30 provinces and cities integrating into smart cities

Smart cities cannot afford to have pollution, waste and inefficient use of energy. Therefore, science and technology will help finding solutions in recycling and use of renewable energy or solar energy. Mr. Pham Le Cuong, Director of QUACERT under the Vietnamese General Department of Standards and Quality reaffirmed that many Vietnamese localities have started to integrate the trend of smart cities.

Smart City is a new concept, can you give us a general view of this model and the important standards for a smart city?

Smart cities will allow maximal economic, social, environmental and welfare development for all entities in the urban area such as residents, both private and public companies, and public administration, as well as further promote sustainable development. Moreover, smart cities will also create new business models, hence building firm foundation and environment for promoting creativity of the residence and businesses within it.

Smart cities cannot lack sustainable development. Applying standards, science and technology in the public administration, efficient use of energy, smart transport, sustainable environment, infrastructure, finance, banking, education, public health and construction will assist the solutions in recycling and use of renewable energy or solar energy.

Smart city standards are being developed by the International Standards Organization and in many countries. These standards including concrete standards serve as the basis for developing and operating smart cities as well as those to define smart cities. Common international standards for smart cities are ISO 37101, the sustainable development and stability of the community, the management system, the general principles and requirements of the International Standards Organization; a set of standards for smart cities has been developed by the British Standards Institution such as BSI PAS 180, BSI PAS 181, BSI PAS 182, BSI PD PAS 8100, BSI PD PAS 8101.

How does Vietnam participate in the tendency? What are the prospects for future development of Vietnam’s smart cities?

In recent years, facing the pressure of development, urbanization and requirements of urban management in the context of international integration, the concept “smart city” is becoming more popular. In Vietnam, the Party and State are strongly promoting the development of smart cities. Specifically, Resolution 05/NQ-TW dated 1 November 2016 adopted by a plenary session of the 12th Congress on major policies and guidelines to further renovate the growth model, improve its quality, productivity and competitiveness of the economy, has given priority to develop smart cities. Decision 1819/QD-TTg dated 26 October 2015 of the Prime Minister approving the National Programme for Information Technology Application in state agencies’ activities during 2016-2020 also set out the target of building at least three smart cities in Vietnam.

Most recently, Document No 10384/VPCP-KGVX dated 1 December 2016 by the Office of the Government mentioned the guiding opinion by the Prime Minister on the unity from the central level down to the grassroots and the conformity with the prevailing trends and Vietnam’s condition for sustainable development. The Prime Minister has also assigned the Ministry of Information and Communication to chair and coordinate with the Ministry of Construction as well as other concerned ministries and branches to publish evaluation standards for smart cities and to guide the local administration in implementing them to ensure effective investment.

Thirty provinces and cities have held seminars and signed cooperative MOU with local and foreign telecommunication companies to develop smart city pilot projects, such as Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Da Nang, Hue, Da Lat, Binh Duong, Can Tho, etc. Building smart cities will be significant to not only managers but also the population living therein. They would enjoy better life quality, greater safety and security, with high quality, fast and readily available essential services.

However, its downsides have worried many people, for example the privacy violation and technology monopoly.

Any development would carry potential risks and smart cities are no exceptions. The problem is how to manage these risks. The act of violating individuals’ privacy can happen as information is shared widely on the information technology platform of smart cities. With the standards being developed for smart city data, it allows the classification of data and information on the same system and this would help network and urban managers to detect unusual information and data, hence exercise better control over risks relating to privacy protection. Any changes would need a thorough follow-up, therefore it is more important to determine if the change benefits the social political economy or the people.

We can control the risks if special standards for key factors such as social and technical infrastructure are concretely built. In such a way, providing technology services would no longer become a strength of any companies, avoiding a monopoly market, and encouraging companies to be more creative in order to meet the market demands.

What is the status of smart cities in APEC region? What do we expect from APEC 2017 forum on smart cities?

The IESE Centre for Globalization and Strategy has published the list of the “smartest” cities in 2017. The Centre analyzed 79 indicators across different dimensions of urban life such as the economy, technology, human capital, environment, transport, urban planning, public administration management, and international outreach. Among top 10 cities of the list, six are from APEC economies: New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seoul and Tokyo and four from the European Union (EU): London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam. Of 50 cities at the top of the list 43 are from the U.S. and EU. Singapore is another APEC member economy in the top 50. Clearly, developing smart cities is a private playground of developed countries with great economic wealth and an advanced science and technology.

However, indicative development of smart cities is to minimize problems caused by urbanization and bring a better life for the local population, therefore the ranking only has minor significance. The most important for the APEC economies like Vietnam is the discussion, sharing of information and experience regarding opportunities and challenges of developing smart cities. The seminar would discuss the application of standards and conformance for smart cities in APEC developed economies, hence draw lessons from experience, identify necessary strategies, technology and human resources for smart cities in the future to meet the development requirements of respective members. These are our objectives and expectation.

Thank you.

Source: The world and Vietnam report

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