Access to capital hampers smart city creation in the region (Bangkok Post)

Access to capital is the most critical barrier for developing smart cities in Asean nations, including Thailand, as countries struggle to find alternative sources of investment for infrastructure projects with high upfront costs.

The government, through the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), is urging cities to collaborate with the private sector to form a city development company through a public-private partnership (PPP) to secure funding for development projects.

More importantly, the PPP model would enhance the use and management of assets in cities as well as embrace innovative businesses, accelerating the path to becoming a smart city or a city filled with sensors that collects data to optimise utilities like power grids and traffic lights.

The city development company model has already been establishes in Phuket, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen.

Passakon Prathombutr, senior executive vice-president and chief technology officer of Depa, said partnerships with the private sector in any province is the key to success.

Local firms should collaborate on developing smart infrastructure by sharing data and brainstorming innovative ways to tackle cities’ major challenges.

He said the city development company model is the best way to ensure effective operation and management of development projects.

The government is eager to see local businesses in other provinces consider forming city development companies as a way to enhance the use and management of assets enabling the development of smart cities in line with government’s digital economy roadmap.

Mr Passakon said local firms have to know the strengths of their province and prioritize smart city agendas.

The government is gearing up for its target to promote smart city development in 24 provinces by next year.

Last year, 10 zones in seven provinces already began their smart city transformation.

The government plans to further develop 30 smart city zones in 24 provinces in 2019 and extend its target to 100 smart city zones in 76 provinces and Bangkok by 2022.

This article originally appeared on Malay Mail. You can view the original article here:

Bangkok Post

15 April 2019

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