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Ho Chi Minh City zeroes in on becoming regional AI hub

The Vice-Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Duong Anh Duc, recently approved a programme on artificial intelligence (AI) research and development in the city for the 2020-2030 period.

It aims to make the city a hub for AI research, implementation, and technology transfer in Vietnam and among the leading such facilities in Southeast Asia at large. Nine projects and tasks will be carried out to 2030, with a detailed timeline. AI is hoped to play a major role in building innovative urban areas and smart city development in the southern metropolis, facilitating sustainable economic growth.

According to a press release, HCM City aims to complete a portal for AI solutions and conduct a survey on demand for the application and development of the technology for 2021-2022. It has set a target of concluding projects on building digital infrastructure and AI-related policies and establishing centres for AI research, technology transfer, and human resources between 2021 and 2025. A day for information technology and AI businesses will be assigned in the time to come.

The HCM City Department of Information and Communications will be the coordinator of the programme. The budget will come from the city and sectors in science-technology, along with social sources.

The city is also working to develop more 5G products to meet the demand, which has been growing since the successful launch of 5G piloting programmes by Vietnam’s three major mobile network providers Viettel, VinaPhone, and MobiFone.

During a recent interview, the Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Information and Communications, Le Quoc Cuong, explained that the programmes have opened the door for the city’s IT businesses to develop corresponding apps that use the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI. It is expected that more and more software pieces in the field of healthcare, traffic, and education will be introduced to the public shortly.

Currently, HCM City has nearly 10,600 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) for 3G and 4G networks, ensuring the quality of calls and Internet access on mobile devices for users. Based on this, the city will be able to help telecom businesses install the 5G network in 2021. The new BTS for 5G will be eco-friendly and modern and will be shared among related businesses.

However, Deputy Director Cuong mentioned that not all areas in HCM City are the focus of 5G development. The priority should be in places like Saigon Hi-tech Park and the urban areas near Vietnam National University – HCMC, where high interactions and real-time communications are vital.

The municipal authorities encourage IT enterprises to invest money and labor in developing applications for smart traffic, construction management, environment monitoring, and tasks in the city’s AI programmes. State agencies can then hire available apps or order new ones to use.

The Deputy Director noted that the availability of the digital infrastructure is a critical factor that decides the success of both the digital transformation process and the creation of a smart urban area. Therefore, the city needs to make sufficient investment in this field to be ready for the use of 5G technology in forming internet connections and accessing data. These investments include a wider coverage of 4G and 5G networks, appropriate telecom equipment, powerful computers, and useful software.

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