14:16 | 10/11/2017 Science - Technology
(VEN) - Vietnam aims to build smart cities in order to improve the quality of people’s lives. Instead of copying the successful models in the world, localities are seeking solutions tailored to their particular needs and problems.
Improving quality of life
Development of smart cities is becoming a trend around the world and Vietnam is also going with the flow. At a recent business conference titled “Smart Cities”, held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the German Embassy and Siemens, Pham Trong Thuc, director of the Department of Renewable Energy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s General Directorate of Energy, said Vietnam has one of the highest urbanization rates in Southeast Asia - 3.4 percent a year. Population in urban areas currently accounts for 35.7 percent and is estimated to reach 40 percent by 2020.
However, the quality of urban areas in Vietnam is low due to lack of integrated infrastructure and slow building pace compared to socio-economic development. “The Vietnamese government sees the development of smart cities as an indispensable factor, contributing to supporting economic development coupled with controlling the ecological, infrastructural and social impacts, and improving the quality of people’s lives,” Pham Trong Thuc said.
Duong Anh Duc, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications, told participants at the Vietnam ICT Summit 2017 that cities should tailor smart technologies to their characteristics, with the only common element being the goal of improving the quality of their residents’ lives. “There are 10 million people working and living in Ho Chi Minh City. However, the infrastructure is overloaded, causing regular traffic jams and floods. The important thing in building a smart city is to make do with available resources and mobilize support from all sides to minimize costs,” Duong Anh Duc said.
iParking and other initiatives
According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, some 20 localities throughout the country have built smart city pilot areas such as e-government, smart health and transportation. The development of smart cities helps implement efficient urban management and monitor the status of public services, infrastructure, and power and water resources. Businesses can also make the most of IT infrastructure to develop their products and services.
Da Nang was one of 33 cities worldwide receiving an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2012. It has since applied many information technology applications, such as bus management, signal control and traffic monitoring systems.
Nguyen Quang Thanh, director of the Da Nang Department of Information and Communications, said Da Nang is deploying the smart city project to meet specific needs of local people. For example, in terms of traffic, visitors to Da Nang can text messages to know where they are and how to get to the nearest bus station. Local residents can access all information related to administrative procedures in Da Nang by dialing 1022.
Hanoi has also implemented a smart city project with a focus on e-government and four priority areas of education, health, culture and transport. For example, Hanoi launched a smart parking service that will allow drivers to find parking spots and pay parking fares using their smartphones. The pilot project covers 17 parking lots with a capacity of 248 cars on Tran Hung Dao and Ly Thuong Kiet streets in the city’s center. The iParking application is available on AppStore/CH Play for smartphone users to download. The application has received positive feedback from users pleased with its efficiency in shortening the time to find parking lots and create transparency in prices.
“We are working with cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on new city districts and urban mobility options to help overcome challenges. We have a unique digital offering for the infrastructure needs of a city. We are working directly with the city to ensure that digital technologies are integrated into planning to immediately reduce congestion, improve air quality and increase energy reliability,” said Siemens Vietnam President and CEO, Pham Thai Lai.
Associate Professor Luu Duc Cuong, acting director of the Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning under the Ministry of Construction, said developing smart cities is the use of advanced technologies in many fields, such as transportation, technical infrastructure, health and education. Building smart cities has four main objectives: promoting energy efficiency, reducing environmental pollution, strengthening security and safety, and providing better services for the community.