To address urban challenges such as pollution, energy efficiency, security, healthcare, traffic, transportation, etc., smart city initiatives worldwide are increasingly (well - they have to be) focused on the IoT.
By providing real time and remote monitoring for different aspects of data management in areas such as transportation, communication, video surveillance, and sensors on devices and sensors distributed throughout the city, a community will have the ability to create intelligent environments with IoT.
Hence it does not come as a surprise when we see local governments competing (some collaborating) to build innovative and sustainable cities by utilising advanced technologies in data gathering and communications interconnectivity via the internet. IDC forecasted that over 25 percent of all local government external spending will go to deploy, manage, and realise the business value of the IoT by 2018.
So what are the solid efforts that have been initiated (or even better – have already taken place) by local stakeholders in Southeast Asia to catalyse the visions of Smart Cities?
Lets dive into specific countries for detailed analysis.
Smarter Philippines was launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2013 with the aim of improving economic growth via technology.
As part of the programme, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo announced Cauayanto be the first of 144 cities in the Philippines to become a “smarter city”.
“A smart city should have ICT infrastructure to connect systems, and share and analyse data, resulting in faster, real-time responses to present situations”, said Montejo.
Cauayan’s initiatives include an e-government system, a computerised police clearance process and a city ID system. It also plans to use technology to improve its agriculture, businesses, jobs, healthcare and adapt to climate change.
We saw the Philippines working on the first step by providing municipal Wi-Fi to nearly 1000 cities in the country. In November 2015, the PHP 1.408 billion (US$31.6 million) project was tendered to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in 997 cities.
While the DOST’s ICT Office will lead the project, a steering committee with 15 other agencies will coordinate the project. These include the Departments of Tourism, Trade and Industry, Health, Budget and Management, Education, and the Metro Manila Development Authority.
As the supporter of Asia IoT Business Platform: IoT Philippines, DOST’s ICT Office has shared with us on further plans and explore strategic solutions to help local enterprises. We believe that the move towards technology advancement will be pushed along by corporations like Globe Telecom, Microsoft, PLDT and more.
On the move to become ASEAN’s digital infrastructure hub by 2020, the Thai government has demonstrated great determination through a solid digital economy master plan by the ICT ministry with main domain missions such as hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital economy promotion and a digital society; and pilot projects centered on e-commerce, e-education, e-industry and e-government.
According to Jeerawan Boonperm, chairwoman of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SiPA), 100 million baht has been allocated to develop the digital infrastructure and a data centre in Phuket. The plan is to turn Phuket into an innovation-driven smart city by 2016. This is a pilot project to promote digital-related investment and further development of the tourism industry.
"Phuket will be Thailand's first smart city, with Chiang Mai tipped to be next in 2017," said Ms Jeerawan said.
The e-government agency was playing a big role in the planned roll-out of the e-government pilot project.With 2,000 ICT centres nationwide, the e-industry pilot project focused on encouraging SMEs to benefit from using technology.
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) will be giving the keynote address for Asia IoT Business Platform: IoT Thailand this May, sharing on the visions and opportunities on collaboration within the IoT sectors.(A brief snippet: South Korean government and companies are especially interested in sharing their expertise and solutions in the Phuket Smart City Project.)
On the Part 2 of this article, we will explore similar smart city initiatives in the following countries: Indonesia and Malaysia.
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