Building smart cities
In June, the US Trade and Development Agency hosted a Smart Cities Workshop in Hanoi to discuss leading project opportunities in Vietnam’s urban modernization agenda.
Timothy Liston, acting US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, says strong development of the urbanization process poses many challenges. Among them are an increase in population combined with an aging population, environmental problems, budget cuts, health issues, and sustainable development. These challenges have forced the development of smart cities to tackle urban problems.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Ministry of Information and Communications has promoted international cooperation to facilitate the learning of development experience in advanced cities and seek smart city models suitable for Vietnam. The ministry has examined technology platforms and technical standards, while reviewing the application status of information and communications technology (ICT) to identify the necessary conditions for smart city building. Some localities such as Hanoi, Thua Thien Hue, Lam Dong, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh and Bac Ninh have embarked on the development of smart city projects.
According to Liston, some US companies such as 3M, Cambium Networks, Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions, and Winbourne Consulting have offered solutions and strategies for urbanization management and smart city development to help Vietnam improve its infrastructure. They have to date cooperated with the Ministry of Information and Communications and other authorities to help localities build smart cities. In addition, the US government has also provided a variety of professional support and services for the implementation of smart city pilot projects.
More than 20 cities involved
Le Hoai Quoc, former head of the Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) Management Board, said many Vietnamese localities are hoping smart city systems will help them overcome traffic congestion, reduce environmental pollution, ensure food safety and hygiene, and improve their business environment. To facilitate these ambitious projects, they are promoting the training of human resources, strengthening administrative reforms, improving the quality of growth, and increasing competitiveness.
The past three years have seen a boost in smart city development with more than 20 cities and provinces studying and approving such projects, among them Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong and Da Nang. In addition, large groups and corporations have also adopted measures to promote ICT application.
To express the importance of smart city development, the prime minister approved a sustainable smart city development project for the 2018-2025 period, with orientation to 2030. The project aims to facilitate green growth and sustainable development, tap potential and advantages, enhance the efficient use of resources, minimize potential risks, improve the efficiency of state management and urban services, and strengthen competitiveness of the economy and international integration.
Building a smart city successfully in Vietnam requires speedy development of a national legal framework and infrastructure standards. In addition, localities need to build data centers, develop open ecosystems, ensure network infrastructure and synchronous links with regions, attract talents and train domestic human resources in accessing smart city technologies.
Building a smart city cannot be based solely on the determination of the solution providers; it requires the support of the state, scientists, individuals and enterprises in resolving obstacles and maintaining close coordination with each other. The state plays an important role in creating mechanisms to support enterprises to build and develop smart cities.
Vietnam and the US need to work together to identify the necessary conditions for smart city building and propose
effective cooperation mechanisms.
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