Since 2013 when China set up the first batch of pilot smart cities, in the past six years, there are more than 700 cities applying for the construction of or under construction of smart city in China, which has become the country with the largest number and the fastest growth of smart cities in the world. Especially in 2019, which is called the first year of 5G commercialization, with the rapid development of related technologies such as cloud services, big data, and the Internet of Things, China’s urban intelligentization has stepped into a rapid development period.
Under such background, the Asia-Pacific Smart City Development Forum 2019 jointly hosted by the State Information Center and IDG Asia was grandly opened at Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center between November 14 and 15. The forum gathered nearly 100 experts in the field of smart city at home and abroad, who ardently discussed with the smart city managers and business representatives present at site, targeting one main forum “Smart Tech Recreation” and two parallel forums “Artificial Intelligence Promotions in Smart City Development” and “Speeding Industry and Urban Development with Digital Transformation”.
What are the opportunities and challenges encountered in the construction of China’s smart cities in rapid development? What kind of attitude shall we have towards smart cities in the future? What achievements have we made in China’s smart city construction? What have the city managers around the world done for the construction? The macroscopic issues most concerned by the participants were answered in the forum.
Every smart city may be unique. Sølve Fauskevåg, president of the Global Smart Society of Innovation Norway, expounded Norwegian adherence to the Viking-style pioneering spirit and their experience in smart city construction. Norway has established a national-level digitization department to vigorously promote the technical application in the AI field. Drew Stevenson, head of governmental enterprise and technology at Rockhampton in Australia, told us that even though they have only 0.138 square hectares of land area and mainly live on traditional industries such as animal husbandry and aquaculture, Rockhampton finds a way for intelligentization and insists on moving ahead. This shows that China and the other countries in the world attach great importance to smart cities, which are a new urban competitive high ground.
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The smart city construction is not only inseparable from the support of brand-new digital technologies but from the targeted solutions. Representatives from leading enterprises in the smart city industry such as Huawei, Alibaba Cloud, ZTE, and Ping An Smart City shared their latest ideas and research results.
Representative of Huawei said, to be a true city of 5G+AI application, the core challenge comes from data. The digitization of information relating to hundreds of thousands of households, ten millions of people, and thousands of square kilometers and effective aggregation are in need of the new wide-area wireless connection technology represented by 5G. Large bandwidth and low latency provide a broader space for the deployment of entire data governance and computing power. Huawei has also developed a “Fertile Land”-type open digital platform, which is not owned by a certain company or department, but aimed at integrating all industry partners for joint creation based on the cloud and relevant integrated new ICT technologies.
Representative of ZTE also strongly acknowledged the importance of 5G technology for smart city construction in the future. He believes that the smart city construction in the future requires 4 major elements, namely, “a global intelligent data collection network, pan-loaded information network, intelligent information, and an open application system”, and the urban data private network with 4G/5G integrated mobile broadband will become the top priority of ZTE’s next stage of smart city construction.
How capable is the brain of a smart city backed by high-speed network connection technology and the cloud? Tang Rixin, vice president of the Digital Government Business Department of Alibaba, shared in many cases the experience of Alibaba Cloud to build a digital city based on the city brain. In his view, the so-called “Future City” has actually arrived, and the management of a new type of city is multi-threaded. In Hangzhou and Wuhan, the city brain has been connected to hospitals where an online approach is used to realize one-stop service from registration to medical treatment, and even the “paying after treatment” mode is enabled. In the security process of the 70th anniversary military parade, the city brain’s autonomous dispatch increased the traffic efficiency of the site of activity by 40%. In Shanghai, supported by the city brain, UAVs can conduct uninterrupted inspections of the entire coastline. From the single scenario of traffic at the beginning, to about thirty or forty scenarios at present, the brain of the smart city has become more and more capable.
Representative of Ping An Smart City presented his views by numerous interesting artificial intelligence application cases in smart cities. For example, the approach of micro-expression identification system to help the customs to increase the contrabandist identification rate by 48% in two months, the AI hygienic identification system that can know whether there is mouse travel at night… “Artificial intelligence also functions in phases due to lack of computing power and data size, which results in the valley capacity. However, with the advent of cloud computing, artificial intelligence has entered a new stage of development. Application of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, cloud computing and blockchain can greatly improve the efficiency of the city and enhance the user experience.”
How do we clarify the context of China’s Smart City construction? Perhaps we can get answers from the consensus reached by the guests in the high-level dialogue of the forum: Intelligent data technology to serve as a driving force for urban governance will make the whole city become more precise, while the construction of smart city is technically far from the bottleneck period. The biggest challenge is how to combine the best and most advanced technology with the urban management.
On November 14, the results of the most eye-catching Asia-Pacific Smart City 2019 were unveiled. Eight categories of awards, including “Asia-Pacific Leading Smart City 2019”, “Asia-Pacific Leading Smart City Vendor 2019”, “China Leading Smart City 2019”, “China Leading Smart Urban District 2019”, “China Leading Demonstration Zone of Smart Urban District 2019, “China Smart City Leading Vendor 2019″,”Single Technology Category” and “Major Sub-market Category” were grandly issued that evening.
The winners of the most focused “Asia-Pacific Leading Smart City 2019” are: Pusan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Newcastle of Australia, Rockhampton of Australia, Shenzhen, Singapore, Suzhou, Taipei, and Wellington of New Zealand.
In addition, dozens of domestic cities and urban districts have won the honors of “China Leading Smart City 2019” and “China Leading Smart Urban District 2019”. Nearly 100 outstanding smart cities and urban districts at home and abroad have jointly demonstrated the genuine intelligent life, shared advanced construction concepts, and shown the latest trends in smart city construction in China and even the world.
It is understood that the evaluation was jointly initiated by IDG Asia and industry experts. After months of intense evaluation, the current most representative smart city examples and the most powerful smart city solution providers in the Asia-Pacific region were shown to the public. From the most authoritative evaluation list, we have seen the most beautiful profile of smart city, and deeply felt that the future development of China’s smart city is hopeful.