Ho Chi Minh City should learn from major cities in developed countries on how to become a smart city, an international conference was told on Friday.
Nearly 200 delegates from Thailand, the US, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, discussed ways the largest city in Vietnam could become a smart city.
David Koh, a Singaporean researcher at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, told HCM City officials: “Open your door to technologies that can help you build a smart city,” he said. “A smart city is desired all over the world because of a few imperatives: greenness, competition and efficiency.”
The process to achieve a smart city can take many years. However, even though a smart city will rely heavily on technology, it might ignore or sideline the human element on which development should be centered, Koh said.
“All of us are familiar with an SMS sent from one room to the next when a brief walk to talk to the person would do,” he said.
Smart cities are driven by data collection from different types of sources, including coordination and integration of dates and deliveries to consumers, and monitoring of public services.
The success of smart cities will come from the will of the government to bring resources of different departments and interests to bear on development.
Good governance is the most important factor in achieving efficiency, Koh said.
He noted that Singapore had always been on the cutting edge of trends, especially technology, which had been important in its success and business growth.
Nguyễn Thành Trung, vice chairman of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee in HCM City, said the city aimed to become a smart city in the near future by implementing IoT (the Internet of Things), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data.
The city faced challenges such as flooding, traffic jams, unstable competitiveness, inadequate infrastructure, and limited resources for development, among others, he said.
To become a smart city, HCM City should develop an open data ecosystem and build a centre for the simulation of forecasts for development strategies, as well as an information security and safety centre, Trung said.
Healthcare, food safety, and social order and safety will all benefit from a smart city approach.
“It’s also important to raise residents’ awareness so they can prepare and adapt to live in a smart city,” he said.
Phan Thị Hồng Xuân, dean of the Faculty of Urban Studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said under a government plan, HCM City would become “a civilised, modern and humane city” with a high quality of life.
Under the plan, the city’s Districts 2 and 9 will be developed into “creative urban areas”.
Besides Singapore, the city should learn from the experiences of Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai in building smart cities, she said.
Philippe Leonard, executive director of Smart Cities Council of Europe, said: “A smart city is not a technological issue. It’s about using technology to make a city smarter. A smart city improves the quality of life.”
"Smart cities have residents who embrace creativity and an inclusive society and advanced education," he told delegates at the conference in Ho Chi Minh City.
"Such cities also include smart mobility [clean and non-motorised options], smart economy [innovative entrepreneurship], smart government [application of ICT and e-Government] and smart living [green planning and building and green energy]," he added.
Singapore targets becoming a smart nation by 2030, Seoul by 2030, Bangkok by 2032, Kuala Lumpur by 2020, and Shanghai by 2050.
Top European smart cities include London, Paris, Amsterdam, Geneva and Copenhagen.
The seminar, held in Ho Chi Minh City, was organised by the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Việt Nam Union of Friendship Organisations, Việt Nam-Southeast Asia Friendship Association and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities.