US technology company Honeywell and Saudi Arabia's Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) have signed a smart city deal to allow the kingdom to build data-driven cities.

The agreement will support the development of smart buildings and cities in Saudi Arabia, with both parties agreeing to collaborate on business development opportunities within this space.

Signed at the Ritz Carlton in Jeddah, the deal will cover promotion of smart and connected buildings, as well as smart cities and critical infrastructure.

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Riyadh-based AEC, a company set up to benefit the local economy wants to work alongside Honeywell to co-develop a strategy that enables smart cities to be built. Commenting on the agreement, AEC's vice president of energy, Eng. Majed Al-Refae, said: “This agreement reaffirms and demonstrates yet another example of the quality of work performed by our employees, the majority of whom are Saudis.

“By working with technology leaders like Honeywell, AEC can expand its manufacturing and technology base and provide more meaningful employment opportunities to qualified Saudis.” 

Honeywell Building Solutions' regional general manager in Saudi Arabia, Meziane Ghaoui, added: “We are proud to strengthen our partnership with AEC, which is an important step forward in supporting the development of smart buildings and cities in Saudi Arabia. This [deal] will support the objectives of the country’s long-term vision of creating greater energy efficiency and sustainability.”

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A joint statement from both companies said AEC is involved in projects spanning defence, telecommunications, and industrial and energy projects.

As Al-Refae noted, the business has a high rate of local Saudis in its workforce, and nearly four in five employees are registered as Saudi nationals.