After vying against each other in mobile payment, online retail, and taxi-hailing, Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba have taken their battle to a new field–government smart city initiatives. Several announcements from both Tencent and Alibaba over the past month suggest the two firms are deepening their involvement in local government’s initiatives to improve administrative efficiency and transparency.
As globalisation makes the world ever more connected, the number of tough challenges like pandemics, financial crises and terrorism increase. Peter Ho, Singapore’s former Head of the Civil Service has dedicated a big chunk of his career to monitoring these strategic shocks, finding new ways to prepare for them and reduce their impact. Ho established Singapore’s Centre for Strategic Futures in 2009, a think tank within government that studies emerging issues and their implications on Singapore, and develops tools and conversations with agencies to help them consider an uncertain future systematically.
SINGAPORE: The Republic is well-positioned to embark on its Smart Nation vision, due to its strong institutional capabilities and judiciary system, according to an International Communication Union (ITU) executive. In an interview with Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday (Apr 15), Cybersecurity Coordinator Marco Obiso noted that Singapore already has a strong national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), and trained pool of workers. He added that Singapore’s judicial system is “very, very strong”, having translated cybersecurity issues into legislation.
Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) has signed a series of agreements with Nusajaya Tech Park SDN Berhad (NTPSB) to set up a host of information and communications technology (ICT) services in the Johor-based technology park as part of an ambitious plan to create a smart city hub in Southeast Asia. The Kuala Lumpur-based telecoms firm plans to build data centres and provide cloud computing and ‘smart’ services in the technology park located in Johor Bahru state in southern Malaysia, near the border with Singapore, it said in a joint announcement with NTPSB last month.
The government of Shanghai, China and China-based Internet service player Tencent have signed a collaboration agreement to jointly push Shanghai’s Internet of things (IoT) infrastructure and enhance the city’s smart services. The two firms are looking to help the city to feature a friendly environment for entrepreneurship, according to a Chinese-language Tencent report.
City Service, an application based on the Internet Plus concept, has been launched in Hangzhou in eastern China and will be rolled out to 12 other cities in the country later this month, reports Shanghai’s National Business Daily. The service provides different kinds of life-related inquiries for citizens including road rules, immigration information, real-time traffic, marriage registration reservations, medical appointments, library book reservations and others.
France is the latest country to seek new contracts building smart cities in India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande will discuss investments in smart cities during Modi’s visit to France this week, Indian media reported. Soon after coming into office last year, Modi announced that his country will develop 100 smart cities using the latest technologies to run municipal services.
Singaporean and overseas startups are getting a new acceleration program to help them in their first fledgling steps to market. The SAP Startup Focus Acceleration Program is the self-explanatory title of an initiative undertaken by Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority,enterprise software firm SAP Asia, and investment firm August Capital Partners. The program has a duration of two years and is open to all technology-based startups that are looking into smart city solutions based on data and analytics.
Canada is the latest country to seek lucrative contracts advising Indian states on how to build new smart cities. This week, Canadian diplomats have been courting the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, hoping to win deals similar to those given to Singapore, the USA and Germany. Indian Prime Minister Modi announced last year that his country would build 100 new smart cities, reliant on cutting-edge connectivity, to transform municipal government across the nation.
Bandung city in Indonesia has tied up with Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) to build infrastructure for its smart city projects. An online portal, video analytics to monitor crime hotspots, sentiment analysis and public Wi-Fi are in the pipeline. Bandung will work with the firm to implement video analytics on the city’s surveillance system to monitor traffic conditions and crime-prone locations. It will also pick up data from Facebook and Twitter to analyse the latest topics going around on social media in Bandung.
A report on cloud adoption practices in the Asia Pacific, released two weeks ago, predicts that cities will quickly be taking up cloud-based services and solutions to handle their day-to-day as well as long-term requirements. The 35-page research paper is the first comprehensive evaluation of the impact of cloud computing on governments in the region.
Indonesia will set standards for smart cities in the country by the end of the year, said Minister for ICT, Rudiantara. He urges local governments to be more competitive in the race to improve municipal services with technology. The city with the best implementation will be selected as a benchmark to determine the standards before the end of the year, he said. Yogyakarta, Banyuwangi and Bandung have already implemented the smart city projects, Rudiantara said.
Budget for India’s 100 smart cities project have seen a big dip in the 2015-16 Budget announced on 1 March. This comes as countries around the world race to share their expertise on city planning and sign deals with Indian states to build new cities. This year the Budget allocates INR 21.6 billion (US$349 million) to develop cities which will rely on technology to run their transport, utilities, housing, healthcare, safety and other municipal services.
Jakarta is a megacity with a bad rep for underserving its inhabitants. Regular floods, fires, record-breaking traffic gridlocks, and pollution make life in Indonesia’s capital a daily stress test. But the tide is slowly turning as Jakarta’s government, now under the leadership of governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, is discovering how to make communication technology work in its favor.
The Iskandar region in Malaysia is teaming up with Toyama City (pictured) in Japan to explore how they can boost their liveability and environmental sustainability. The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and Mayor of Toyama City this week signed a memorandum of understanding. The agreement includes plans to generate hydroelectricity and use technology to improve public transportation in Iskandar.
The Singaporean delegation advising India on smart cities has told local officials to take better care of their city’s environment. The delegation is in Andhra Pradesh state assisting with designs for a new capital city being built for the state. “A Singapore expert in solid waste management pointed out that Andhra Pradesh needs streamlining of garbage collection, segregation of waste.
HYDERABAD: Cisco Systems would help Andhra Pradesh in developing Visakhapatnam as a smart city and it is also keen on working with the state government in the areas of education and healthcare. Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a video call with top executives of the American networking giant today, an official release said here.
The United States has joined the race to help India build 100 smart cities, signing memorandums of understanding with three Indian states to assist with new projects. The deals were signed this week as part of President Obama’s visit to India. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan signed the deal with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency on 25 January to develop Vishakhapatnam, Allahabad and Ajmer.
The Smart City Summit and Expo in Taipei kicked off on January 20 featuring a variety of solutions such as connectivity, cloud computing, and construction and management to create smart cities. Makers in Taiwan expressed interest in 4G service developments in relation to the Intenet of Things (IoT) and developing smart city solutions in conjunction.
Jakarta has announced plans to expand its rail network to satellite cities. The news comes as the city cancels a contract to build a new monorail network within the city. Indonesia’s capital city wants to expand its Light Rail Transport (LRT) network to ease traffic congestion, Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said. Many people who work in Jakarta commute everyday to satellite cities where housing is more affordable.