Smart City in Asia, from lip service to concrete project

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It feels fancy to talk about smart city, yet no one on earth, strictly speaking, is living in it now. We used to pay lip services to the idea of “smart city”, however things are definitely moving forward. Many Asian cities have already taken the initiative of catching such wave in which there are two major forces driving the momentum.

First force should naturally come from the determination of municipal government; after all smart city is a city level project and requires large-scale of IOT infrastructure as the core foundation. If you think smart city is a privileged agenda for affluent Asian cities, names like Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, HongKong, then you might be a little biased here.

Let us cast our eyes on Tainan, a tiny town located in Southern Taiwan, with the population around 2 million, which probably has hardly been mentioned on the list of the top smart city in Asia by international media, is in fact set its blueprint of smart city in motion.

Tainan’s smart city project hatched a well-rounded plan targeting at 5 key forefronts: transportation, tourism, healthcare, education and water resources (as the city is often plagued by tropical storm and flooding).

Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan, where the windingly narrow streets always trigger the pain of  daily traffics and congestions. To tackle the transportation issue alone, it is now working in progress of

-laying 4G communication network

-implementing IOT sensors city-wide

-Big Data integration: a seamless integration between Tainan Transportation Centre and Citizen Feedback System

-Payment Solution: basically requires a multiple payment system

-Operation support: it includes but not limited to automatic parking operation services, smart violation tow system operation, traffic control operation etc

In many ways municipal governments’ burning ambition must be matched by the latest technology, and the duty seems to fall on the shoulders of giant company. And this should be the second force behind. In march 2016, Cisco, the world leader in IT, made a USD1.4 billion acquisition of Jasper, an industry leading cloud based IOT service platform. The move is aiming to leverage Jasper IOT technology, and working with 8 local governments in order to build most advanced smart and connected cities in Asia.

The 8 projects are located in:

  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Singapore
  • Nusajaya, Malaysia
  • Songdo, South Korea
  • Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, India
  • Bangalore, India
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Guangzhou, China

Cisco’s Jasper Smart City currently covers 8 main areas:

  • Waste management (its key partner: Smartbin, Bigbellu, Urbiotica)
  • Parking Tolls (its key partner: Smart Parking, Streetline)
  • Environmental monitoring (its key partner: Liquid Robotics, Aqualogy, Smart Watering system)
  • Security and Building Automation(its key partner: Discreet, G4S, FireKing)
  • Utilities (its key partner: Singapore Power, Alliander, E.ON)
  • Electric Vehicle Charging
  • Emergency management (its key partner: TrafficLink, SST, G4S)
  • Traffic management (its key partner: LandTransportAuthority, Mytransport.Sg, One.Motoring)

The leader city, acclaimed by many so far, is Singapore. It often represents the best practice in the region; especially in energy saving and traffic efficiency. Nevertheless Singapore has not entered the full-fledged phase of smart city yet.

Though the importance of smart city rises to prominence swiftly in Asia, seeing any well-developed roll-out will still take a bit time. Municipal government and giant companies are the trendsetters, however they also need to attract active participation from startups via open data/API platform, for instance, Singapore promotes the idea of “smart nation” connectivity for the co-creation of smart city from any player in this ecosystem.

Cecilia Wu

A witty, nutty and frosty writer who hopes to jot down moments of inspiration from her daily life

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