Smart City, a smart solution for all

Exploring cities around the world that are labeled as smart city. Each aspect of city development aims to meet the need of its citizen as well as businesses across all industries.

Executive Summary

Many cities around the world have been developed to be better and smarter. A lot of technology has been implemented into cities and transform them into what we call “smart city”. For example, in New York, the city has enhanced the mobility by using real-time traffic information to ease the congestion and improve traffic flow by prioritizing public transportation through signalized intersections. In term of smart governance, Singapore constructed the virtual Singapore platform from open data policy which can be used by everyone for testing, planning or research. Regarding smart living, Phuket has created a safe environment for tourists with IoT, mobile services and data analytics to inform tourists and local police about incidences in the city. These improvements in smart city are beneficial to many industries including MICE as a lot of infrastructures have been built to facilitate businesses in various aspects such as logistic and safety. For instance, a collaborative data platform can simulate crowd movement for MICE organizer or enhanced public safety can ensure confidence for MICE traveler.

Key Takeaways for MICE:

  • In Singapore, the government focused on its open data policy to create virtual Singapore platform, a 3D city model, for everyone to test, plan and research the application of products or services.
  • New York speeds up the travel time of public buses by attaching a sensor at traffic lights in each intersection which is able to automatically change traffic lights when the bus approach.
  • In term of smart living, Phuket installed more than 2,000 surveillance cameras for security purpose which cover most public areas to recognize people face and match with a police database according to Eden Strategy Institute, a strategy consulting firm specializing in Business System Innovation.
  • According to Good Travel Management, the UK business travel management company, public safety and mobility are two important factors that affect the decision of business traveler, which they can be enhanced through smart city development.

Smart City around the World

Smart city 1: New York, United States

The city of New York has been developed into a smart city for years. It was transformed with smarter solution regarding the issues of its residents. One of them is the traffic congestion in the downtown area. Therefore, the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has established “Midtown in Motion” project, a smart city solution for traffic management. It helps monitor and respond to various traffic conditions by using real-time traffic flow information collected from microwave sensors, traffic video camera and EZPass readers. All data are transmitted directly to DOT’s traffic management center which enable officers to identify congestion issues and adjust signal timing accordingly. As a result, the project was able to decrease the overall travel time in the city by 10%. Later on, the city has extended its effort into public transit by initiating Transit Signal Priority (TSP) project, an urban traffic management that enhances the efficiency of bus transit. Public buses were equipped with TSP system that can request to change the traffic light signal as they move toward signalized intersections. As a result, the delay of bus transit has been reduced by 20% which made public bus becomes more attractive choice of transportation. Besides the traffic congestion, there are many other projects that enhance the city, for instance, a real-time gunshot detection that immediately alerts the police with the video feeds from the incident area, a smart trashcan that detects trash level and notifies the sanitation service to empty the bin, a water quality monitoring system that automatically informs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) when there is any contamination, etc.

Smart city 2: London, United Kingdom

London is becoming the smart city with 20 projects to tackle various urban challenges. One of many interesting projects is the “London Connected” program. It aims to improve the digital connectivity of the entire city with full optic fiber coverage allowing its citizen as well as businesses to access to affordable gigabit-capable connection which can boost the productivity up to 10 percent according to Connected London team. Moreover, the program was also prepared to support the 5G connectivity, which could enable more smart-unit deployment in the city since a lot of smart units should be deployed with 5G technology. Apart from the London Connected program, there are other projects that help transform London into smarter city including lamp posts that embed with air quality sensors, the “RE:CODE” and “Skills for Londoners Strategy” program to improve digital capability of its citizen, the quality’s enhancement of public Wi-Fi on the streets, and the London Office for Data Analytics (LODA) program to promote data sharing and collaboration between public, academic and technology sectors.

Smart city 3: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The city of Dubai was planned to become the smartest city of the future. The government is currently making progress on many futuristic projects that are going to improve the quality of life for both residents and visitors. First, the Dubai’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab. It is the research and development center for AI application in a variety of government services such as a Robocop, a robot officer that help patrol around the busy areas and monitor on unusual activities. Second, the Dubai Blockchain Strategy. It is the strategy to utilized blockchain technology to keep all government data and create record for all transactions in digital form which will transform Dubai government into paperless government. The benefits are not only saving more than billion sheets of paper, but also increasing in government efficiency by saving more than 25 million man-hours per year. Third, a Volocopter. It is an autonomous air taxi with two seats designed to be a unique alternative of transportation that can move from skyscrapers to skyscrapers. The rooftop of buildings will be built with infrastructure that supports as a landing zone for the air taxi. Forth, a jetpack-equipped firefighter. It is a jetpack that use water pressure to move and lift the firefighter. It allows the firefighter to utilize the city’s waterways to tackle the fire as emergency units have always suffered from the heavy traffic. Moreover, Dubai still has a lot of projects that are under construction to be a part of smart city such as Dubai’s mega solar park which will generate 5,000 megawatts by 2030, Dubai Creek Tower, the tallest tower in the world for broadcast and observation, Mars on Terra, a gigantic dome covering 1.9 million square feet to research and develop in space technology and many more.

Smart City in Asia

Smart city 4: Singapore

Singapore was transformed into smart city under the Smart Nation strategy. One of the key strategies emphasizes on building the digital government services that empowered with digital technology. The major digital government service is the open data platform. It is the government’s one-stop portal which enables everyone to share and contribute data as well as making all data sets available and accessible for the public so that anyone can participate and co-create a solution that could benefit the society. Another example of digital government service is the Virtual Singapore. It is a dynamic 3D digital platform that allows the public, businesses, government and researcher to develop a solution by running simulations of a large-scale Singapore’s city model. With the rich data environment creating from open data policy, the Virtual Singapore is able to simulate many experimentations such as examining the coverage area of ICT infrastructures or predicting the crowed movement pattern with geo-localized information. Besides, there are plenty of subprojects that help build Singapore smart city, for example, Business Grants Portal for business to apply government funds and comply with regulatory requirements, on-demand autonomous shuttles to be an alternative traveling method, Smart Gravitraps to monitor mosquito population, OneService to resolve all related-municipal cases, etc.

Smart city 5: Seoul, South Korea

Seoul smart city was designed to be a citizen-oriented digital city by integrating the latest technology such as bigdata to create better government services. For instance, the city wanted to set up the late-night bus routes, but it has limited drivers and budget as well as do not know where passengers want to go. So, the city analyzed more than 3 billion taxi-call data, which are location of phone call and phone billing address, between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM then derived with the best 9 bus lines for late-night services. Moreover, the city has established the Gaepo Digital Innovation Park (GDIP) consisting of 3 main functions which are a research center to challenge urban problems, an innovation center to incubate new startups, and a gathering space for both in-door and out-door activities. GDIP has served as a place for “Citizen Engagement” programs allowing citizens to participate and do a joint research about urban issues then develop and deliver the specific solution with the interactive process via testbed, living lab and seminar before applying in the real city.

Smart city 6: Phuket, Thailand

Because Phuket is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, the Phuket’s smart city development focuses on enhancing its booming tourism sector. The development mainly aims for creating a safe environment for tourists with IoT, data analytics and mobile services. The city installed more than 2,000 surveillance cameras for security purpose which cover most public areas according to Eden Strategy Institute, a strategy consulting firm specializing in Business System Innovation. Each surveillance camera automatically tags and recognize people face then matches with a police database that integrates with data analytic platform and can notify the police when an emergency happens. Phuket has also extended it safety concern to the sea by sharing it tourist database with the yacht service to track the tourists when they board the ship. Moreover, the government launched mobile applications including “Smart Phuket” and “Police i lert u” which allow citizen to report incidences and request for help. Apart from creating the safety environment, Phuket generated the consumer’s insights by analyzing tourist’s demographic data collected from approximately 1,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots around the city. As a result, the local businesses are able to utilize these insights for more targeted marketing strategy.

Smart City’s benefits to MICE industry

The development of smart city can enhance the quality of life for local people and tourists in many ways as well as facilitate businesses across all industries. MICE industry also gains various benefits, depending on aspects of smart city development which are explained as follows:

  • Smart mobility is the city development in traffic systems and intelligent transportation which help reduce travel time, improve safety and increase flexibility. For MICE stakeholders, especially business travelers, the enhancement of traffic condition like New York’s smart traffic condition or the alternative mode of transportation like Dubai’s autonomous air taxi could prevent the frustration from stuck in the middle of a traffic as every second that wastes on the road might cost a loss on priceless business opportunity. Moreover, according to Good Travel Management, the UK business travel management company, mobility is the important factor that affect the decision of business traveler to travel to the real location. Therefore, smart mobility in smart city will create a better environment that suitable for holding a variety of MICE activities.
  • Smart living takes the quality of people life into account and concerns around creating good health and safe environment. Safety and security are vital factors that affect the sentiment of tourists including MICE travelers because nobody want to travel to the place that has a high level of crime. A smart city such as Phuket and New York with high coverage of surveillance cameras integrated with data analytic platform can prevent crime and build the confidence for all visitors. Furthermore, the improvement in the quality of life in smart city like Seoul late-night bus services can meet the need of specific citizen group. If the bus service adjusts to the context of MICE, it can be created by using MICE-related data to help facilitate all MICE travelers.
  • Smart people means the city that develops knowledge and skills of its citizen and creates an openness for public participation. A smart city like London has provided programs to increase digital capability of its citizen, which skilled people are also important in MICE industry in order to utilize various types of technology such as data analytic platform for event management, streaming software or AR/VR equipment to provide a better service.
  • Smart governance refers to the city development on government service system to facilitate residents along with businesses. The transformation of government like Dubai Blockchain Strategy helps, regarding transaction, improve the business efficiency and saving cost which MICE activities such as trade fairs can exploit. In addition, a government service system similar to Singapore’s open data platform enables MICE organizers to have insight on a variety of fields, for instance, citizen demographic, transit routes, infrastructure location, etc.
  • Smart economy in the city is created by making use of technology to add more value in products and services. For MICE industry, the empowerment of city with advanced technology like London Connected program preparing for 5G network will unlock new services for MICE activities such as live holographic call or Cloud AR/VR streaming which both are required 5G technology to be able to operate smoothly. Consequently, it can heighten audience’ experience and allow MICE organizer to be able to provide a higher quality of service in MICE business.
  • Smart environment aims to consider impact on the environment and use technology to help manage systematically. As a bad environment in cities such as fine dust or contaminated water might negatively affect the health of all people, MICE traveler will more likely avoid traveling to these places. Smart environment solution in smart cities similar to New York and London can handle these environmental issues to ensure the confidence of all people, and if the city cannot prevent the bad environment, it can warn everyone before the issues do harm to people’s health. Besides, smart environment regarding waste management like New York is also beneficial to MICE organizers as it helps make waste disposal in MICE activities easier to h