Asia, not USA, will be smart city leader of the future

Asia smart cities

Yes, Asia, not USA. That is the conclusion of a white paper called “Evolution of Smart Cities and Connected Communities.” Asia, has more government support for smart city initiatives, their cities are more tech-ready, and most of all, Asia needs smart cities more than anywhere else because of its growing urban populations.

The study was conducted by Government Technology  and co-sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association and the United Parcel Service (UPS).

Of course, smart cities are emerging all over the world, as by 2050, 70 percent of the world population will live in cities. Smart technology is not just something we want, it is something we need. We need it all over the world but in Asia we need it even more. That is why Asian government investments in smart city technology push Asia in the leadership position, the white paper says.

Citing a BMI Research report from 2016, the report noted urbanization in China and India rose to 65 percent and 37 percent respectively last year, up from 56 percent and 33 percent respectively in 2015. Singapore, meanwhile, aims to be the world’s first smart nation — leveraging one of the world’s highest mobile and broadband penetration rates.

Why Asia is leading the way

India, great example of the need to transform cities and build new ones. India is building 100 cities from scratch, and is transforming 500 existing cities into smart cities.

China is on a fast pace as well, currently working on 285 smart city related projects. One of their most impressive projects is the building of Xiongan. Currently farmland, soon a complete new megacity, twice the size of New York City, about 100 kilometres south of Beijing. Goal is to take the pressure of the congested capital Beijing and to replicate the remarkable successes of Shenzhen and Pudong.

An example of good collaboration of public entities and private companies can be found in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. The city government has the help of one of the largest companies in the world, Alibaba, which has its headquarters in the city. The Chinese government is helping cities by including big companies in all their government programmes, like the creation of smart cities.

Alibaba and 13 other companies are now working with the local government on public private partnerships (PPP) to create smart service delivery systems for the city.

Another example: Singapore is building a Virtual Reality version of the city, enriched with all available data, which is now silo-ed up in various government departments.

It will be a unified 3D-model of the city, which should be finished end of the year. It will be like flying with a helicopter above the city, zooming in and out of buildings, sights, traffic etcetera, which gives you all relevant data in digital layers.

Last but not least. Let us not forget Japan and its Super Smart Society 5.0, the country that is building its own ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

Smart City As A Service

An other example why Asia is frontrunner in Smart city technologies. South Korea is using their knowledge and experience and created an export product out of it. Smart City as a service. For instance, India has asked the South Korean Land & Housing corporation (LH) to build a brand new smart city in the state of Maharashtra. On April 6, the plans for this project were approved by the Indian local assembly. The name of the city will be New Kalyan Smart City. And South Korea is doing the same in Kuwait.

In conclusion the report finds that there are a few must do’s for coming smart cities. Would-be smart cities must stay committed, collaborative and consistent, and emphasize community in order to thrive. Take note Asia, and the rest of the world.


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