The new Neom tech metropolis is scheduled for completion in the Saudi Arabian desert by 2025 and promises to be a paradise for start-ups and developers. Sustainable, run by robots, and an example for the rest of the world.
The expansive, harsh beauty of the Saudi desert. The blue depths of the Red Sea. Happy families, romping around dunes, attractive people looking at tablets and architectural models. Add a sprinkling classical music and the promise of a new land, a land that will change the world forever … and you have the slick Neom commercial.
Neom is the latest statement mega project by the Saudi Arabian royal family. A technology utopia that easily covers an area the size of Rwanda. A zone that has its own legislation and business-friendly regulations. A prospective paradise for start-ups and investors.
A vision in a sandy neverland designed not only to revolutionize Saudi Arabia’s economy, but also our entire global society.
First construction phase should be finished by 2025
The first construction phase of this futuristic planned city should be finished by 2025. And at some point, robots will outnumber humans in Neom. “We don’t want to find out in fifteen years that we’ve missed our chance,” stated crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud on October 24th, the day Neom was introduced in Riyad.
A neologism of the Greek “neo” and the Arabic word for “future,” “mustaqbal,” the name says it all: Neom is part of Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030,” a grand plan to future-proof the country’s economy. Translated to concrete measures, this means moving away from the dependency on oil markets and prices and moving towards new technologies and new revenue streams.
The main mind behind this transition is former Siemens chairman Klaus Kleinfeld. It’s his job to ensure that Neom will truly be as innovative as the royal announcement suggests. The city is designed to be a place of collaborative development, tailormade for novel technologies and processes, according to Kleinfeld’s speech held as part of the Neom introduction and presentation.
Innovations in mobility, IT, biotech, energy and media
Focusing on nine key areas, Neom and its future residents will tackle innovations in the following fields: biotech, energy, media, farming, IT, entertainment, mobility, quality of life, and production. To this end, the royal house plans to invest around EUR 425 billion – approximately the size of Poland’s entire GDP.
The website already allows us to marvel at this proposed future, filled with huge solar fields and wind turbines to provide the city with 100-percent regenerative power. “Neom researchers will shape the future of energy production,” or so the project description promises.
Urban Farming, drones and sustainable transport
Neom will also explore new ways to feed its own populace. Planned greenhouses should make the mega city self-sufficient, with online shopping replacing supermarkets – deliveries will arrive by drone. To get from A to B, people can use a completely sustainable transport system.
And there will be free wi-fi for all guests and residents as well as the “world’s largest garden” in the city center, hi-tech fun fairs, and a water park with wave machine to serve as a training ground for future Olympic athletes.
These impressive promises and prospects have also attracted international investors. According to the Saudi Arabian royal family, both Amazon and Chinese tech giant Alibaba have already expressed interest in becoming part of Neom.