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Our vision for Smart Cities must be REAL

15 Mar 2019 | Tay Kok-Chin, Chairman, Smart Cities Network & Professor Suhono Harso Supangkat, President of the Smart Indonesia Initiatives Association

Source: ASEAN Smart Cities Network

Many governments and cities have embarked on their smart cities initiative. Their hope is to ride on the technology bandwagon to improve the lives of their citizens. But it’s not that simple. We offer our vision on how smart cities should be developed – that it has to be REAL (Relevant, Engaging, Actionable and for Learning).

According to Markets and Markets, the global smart cities market size is projected to grow from USD424.68 billion in 2017 to USD1,201.69 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1%. Across regions, the smart cities market has been segmented into 4 major focus areas: transportation, utilities, buildings, and smart citizen services. Rapid connectivity, fast telecommunication provision, growing population, and hyper-urbanisation are the major driving factors for the smart cities market.
The ASEAN Smart Cities Network was established in 2018 when Singapore was the Chair for ASEAN. The 26 Pilot cities in the 10 ASEAN Member States have drafted projects where solution providers from all over the world were invited to participate. We have met with a few city officials and conducted smart city workshops for these and other cities in the region. Through this journey, we discovered that there are challenges and obstacles in executing these projects.
We would like to share our vision for smart cities – that they must be REAL. This means they must be Relevant, Engaging, Actionable and for Learning.

  1. It must be Relevant
    The majority of smart cities today are led by government agencies. This is important for the building of technology infrastructure, such as sensor networks. However, for such smart city projects to be successful, it should also be relevant to the private sector.
  1. It must be Engaging
    When Indonesia launched its Smart Cities Initiatives in 2014, cities were expected to put in place a Command and Control Centre and a Call Centre. This has been the case for cities like Jakarta, Makassar, Bandung, and Semarang in Indonesia. The Garuda Smart City Framework (see diagram below) offers a practical model for public, private and people engagement in Indonesia which can be replicated elsewhere in the world.
    In Singapore, the “One Service” App by the Municipal Service Office coordinates public feedback and channels them to 9 different government agencies.

Source: Tay, Suhono, Cornelius, Arman,

“The SMART Initiative and the Garuda Smart City Framework for the Development of Smart Cities, 29th July 2018″

  1. It must be Actionable
    Too often, solution providers expect governments to allocate budgets for smart city projects. More often than not, however, many of these projects are not implemented due to a lack of resources, be it in terms of finances, people or skills. All these factors have to be considered, and one viable approach is to embark on “bankable projects”, as advocated by the ASEAN Smart City Network.For example, smart street lighting would be an excellent actionable smart city project. The model requires minimal upfront financial investment, and the infrastructure investment can be made by external parties, in return for guaranteed energy savings and downstream compensation to the external parties involved.en Indonesia launched its Smart Cities Initiatives in 2014, cities were expected to put in place a Command and Control Centre and a Call Centre. This has been the case for cities like Jakarta, Makassar, Bandung, and Semarang in Indonesia. The Garuda Smart City Framework (see diagram below) offers a practical model for public, private and people engagement in Indonesia which can be replicated elsewhere in the world.
    In Singapore, the “One Service” App by the Municipal Service Office coordinates public feedback and channels them to 9 different government agencies.

 

  1. It must be for Learning
    In order for smart cities projects to be sustainable, we believe that the existing curriculum of academic institutions today should be tightly integrated with content that is relevant to the development of smart cities. This will then help groom the next generation for smart cities of tomorrow. The Singapore Challenge 2019 (see diagram above) is an example of such an integrated academia-industry model for the Food and Beverage sector.

Implementation of Smart Cities via the Smart City Living Lab Concept

Smart City Living Lab is an approach conducted for the implementation of smart city in a small (or very small) area of the city so that the impact of the implementation can be directly felt by the community and measurable. 

Singapore has been a test-bed of numerous innovations. The country has recently designated the Punggol Digital District with the “Digital Twin” concept to promote industry-academia collaboration and future jobs via the Living Lab concept for innovators, visitors, residents and tenants in the District.

Indonesian and Singaporean stakeholders at the Smart City and Community Innovation Centre in Bandung – Sep 2018

Smart Cities Network has also collaborated with the Smart Indonesia Initiatives Association on an MOU for Inclusive and Sustainable Smart Cities signed last September 2018 in Bandung. An objective of the MOU is the setting up of the Smart City Accelerator Hubs in the region. Subsequently, the start-ups from Singapore and Bandung have co-operated in a project to develop the 3D model of the Bandung Command Centre.

Professor Suhono Harso Supangkat is generally regarded as the “Father of Smart Cities in Indonesia”, and has advised many city mayors in Indonesia. He has signed an MOU with Kok-Chin Tay, Chairman of Smart Cities Network in September 2018 to develop Inclusive and Sustainable Smart Cities.

Kok-Chin will be moderating the Future Cities Panel – Building the Foundations of Smart Cities and Beyond, on Day 1 of the ConnecTechAsia Summit, 18 June 2019. In this session, leaders and subject experts will discuss pertinent challenges facing the amalgamation of smart cities, as well as infrastructure and regulatory issues in driving digitalisation, citizen inclusiveness and sustainability of future cities. Prof Suhono will be one of the Panel Speakers. Register here to attend!

Additionally, the Smart Cities Network will host a half-day workshop titled ‘ASEAN Smart Cities Project Activation’ at ConnecTechAsia on Day 2, 19 June 2019. Representatives of Smart Cities in ASEAN will be invited to share on potential projects with interested business investors and partners. More details to follow soon.

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