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Building Hanoi into a smart city in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
25/3/2019 9:21' Send Print
Illustration photo. Photo: VNA

Building a smart city is an essential demand

With the explosion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the trend of building smart city has become an inevitable mode of urban development, especially for big cities in the world as well as in Vietnam, particularly those with rapid urbanization like Hanoi. On 1 August 2016, the Prime Minister approved the Project on Vietnam Sustainable Smart Urban Development in the period of 2018-2025, according to which by 2020 at least 3 urban areas will have their masterplans on smart urban development approved and invest in infrastructure and application of smart urban utilities. The project is the basis for Hanoi city to study, develop plan and roadmap for smart urban development.

Hanoi capital is now considered a megacity in terms of area and population. Rapid urbanization and population growth have resulted in problems in planning, transportation, security, health, education, energy, housing development, environmental pollution treatment, among others. The need to build a smart city which ensures sustainable development, convenience, safety and friendliness is becoming increasingly urgent. The application of new and key technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to be an effective solution to meet the need.

The smart city has the main characteristics of a modern city with a digital economy, a smart environment, administration, transportation, energy, healthcare, education, and many other smart factors. There, information and communication technology (IoT in applications, telecommunications networks (Wifi, 4G/5G), smart phones, big data and analytical systems using artificial intelligence) are applied, making the construction, management and development the city more efficient and smart, providing services and utilities to people and businesses, contributing to improving the quality of life, the competitiveness of the economy. Building a people- and business-centered smart city aiming at improving people’s life, is a consistent view of Hanoi authority in the process of building Hanoi into a smart city.

The goals of building the smart city of Hanoi

- Develop e-government as a core to build a smart city, create the most favorable conditions for people and businesses in communicating with government agencies, gradually improve the quality of life of people on the basis of selecting the most essential areas to improve, namely environment, healthcare, education, transport, safety and security, tourism, urban management, among others

- Build the infrastructure for the smart city with a monitoring and operating center focusing on connecting to telecommunications and IoT infrastructure, receiving and processing information flows in social life of the city, formulating information and big data systems, integrating, exploiting and providing visual information to help leaders make timely, accurate decisions.

- Form a centralized science and technology transfer zone and build a nursery for startup businesses to actively participate in industrialization, modernization and construction of Hanoi smart city.

- Strengthen the training of high quality information technology human resources for smart city development. Strengthen communication and promotion to raise awareness of the community about smart city benefits and actively participate in building and operating smart cities.

The smart city development roadmap of Hanoi is divided into 3 phases of development:

Phase 1, to 2020: Form basic core components of smart city, including infrastructure (broadband telecommunications network, sensor system, surveillance camera, security and information safety, data center); core databases (residence, land, business); partially complete the construction of e-government of Hanoi; build smart systems in essential areas, such as education, healthcare, transport, tourism, social and environmental safety.

Phase 2, from 2021 to 2025: basically complete smart systems in socio-economic fields; people actively participate in managing and developing social development policies; information, databases become basic resources in social development, forming the digital economy.

Phase 3, post 2025: Hanoi will develop at a high level with the characteristics of the knowledge economy.

Hanoi builds a smart city based on digital technology

Building on international experiences, specific characteristics, Hanoi also identifies that building a smart urban area is an important content of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is necessary to use information and communication technology (ICT) and other facilities to improve competitiveness, innovation, creativeness, transparency, streamlining, effectiveness and management efficiency of urban administrations, improving the efficiency of land use, energy and resources development, the quality of urban living environment, stimulating economic growth and socio-economic development . Besides, smart city is built based on scientific and technological advances, application of modern and synchronous technologies, ensuring technology neutrality, compatibility with many platforms, ensuring network information, cyber security and personal information protection, synchronization between technological and non-technological solutions.

Hanoi has developed a strategy and roadmap to build smart city by 2025, with a vision to 2030 and the project of "The smart city ICT architecture for Hanoi," which sets out the tasks of building secure digital infrastructure, encourages open data to promote innovative entrepreneurial startups, helps businesses reduce costs, expands business cooperation opportunities in the digital economy. Ensure all citizens enjoy public services quickly and conveniently on a wide range of digital information infrastructure. Strengthen security, social order and safety, prevent and combat crimes.

Information systems for managing major urban technical and service infrastructures are will also be digitized, linked and shared among sectors; enhance people's participation to improve local administration’s forecasting, effective and effective management capacity. Develop online environment monitoring and warning systems (water, air, noise, soil, waste), systems for collecting and analyzing environmental data to enhance the capacity of forecasting, prevention, emergency and proactive response to climate change.

In order to build a smart city, Hanoi started to realize the goal of developing an e-government. The Hanoi People's Committee has oriented the establishment of an comprehensive and synchronous information technology system for general use throughout the city; shifting from scattered to centralized deployment, prioritizing outsourcing IT services. Hanoi sets out to build a sustainable smart, convenient, safe, and friendly city to all people based on key technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing technology, virtual reality technology.

Hanoi has promoted international cooperation and exchange in the field of information technology. The city’s leaders have actively worked with foreign businesses to build the country’s largest data center complexes in Hanoi, including six data center complexes with a total capacity of 1,200MW. Hanoi’s authority has exchanged experience with the world’s leading IT corporations, signed cooperation agreements with Microsoft Corporation, Dell Technology Group on building e-government and smart city.

Besides applying information technology, the city has focused on developing information technology industry as a foundation for stepping up information technology application. In the coming time, the city will focus on building infrastructure and putting a software park into operation, continuing to attract investment in the city's concentrated information technology parks.

Bringing about convenience, safety and friendliness to all people

The answer to the questions of what problems to be solved when building the smart city of Hanoi is the city wants that the smart city will bring about convenience, safety and friendliness for ever citizen based on key technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Therefore, to build a smart city, the consistent view of the city government is to consider people as a center, helping all members of society benefit and participate in the investment, supervision and management of smart urban areas.

Stemming from practical requirements, Hanoi city is focusing on prioritizing the implementation of information systems, core and specialized databases in the direction of concentration, integration in data centers and data formation. Big data; ensure the city data connection and sharing with national databases as prescribed. Up to now, the basic components of the city's e-government which include State Data Center; Wide area networks (WANs) connect to 100% of departments, departments, districts, towns and communes, wards; electronic communication portal of the city, online public service portal have been formed; information systems and core databases; systems and solutions for information safety and security; information technology infrastructure at the city's state agencies is being finalized.

Currently, Hanoi city has been deploying the application of information technology in the locality in a systematic and cautious way to create a premise for the construction of a smart city. The city has developed plans to digitize all existing data, build infrastructure for the application of public services to the people and businesses as well as for management and administration. Hanoi has also developed core databases for the city's administration, such as population, land database, among others. The city has built and deployed information systems on a uniform, shared, unified app. platform, facilitating connection, exchange and data sharing.

The city has opened and continued maintaining the DVC Portal to provide online services at level 3, 4 and by the end of 2018, integrated specialized Government digital signatures. In 2018, the city completed 55% of online administrative procedures at level 3, 4. It strives to have 100% online public services at level 3 and 4 by the end of 2019; coordinate and unify payment mechanisms for city's public services to reduce costs. Online public services at level 3 and 4 recorded high number of yearly transactions (50% in 2016, 94% in 2017 and 94% in 2018). The city continues to maintain online registration of newly-established business at the rate of 100%, e-customs 100%, electronic tax declaration and social insurance over 98%.

Online public services relating to birth and death certification, death and burial assistance have been effective and ensure progress , saving about VND 5-6 billion per year). Building on the result of pilot operation of electronic one-stop-shop services, the city has rolled out the services to 30 people's committees of districts, towns and 584 communes, wards from 26 October 2016.

In the field of education, the city has successfully implemented online entrance enrollment into preschools, grades 1 and 6. The percentage of online registration to all 3 levels in 2018 increased compared to the previous years. It was 55.7% in 2016, 70.6% in 2017 and 78.5% in 2018 (of which preschools 86.24%, grade 1 86.75 % and grade 6 66.93%). At the same time, the city continues using electronic performance filing, online enrollment, electronic communication books, and management of primary education performance.

In the area of urban transport, Hanoi has built and put into operation the Center for Urban Traffic Management and Operation for many years with over 500 camera installed on main routes to monitor traffic and provide sanction of violations. Traffic light system has connected 179 points. The city also deployed itinerary management application on more than 100 bus routes 1,600 buses, enabling bus companies to manage and operate the bus network, providing accurate information for people on their route. In 2018, the city implemented a project to support the development of a ticket system for public transport in Hanoi with non-refundable aid from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); put into operation a software to manage repair and maintenance of road infrastructure in Hanoi. The city is currently finalizing smart transport scheme, concentrating on digitizing infrastructure and transport means, building software and applications for traffic management and handling violations automatically.

The city has piloted and continues to expand iParking app that permits searching for and paying for car parking. Up to now, there have been 165 iParking locations in Hanoi. In the coming time, the city will develop management regulations and propose to use electronic invoices for the entire system; pilot the bus rapid transit (BRT) e-ticket; pilot the handling of violations through surveillance system by camera at Giap Bat bus terminal.

In the field of agriculture, the city is piloting a quick response (QR) code plastering application to trace the origins of agricultural products in an effort to ensure fruit safety at stores in Hanoi. Up to now, 652 out of 941 stores (66%) are using QR code stamps, forming a number of chains linking production to consumption, developing brands, stamps, labels, packaging to for product identification.

Though Hanoi's healthcare is a three-layered system, it has always been overloaded, especially at the city level, due to large population. In order to improve healthcare and facilitate people’s medical examination and treatment, Hanoi has applied a system of electronic health records for more than 7.5 million citizens (as of now, 6,325,000 electronic health records have been established for people, achieving 82.2%); provided cancer screening and early detection to more than 2 million people over 40 years old ( 400,000 of them were screened free of charge); connected local hospitals, and linked medical examination and treatment with the health insurance system.

In the field of natural resources and environment, Hanoi has provided environmental monitoring information about air quality, water quality, rainfall, flooded area maps. The city is also implementing investment procedures to build a general system of cadastral files and database for its land management.

In the coming time, Hanoi will build some basic components of smart city, such as the Smart Operation Center, smart traffic system, and smart tourism. The smart traffic system includes traffic information system; public transport management system; traffic operation management system; traffic monitoring and handling of violations, smart traffic control and supervision center; complete digital databases for smart transportation system (including integrating existing databases and developing missing databases on infrastructure, means, users). Hanoi is also cooperating with FPT to build a digital traffic map to provide people and traffic management with information, a list of transport infrastructure equipment, such as bus stations, signs, integrated with public transport facilities in Hanoi city. The smart transport system of Hanoi city will be able to meet the requirements of providing information for traffic participants and state management agencies; traffic signal control system; monitoring and handling system of image violations; commanding software system-intelligent traffic management

Combining technology platform, people and financial resources is a need

The goal of smart urban development of Hanoi is carried out in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is happening rapidly with outstanding technologies, requiring appropriate steps to improve the quality of living environment for people, stimulate growth and socio-economic development. While developing the road map to build Hanoi into a smart city, the city sets aside certain resources from the city budget for implementation. However, Hanoi will mobilize resources from local information technology enterprises. The city will identify and classify public services. The strategy is the city will then delegate to the private sector services that it can provide. The returns will be mobilized by Hanoi to continue implementing the program of building a smart city.

The city will also maximally outsource information technology services of businesses, from Data Centers to security services as well as line leasing, software development. It can be said that Hanoi has shifted to mobilizing all resources, including financial resources and gray matter into building a smart city.

Therefore, in order to successfully build a smart city, in addition to the efforts of the city administration, the participation of businesses and communities is much needed. The city has paid attention to mobilizing investment resources, promoting international cooperation on technology transfer, experience and knowledge sharing through signing memoranda with many domestic and international corporations. Hanoi exchanged and signed MOUs with corporations and companies, such as Microsoft Vietnam, Viettel, VNPT, FPT, Nhat Cuong, among others on cooperation on the construction of e-government and smart city; invited Governments’ partners and American businesses to consultations on building monitoring and management centers, developing information technology apps in urban management, planning and digital mapping of land.

Building on experience gained, technology platforms gradually formed, existing human and financial resources, Hanoi is fully capable of building a smart city with the aim of bringing about convenience, safety and friendliness to all people.

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This article was
published in the Communist Review, No. 915 (January 2019)

Nguyen Duc Chung, Member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee, Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee