Becoming a smart city will fix HCM City’s problems: official

Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 12:00

A corner of HCM City at night. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hieu

HCM City would be able to cope with the many challenges caused by the rapid increase in its migrant population when becoming a smart city, a conference heard on Wednesday.

The International Smart City Conference in HCM City, attended by 500 delegates, including 50 from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan, and Thailand, was meant to draw lessons from other smart cities in the Asia-Pacific region.

It was also an occasion for IT companies to showcase their technology solutions for business development and public administration.

HCM City Party Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan listed some of the major challenges the city is facing such as the gap between infrastructure and population growth, the failure to improve its competitiveness in recent years and failure to boost and take full advantage of regional co-operation.

Taking cognisance of these challenges, “in 2016 the city administration decided becoming a smart city is one of the best solutions for effective urban development”, he said.

Nhan said there are five main goals behind the push to become a smart city: make economic growth more sustainable, improve the living and working conditions of its people, engage citizens in city management, improve public services, and ensure sustainable use of natural resources.

The administration, businesses, citizens and social organisations need to act smarter for developing smart city, he said.

He said there are key factors that enable conversion into a smart city, the first being the administration’s ability to anticipate threats and suggest solutions for economic and social development. This is one of the city’s weaknesses at the moment, he said candidly.

The others are building a shared database for all organisations, businesses and citizens; developing the IT infrastructure; and citizens’ inclusion in assessing development progress, he said.

David Wong, chairman of the Asian Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation, said the digital era encourages the building of smart cities, but there are three key challenges not only in Viet Nam but everywhere.

The first is digital infrastructure development both in urban and rural areas.

“This is particularly not easy for a city like HCM City with a population of more than 10 million.”

The second challenge is human resources, but Viet Nam has an advantage since it has so many people, workers and talents, something many countries lack, he said.

The third is cyber security, which has become a threat.

The conference heard many more suggestions for building smart cities from local and international participants, like the need to build a standard framework, evaluating the smart city based on smart city index, ICT platforms for smart cities and e-governance.

This is the second international conference on smart cities held in Viet Nam after a first held in Ha Noi two years ago.

Wong said due to the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors and the need for sharing ideas and expertise between countries in the region to realise the transformation into smart cities, the conference would be held in a different country each year.

Next year it would be held in Japan, he added. — VNS

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