Da Nang, a smart city

15:30 | 03/02/2014 Science - Technology

(VEN) - Nature has bestowed Da Nang with a diverse range of natural landscapes, with the city boasting mountains, lakes and beautiful beaches. In addition, Da Nang has achieved a breakthrough in urban development and putting scientific and technological achievements into practice. The central city of Da Nang is seen as the most lifestyle friendly city in Vietnam and the first smart city in the Southeast Asia.

Da Nang is seen as the most lifestyle friendly city in Vietnam

Da Nang Department of Information and Communications Director Pham Kim Son said that an idea of developing a smart city was not a new idea. A decade ago, Da Nang prepared favorable conditions to implement a smart city project.

A new trend

According to Pham Kim Son, a smart city must use its resources in an effective and reasonable way through the application of information technology and communications. Through the use of human and material resources, city management includes the management of traffic, water and energy resources and other social infrastructure such as health and education in a smart manner, with the aim of achieving better living and working standards.

A smart city is considered an inevitable development trend in the world. The smart city model has been appeared for a long time in Barcelona (Spain), Sweden, Denmark and the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Incheon. With the aim of becoming the most modern smart city through investment of about US$40 billion, the RoK government has adopted specific plans for residential, commercial and industrial production areas.

Using water and energy resources in an effective, economical and smart manner in Incheon is the most prominent example. RoK has recycled wastewater to use in industrial targets. In addition, Inchion’s traffic light system uses solar energy.

Da Nang prepared favorable conditions a decade ago to implement a smart city project. In the city’s socioeconomic development strategy, the central city targeted becoming the most lifestyle friendly city in the country, contributing to ensuring better living conditions for local people. City leaders encouraged management agencies and departments to find explore solutions.

In the 2006-2007 period, together with the Cisco Group’s support, Da Nang built information technology infrastructure and upgraded the core network in order to meet the requirements of a smart city. In May 2012, the city became the first city in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian region to be listed as one of the 33 cities worldwide to receive the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)’s Smarter Cities Challenge grants. IBM experts helped Da Nang conduct a survey and select programs to effectively manage resources. In this period, Da Nang also officially launched two projects related to water resource and urban traffic management in a smart manner. In addition, Da Nang received positive support from the World Bank and the Spanish government.

According to Pham Kim Son, the government and international organizations’ supports for the implementation of a smart city model in Da Nang was not random. They realized Da Nang’s potential and efforts to become a smart city. Da Nang has also ranked first in terms of Vietnam Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Index since 2008. In addition, the software industry in Da Nang has rapidly developed in recent years. The Da Nang Software Park was put into operation in 2009 and was filled with 53 companies in late 2010. The city also approved the Da Nang Software Park 2 covering on a total area of 10 hectares in Hai Chau District. Moreover, the US’s Rocky Lai & Associates Inc officially kicked off the construction of the Da Nang Information Technology Park (DITP) in Hoa Vang District covering on an area of 341hectares with a total investment capital of US$278 million.

Visiting a smart city

The Traffic Signals and Public Transport Control Center under the Da Nang Department of Transport is 3km from the Da Nang Department of Information and Communications. The center has directly implemented the smarter transportation project. Since being put into operation, the center has played an important role in easing congested at intersections during peak hours. In particular, 64 traffic lights and 33 cameras at intersections were connected to the center and are ready to provide accurate information to handle traffic accidents.

The Traffic Signals and Public Transport Control Center Director Dang Nam Son said that turning on or off the traffic lights at intersections will depend on the number of vehicles on roads. For example, with the large number of vehicles on major roads, the center will extend waiting times at intersections to avoid traffic congestion. Since putting the center into operation, the average speed of vehicles has reaches about 30-35km per hour, contributing to shortening congestion during peak hours.

The center has also implemented the Bus Rapid Transit system. With its system, the center will have real-time information on its 100 city buses such as driving speed, location and predicted journey times. Via the department’s web portal, passengers will be immediately informed of changes to bus routes, time tables and estimated arrival times. According to Dang Nam Son, in the near future, over 5,000 cars including buses, taxis, trucks and passenger cars will be attached its system, contributing to controlling driving speed and predicting journey times.

Using the IBM Smarter Cities technology for real-time analysis and monitoring of the city’s water supply has also brought greater efficiency. All officers and staff at the Da Nang Water Company (DAWACO) can instantly visualize operations and receive alerts and notifications when readings stray from norms or when analysis indicates that water quality has changed. While water samples used to be collected and analyzed manually, by installing sensors throughout the water treatment process, DAWACO can measure water turbidity, salinity, conductivity, pH and chlorine levels in real time.

According to Pham Kim Son, after successful deployment of smarter projects on traffic and water quality management, Da Nang is looking forward to testing the smarter food safety project. City leaders assigned the Da Nang Department of Information and Communications to adopt smarter projects for the city. These projects were drafted and ready to submit to city leaders.

“Together with support of the local government and international organizations, Da Nang invested more than US$1 million in smarter projects. To successfully implement a smart city model, a consensus and high determinations between departments and management agencies are needed. However, the country also needs to adopt appropriate mechanisms and policies, contributing to mobilizing resources to build a smart city,” Pham Kim Son said./.          

  By Quynh Nga                           

Theo ven.vn