffic Law and the Penal Code has been successful in saving thousands of life. Investing in nudging the wider community towards this mindset, as opposed to fixing-problems-after-they-happen mindset, can be adopted throughout public services for a more sustainable positive impact.


Safety


The increasing online threats to our safety and the safety of our loved ones has become a fact of life associated with the rise of the digital world. Digital money, Mixed Reality (MR) and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are only a few of the promising opportunities of the digital world that come with a cost.


To mitigate these emerging side effects, bodies like ROP are building the capabilities of their specialised teams and engaging stakeholders to be ready and keep our digital world safe and thriving.


These mitigation measure could be scaled up and adopted by every single regulator because current and future generations are already living in a digital, parallel and global digital universe, and will not wait for regulators to catch up.


Security


Embracing the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI & B) used to be a nice-to-have in the corporate world. Today they are a must have in all sectors civilian and military sectors, such as ROP. No security, or social peace and cohesion, can be guaranteed until the wider community, (citizens, residents and visitors) instils the DEI & B values as its default mode.


Environment


Protecting our biodiversity in land, air and water is not an easy task by any measure. In today’s world, the increase in industrial and manufacturing activities are much needed to and we can recover economically and socially from the pandemic. This means that the earth’s finite natural resources are under pressure. Some of the best practices in achieving a balance in this matter is Oman Vision 2040’s sustainable environment pillar and increase of national nature reserve area to be guarded in cooperation with competent authorities such as the ROP.


A national investment in scaling the said HSSE measures with competent authorities has become a matter of surviving and thriving. I hope that investing in leveraging the successful case studies of competent authorities, such as ROP, will be adopted as a step in the right direction.


Khalid al Huraibi


The writer is a corporate innovator and an insights storyteller


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