As medical technology advances, breakthroughs in diagnosing and treating various critical illnesses are achieved, and as the design of patient treatment plans becomes more precise and personalised, healthcare practitioners are expected to keep abreast of the latest developments to master the most sophisticated technologies.
In a cancer treatment team, members are specialised in their respective fields, yet they work together seamlessly to devise the most effective treatment for patients. One of the lesser-known of the specialists in such a team, the Medical Physicist, is responsible for formulating treatment plans, as well as monitoring and maintaining radiation equipment used to ensure the precise, effective and safe delivery of treatment.
Medical Physicists specialise in radiation treatment technology, with their expertise spanning from diagnostic imaging to radiotherapy, and they are “strong backers” of the cancer treatment team. However, a higher degree programme in Medical Physics was previously not available in Hong Kong or nearby regions.
To meet the future demand for Medical Physicists, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has, this academic year, launched the first Master of Science in Medical Physics (MScMP) programme in Hong Kong. The curriculum is designed to cover various aspects including health technology, physics and engineering, offering interdisciplinary training for professionals who are keen to pursue a career in the field of medical physics.
High demand for cancer treatment Creating local training opportunities
The ageing population in Hong Kong poses immense challenges to the local healthcare system and the rising demand for cancer treatment is one of them. To maintain the quality of healthcare services, it is essential to have more qualified professionals in the workforce.
There are about 150 Medical Physicists currently practising in Hong Kong, serving at the Hospital Authority as well as in public and private hospitals. They possess both physics and medical expertise, playing a vital role in diagnosis and the formulation of treatment plans, as well as ensuring proper operation of equipment to achieve the treatment goal.
The Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of PolyU stated with the advancement of technology and patients’ growing expectation of higher service standards, there is a need for the additional workforce. Besides those working on the frontline, experts in innovative health technology at the back-end to achieve effective treatment are needed. Thus the new masters programme in medical physics will both prepare students for a career in medical physics and help to promote the development of the field itself.
Leveraging interdisciplinary expertise Striving for the well-being of patients
Medical Physics is an interdisciplinary field that crosses the boundaries of medicine, physics and engineering. The Head of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics of PolyU pointed out that the demand for radiotherapy is ever-increasing.
In Hong Kong, cancer has long been the leading cause of death and radiotherapy plays a crucial role in cancer treatment. In the past, no dedicated master programme was offered by local institutions, and people have little understanding of the role of the Medical Physicist.
It is hoped that through this new programme, more people will understand the importance of medical physics and hence help to open new research areas in this field.
The programme leader and Professor of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, added that the programme is taught by an interdisciplinary team, striking a good balance between theory and practice by incorporating modules in health technology and informatics, applied physics, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering and computing. The aim is to broaden students’ perspectives in medical science and technology development and equip them with professional knowledge, relevant skillsets as well as research capabilities.
The Vice President (Education) of PolyU noted that the university is considering switching some of its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes from single-disciplinary to interdisciplinary, to better address societal needs. This new MScMP programme is a good example of PolyU’s interdisciplinary efforts. Thus, while students enrolled on this programme already have a bachelor’s degree in a specific discipline, they can acquire new professional knowledge in the areas of health technology, physics and engineering, and create a synergy of different subjects. This will provide a solid basis upon which they can develop a career in the field of healthcare.
Contribute to the community with medical physics knowledge
According to the President of the Hong Kong Association of Medical Physics half of the practising Medical Physicists in Hong Kong obtained a relevant higher degree overseas, while the other half pursued their master degree in physics or engineering in Hong Kong, and received “on-the-job” training while working as a Resident Physicist.
He is encouraged to see the launch of the first MScMP programme at PolyU, noting that Medical Physicists play a pivotal role in a medical team, although they spend most of their time behind the scenes, they are irreplaceable in the planning and implementation of cancer treatment. They are responsible for formulating treatment plans, calculating radiation doses, as well as testing and monitoring equipment to ensure that all arrangements are perfectly executed.
Currently, the minimum entry requirement for Resident Physicists in Hong Kong is a master degree in medical physics, physics or engineering-related subjects. While working as a Resident Physicist in a hospital, one can start taking a three-part professional examination. Generally speaking, it takes about four to five years to attain certified recognition as a Medical Physicist.
When initially established, most cantonments and military stations were built on the edge of existing towns and cities. Over time, as these places have developed, the military areas are now in the middle of major population centres. Consequently, the land that the army owns has increased astronomically, as real estate within is now a very scarce resource. As the Indian expands to accommodate its growing ranks and capacities, infrastructure development has gained significant importance in many of the Army stations where major works are planned to replace vintage accommodation of the pre-independence era.
Presently a majority of functions for infrastructure development and management, including ascertaining the availability of land, planning and monitoring of works, environment conservation and responsive quartering policies are carried out manually. The process is time-consuming and involves multiple agencies. Additionally, unstructured data, storage and diversity of records and permissions makes the procedure cumbersome and inefficient.
Accepting that automation is the key to empowering all stakeholders and goes a long way in making the process efficient, transparent and accountable, the Indian Army has deployed software to digitise the entire system. The “Infrastructure Management System” (IMS) software which was inaugurated by the COAS on the sidelines of the Army Commanders Conference on 28 October 2020. The platform has been developed to:
- automate works initiation, preparation of list and its approval by the Ministry of Defence
- accord administrative approval and monitoring of execution by the CFA
- automate availability of CAO pool accommodation, plan vacations, re-allocation and undertake maintenance
- automate approval of accommodation allocation/extension for children education ground, special children and battle/physical casualty
- manage cantonment roads including emergency closure
- make land, works and quartering policies available on line
- monitor land encroachment, Old Grant Bungalows, VIP references and transfer/exchange of land
This is one of the various measures the army has taken on its digital front. As part of the nation’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) vision, the Indian Army has developed a simple and secure messaging application named the “Secure Application for the Internet” (SAI).
The application supports end-to-end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platform over the internet. The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end to end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding which can be tweaked as per requirements.
The Ministry of Defence has reviewed the functionalities of the app and was impressed by the ingenuity it embodies.
The application has been vetted by CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group. The process for filing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), hosting the infrastructure on NIC and working on the iOS platform is currently in progress. SAI will be utilised pan Army to facilitate secure messaging within the service.
These initiatives come in the backdrop of significant tech-enabled developments by the army. Notably, the indigenously developed Laser-Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test-fired at the start of October. The ATGM employs a tandem HEAT warhead to penetrate Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles up to a range of 1.5 to 5 km.
Developed by Armament R&D Establishment (ARDE), Pune in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE), Dehradun, the ATGM has multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from 120 mm rifled gun of MBT Arjun.
In the same week, the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) was effectively tested. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.
All the mission objectives including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, the release of torpedo and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) were met perfectly.
The tracking stations (radars, electro-optical Systems) along the coast and the telemetry stations including down range ships monitored all the events.
A cloud-first strategy directs organisations to deliver applications and services from a cloud computing platform first before considering any on-premise alternatives.
While several considerations – like the threat of a data breach or data loss – could cause concern from using the cloud in sensitive industries, such as finance, the growing consensus is that a cloud-first approach has considerable advantages and in many cases is more secure for organisations than trying to protect their own infrastructure.
The New Zealand government Cloud-First requires its agencies to use public cloud services and to accelerate their adoption of public cloud services, in a balanced way, so they can drive digital transformation. This includes:
- enhancing customer experiences
- streamlining operations
- creating new delivery models
With massive investments made into digital infrastructure by major global software companies, hyperscale cloud providers are keen to make their services available in New Zealand. These developments could prove to be a ‘game-changer’ for the nation’s digital transformation journey. Hyperscale cloud and sophisticated infrastructure would have a significant impact on digital maturity and accelerate the use of cloud in government.
To support and guide these developments, the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is working collaboratively with partner functional leads to chalk out a detailed strategy to update policy and system settings for cloud technology. This will include new guidance for the use of cloud by government agencies.
Developing an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence
The New Zealand government cloud programme supports public service agencies to accelerate the use and benefits of cloud in line with government’s policy.
Under the Cloud-First policy, government organisations are required to use public cloud services as the go-to strategy. They are required to adopt these services individually for the various services and offerings on hand after assessing all possible issues. The Cloud First policy requires government organisations to:
- adopt public cloud services in preference to traditional IT systems
- make adoption decisions on a case-by-case basis following a risk assessment
- only store data classified as RESTRICTED or below in a cloud service, whether it is hosted onshore or offshore
The focus for the 2 years will be to establish an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence, that would support agencies to successfully execute well-designed and governed cloud migrations. Currently, the Digital Public Service branch is working actively with agencies to assist them with their cloud adoption planning and to facilitate collaboration on common cloud-related challenges.
Cloud programme partnerships
The programme will also specifically explore engaging with cloud providers to refresh and continually improve New Zealand’s access to cloud services. Where necessary, public service policies will be adjusted suitably and will a range of agreed ‘Lighthouse’ innovation partnerships will be progressed.
These partnerships, early in their lifecycle, are in the areas of education, environment, business and land. The overseeing agencies will determine how best to couple hyperscale cloud with advanced technologies to deliver solutions that would have significant national impact.
To build further capability and capacity for these initiatives the DPS branch will be recruiting key positions for the programme.
The DPS also encourages digital innovation through its Digital Government Partnership Innovation Fund (DGP). The fund is a $5 million contestable fund that invests in digital and data innovation. It provides an opportunity for government organisations to collaborate and invest in early-stage, cross-agency pilots and prototypes. It’s administered by the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs.
Any proposed initiative under the fund should also demonstrate innovation (the fund is not for business-as-usual), cross-agency collaboration, benefits to the public service or sector that will support transformation and must align with relevant standards, such as the NZ Government Digital Service Design Standard.
The Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs is also engaging with a selection of government organisations this month to get feedback on the current and future states of digital standards maintenance and development.
This work will result in an implementation plan and roadmap for standards which will be released to all public sector organisations for consultation in early December 2020.
A firm under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced the launch of a new solution. The innovation is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.
The solution, called VR Fire Drill Training, is a disaster training device that can simulate disaster escape from a fire scene in VR (virtual reality) environment, suitable for people over 13 years old.
Information can be obtained through the VR experience which includes:
- Interactions with blurry surroundings in the event of a fire (black smoke)
- Users’ ability to follow the emergency lighting instructions to determine the correct escape route
- A simulation where users squat down and walk as much as possible to the nearest escape
- Alerts to remind users to not breathe directly, use a (wet) handkerchief or towel to cover their mouth and nose
Summary of experience:
- In the virtual experience, users will experience how to escape in a building full of black smoke and fire
- From the VR head-mounted display, they can experience a 360-degree realistic scene
- The viewing angle can be moved by the controller (the experience takes about 3 minutes)
The solution was designed to be applied in the areas of City Management as well as Environment.
The solution employs Virtual Reality.
The use of virtual reality to imitate fire situations to conduct fire escape drills can reduce the time for implementing real fire drills. For example, government departments do not need to leave the workplace. Users can take turns using portable VR devices to experience fire situations and learn how to escape skills. It can also be used in schools, gymnasiums and commercial organizations, etc.
Propelling CEM technology
According to Everbridge, a critical event is a disruptive incident which poses serious risk or threat to assets or people. An effective Critical Event Management program and strategy is an integrated, end-to-end process that enables organizations to significantly speed up responses to critical events and improve outcomes by mitigating or eliminating the impact of a threat.
This means business continuity, disaster recovery, active assailant, emergency response, natural disaster, IT incident risk management, and mass notification are all rolled up into an easy-to-execute, strategic plan with long-term benefits.
The aforementioned solution is an example of a Critical Event Management solution. A CEM platform uses technology to take manual processes and automate them. Amplifying ad hoc data feeds to provide richer intelligence and correlating threats with locations of assets and people, ensures more rapid and comprehensive incident assessment and remediation.
Critical event management has come to the fore with the pandemic. Forecasting, planning and management of critical events help organisations and authorities prevent disruption of life and damage to property.
Governments rely on several, specific systems for critical event management. Such programmes are essential to national well-being especially with the increase in natural disasters. But, more often than not, they operate in isolation of each other. According to world experts in Critical Event Management – Everbridge, this siloed approach can create duplication in information and processes, data contradictions and, when unchecked, could lead to loss of life and damages.
Everbridge’s software automates the key steps for responding to a critical event. It aggregates threat data from third-party and internal sources so customers can assess risk, and locate people and assets at risk and those needed to respond.
It then enables customers to act by executing pre-defined processes based on the type of threat for who should be contacted and how what message to send, and who to escalate to if a responder is not available.
Everbridge’s platform then sends out notifications and instructions via text, voice, email—over 100 modalities—in 15 languages as needed, organizes conference bridges for people to collaborate, and analyzes return messages. Automating these steps enables them to be completed quickly, highly reliably and at scale at a time when minutes often matter.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry believes digital technology, such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is it is critical to boosting the productivity of the manufacturing sector, including small and medium industries (IKM) during the pandemic and the new normal thereafter. Such tech deployment would be in accordance with the Making Indonesia 4.0 roadmap.
Director-General of Small, Medium and Miscellaneous Industries (IKMA) of the Ministry of Industry, Gati Wibawaningsih in Jakarta acknowledged that the pandemic had become a global issue for business, especially with the necessary social restrictions. Implementation of distancing normas has caused a shift in lifestyle, work models and business methodology.
In order to reduce the impact of the pandemic, the Ministry of Industry is looking at ways to maintain the activities of domestic business actors by utilising Cloud Computing and IoT based technology platforms. According to Gati, the development of digital technology has led to the creation of many breakthroughs for the manufacturing industry.
The advantages of these two technologies are considered useful in maintaining the business continuity of the IKM sector. Gati conceded that such technology would have a big impact on the SME sector business, especially during this pandemic.
The benefits of using cloud computing range from digital security to network, data centres and capable servers. Additionally, the use of IoT systems will easily interconnect technology, information and communication.
To accelerate the adoption of digital technology in the industrial sector, Gati urged cloud computing and IoT technology providers to support the production process more. This collaboration would be essential to form a solution ecosystem that would bridge the needs of industry and society.
Sutedjo Tjahjadi, Managing Director a cloud business, said the technology makes work very practical and does not need to use large infrastructure; cloud computing can also minimise company expenses. In a digital era, computers are increasingly touching all of our lives, especially during this pandemic and moving online is a critical strategy that must be carried out continuously in future as well.
In line with these trends, the Ministry of Industry launched the Startup4Industry program that would bridge the needs of industry with startup players as technology providers. This program was launched by the Minister of Industry, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita under the umbrella of Indonesia Is Confident With Domestic Technology.
The Startup4 Industry program Directorate-General of IKMA of the Ministry of Industry, Endang Suwartini, said that the development of immersive technology needs the government’s attention because it is proven to be able to create new jobs and make the industry more efficient. For example, using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR / VR) during this pandemic has increased, initially being used for gaming has been effectively deployed for industry, education, training and tourism.
“The growing development of the AR/VR industry will encourage the electronics industry in Indonesia to start developing research and development for hardware development,” said Endang.
The Chair of the Indonesian AR/VR Association (INVRA), Andes Rizky, agreed this was the time for the Indonesian AR/VR industry to take grow and develop exponentially. Immersive technology as a new business field is recognised by the government through the publication of the 2020 Indonesian Standard Business Classification (KBLI) giving it formal legitimacy and a regulatory framework.
OpenGov Asia recently reported on the accelerated digital transformation of Indonesia’s Industry 4.0. The increased pace is being driven by efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and safety to adapt to the new normal brought about by the pandemic.
The International Science Survey 2019-2020 examined the attitudes of Malaysians towards robots and automation in the workplace, artificial intelligence (AI), and involved 20 countries.
In the survey results released in September, the 1,650 Malaysians polled had mixed views towards the use of robots for workplace automation. About 51% regarded this as bad for society while 45% said it has been good; only 3% felt it has been both good and bad for society.
The Malaysian respondents, who were polled via phone between October to November 2019 in Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, and English, responded to the question of whether they felt using robots to automate many jobs humans have done in the past is mostly a good or bad thing for society on the whole, after considering all the advantages and disadvantages.
Similarly, when asked about the development of AI or computer systems designed to imitate human behaviours, Malaysians had mixed views. About 53%said it has mostly been good for society, while 44% indicated that it has mostly been bad for society. Only 3% said it has been both good and bad for society, and 1% declined to answer or gave other answers.
Malaysians were much significantly keener on space. When asked about the government’s space exploration programme at the National Space Agency (Angkasa), 83% of the 1,650 Malaysians polled said it has been good for society, while 14% said it has been bad for society.
How do other Asian countries view robots and AI?
In the same survey, most of Malaysia’s peers in the Asia-Pacific region displayed a more positive attitude towards the use of robots at the workplace to replace human labour, with comparatively more saying it was a good thing for society in Japan (68%), Taiwan and South Korea’s respondents both at 62%, Singapore (61%).
In India, 47% of respondents said it was good while 27% it was bad, with Australia displaying a mixed view with 47% saying it was bad and 44% saying it was good.
As for the development of AI, about two-thirds or more in most of the Asia-Pacific countries viewed it as a good thing, including 72% of Singapore’s respondents, South Korea (69%), India (67%), Taiwan (66%), Japan (65%), while Australia recorded 49% saying it was good and 39% saying it was bad.
The Pew Research Center referred to its own 2018 survey on the view in 10 developing and developed countries towards job automation by robots and computers to replace the work done by humans currently, with a majority of the respondents thinking that it is likely that people would have a hard time finding jobs and that the inequality or gap between the rich and poor would worsen.
The International Science Survey 2019-2020 of 20 countries generally found that men in most countries were more positive about both robots and AI but the difference between genders was not statistically significant in Malaysia.
When examined according to the gender of the respondents in Malaysia, 50% of women and 55% of men found AI to be a good thing for society, while 43% of women and 48% of men found robots at the workplace to be good. The Center noted that age was not a factor in the respondents’ views in most countries surveyed on the topic of automation.
On the topic of AI, however, 10 of the countries surveyed showed that younger adults (or those younger than the median age of the pool of respondents) are more likely than older adults to say the development of AI has been good. The pollster noted that in Malaysia, the pattern is reversed, with older adults seeing AI more positively than younger adults (57% vs. 49%, respectively).
Education does play a significant role in the views of Malaysian respondents, with 52% of those with less education and 59% of those with more education or who studied beyond secondary school saying AI has been good for society. Correspondingly, for the use of robots to automate jobs, significant differences were found in views based on education levels of Malaysian respondents, with 44% of those with less education and 53% of those with more education viewing automation positively.
On workplace automation, taking more science courses in post-secondary studies also makes a difference for Malaysian respondents, with 49% of those who took zero to two science courses and 61% of those who took three or more science courses saying that using robots to automate human jobs is a good thing.
A spin-off company from NUS, Breathonix Pte Ltd, has developed an easy-to-use breath test to detect COVID-19 within a minute.
This innovative technology, which is believed to be the first in Asia, has achieved more than 90 per cent accuracy in a Singapore-based pilot clinical trial that involved 180 patients.
Breathonix was founded by NUS graduates, Dr Jia Zhunan and Mr Du Fang, and is supported by the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Programme, a programme that encourages the University’s graduate students and research staff to establish and run high potential start-ups based on deep technologies.
“Our breath test is easy to administer, and it does not require specially-trained staff or laboratory processing. Results are generated in real-time, making it an attractive solution for mass screening, especially in areas with high human traffic. We believe our breath analysis platform shows promise in changing the tides of this pandemic,” said Dr Jia, Chief Executive Officer of Breathonix.
Quick real time diagnosis
The revolutionary breath analysis technology developed by Breathonix offers a fast and convenient solution to identify COVID-19 infection. It works by detecting Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) present in a person’s exhaled breath.
Dr Jia explained, “VOCs are consistently produced by various biochemical reactions in human cells. Different diseases cause specific changes to the compounds, resulting in detectable changes in a person’s breath profile. As such, VOCs can be measured as markers for diseases like COVID-19.”
The test is simple to administer. A person only needs to blow into a disposable mouthpiece connected to a high-precision breath sampler. The exhaled breath is collected and fed into a cutting-edge mass spectrometer for measurement. A machine learning software analyses the VOC profile and generates the result in less than a minute.
“The disposable mouthpiece that our system uses has a one-way valve and a saliva trap, preventing inhalation and any saliva from entering the machine. This makes cross-contamination unlikely,” said Mr Du, Chief Operating Officer of Breathonix.
Pilot clinical trial conducted in Singapore
The team at Breathonix collaborated with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), to test their breath analysis system for COVID-19 detection.
In a pilot clinical trial involving 180 patients, Breathonix’s breath test, which uses in-built machine learning algorithms, achieved more than 90 per cent accuracy, with sensitivity-correctly identify those with the disease of 93 per cent, and specificity – correctly identify those without the disease of 95 per cent.
The clinical trial is ongoing, and more tests are required to further improve the accuracy of the technology.
If assessed to be suitable, this breath analysis platform could potentially be deployed in airports to facilitate the recovery of the tourism sector, as well as in places with high human traffic, such as dormitories.
The NUS GRIP team led by Professor Freddy Boey, Deputy President (Innovation & Enterprise), is providing advice to Breathonix to obtain regulatory approvals for their technology and to deploy their system for mass screening.
Prof Boey said, “The novel technology to analyse VOCs accurately and quickly was first developed by Dr Jia Zhunan when she was a PhD student, for early detection of lung cancer. The technology was birthed through NUS GRIP, into the start-up Breathonix, and it is now contributing to Singapore’s fight against COVID-19. This demonstrates the huge potential of Singapore’s home-grown technologies and deep-tech start-ups. NUS is proud of the progress Breathonix has made since its inception, and we look forward to seeing their technology being deployed in Singapore in the near future to protect the health and well-being of the community.”
Photo – Breathonix is founded by Dr Jia Zhunan (left) and Mr Du Fang (middle). With them is NUS Deputy President (Innovation & Enterprise) Professor Freddy Boey (right).
Vietnam has seen a rapid blossoming of its city areas with the urbanisation rate shooting up from 19.6% in 2009 (629 urban areas) to about 39.25 by the beginning of 2020 (835 urban areas in December 2019).
The Vietnam government is paying close attention to developing smart cities. Many agreements have been signed between Vietnam and important partners such as countries and organisations that have successfully developed smart cities, including the Netherlands, South Korea and India. Most recently, an agreement was signed to develop the ASEAN smart urban network.
Domestically, several state-owned entities have forayed into this sector. In fact, by the first quarter of this year, an additional 35 central cities and provinces had signed strategic cooperation agreements with telecom groups on building smart cities. Military telco Viettel has signed cooperation agreements with 24 localities while the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) have gone ahead with agreements with another 20 localities.
After Vietnam joined ASCN (ASEAN Smart Cities Network) in two years ago, the Vietnam Smart City Development Project (2018-2025) was released with a vision until 2030. The project has three priority areas – programming smart cities, managing smart cities and smart urban utilities.
Minister of Construction, Pham Hong Ha, said Vietnam will implement the tasks and solutions set in the Vietnam Smart City Development project in 2018-2025. These include a legal framework for the development of smart cities as well as management of tools, institutions and mechanisms for cooperation between ministries and branches, between the central and local government, to ensure smart cities throughout the country and avoid waste in using resources.
Using a linked database, many cities in Vietnam had initial success in providing smart utilities in the fields of education, healthcare, transportation, construction environment. Step-by-step, inclusively, these cities have been optimising urban management, improving the quality of urban residential life and creating opportunities for human development.
Hanoi, for example, is developing a parking system that allows people to find suitable parking places, payment through apps on smartphones and a digital transport map to manage urban traffic.
Driving development towards sustainability, the Bac Ha Noi (Northern Hanoi) Smart City project, covering an area of 272 hectares in Dong Anh district, is expected to improve transport infrastructure, energy, education, healthcare and environment on a digital technology basis,
Meanwhile, HCM City is building a big data infrastructure system, data control centre, security control centre and open data system. It is planning to build smart solutions for healthcare, food safety, education, traffic management and flood control.
Da Nang leads the country in readiness for ICT development and application. Da Nang has been hailed as a leader in applying IT in state agencies. As early as 2018, the Da Nang People’s Committee issued the Overall Architecture of Smart City and Smart City Construction Plan for 2018-2025.
Minister Ha said developing smart cities is in line with international trends, takes full advantage of the achievements of the Industry 4.0 and is in line with the country’s ambitions.
Experts emphasise that lack of reasonable policies will make it difficult for local authorities to seek resources for smart city development, especially capital from the state budget. They believe that Vietnam needs to be cautious when developing smart cities, and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Central Economic Commission, said it is necessary to have an ‘open and creative’ approach when developing smart cities.
Smart cities should be developed with people in the centre, and be based on specific characteristics of each city. Before applying a development model, each city needs to check its resources and advantages and ascertain where and what it needs for each stage to effectively use existing facilities and investment resources.