Designing Roadmap for Smart Cities: Seeking Opportunities for Taiwan's ICT Industry to Drive Structural Transformation through Smart Services

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The roadmap to smart cities illustrates that intelligent networking infrastructures connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) can lead to the convergence of next-generation information and communications technologies (ICT), changing ways of life and the environment while creating convenience for residents. The implementation of smart city initiatives not only requires collaboration among the government, the ICT industry and individuals, but also relies on practical needs that people have to uncover smart city opportunities.

In the future, services arising from smart city development will bring revolutionary changes to the environment, modes of working and social systems. Innovative services that use intelligent, automated technologies will be applied to all facets of urban life - transportation, public safety and emergency management, tourism and retail, smart buildings, production monitoring and healthcare - thereby enabling convenient and secure lives for residents. At the Digitimes Smart City Forum, business, government and academic representatives came together to exchange ideas and to provide their in-depth analyses of the latest developments and trends of smart city development.

Digitimes Smart City Forum: A platform for business, government and academic representatives to share insights into smart city development

The Digitimes Smart City Forum was co-organized by the Taiwan Intelligent Aerotropolis Association, the Smart Network System Institute under the Institute for Information Industry, and DIGITIMES. The event's corporate partners were Chunghwa Telecom, Tatung, Advantech, NXP Semiconductors, ADLINK Technology, Axiomtek, Cisco Systems (Taiwan), Fortune Information Systems, HwaCom Systems, Merit LILIN Enterprise, Macronix International, NTT Taiwan, VIVOTEK, Taiwan Mobile and the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association) . The event featured sessions from these leading global and local corporations discussing key technologies involved with smart city initiatives, the applications of such technologies, and how they could help smart cities move from vision to implementation.

A key feature of a smart city is to leverage the latest ICT to connect electric grids, water supply, public transport, oil and gas, energy distribution and buildings through the IoT powered by a variety of embedded sensing components and intelligent devices. A connected infrastructure is then incorporated with intelligence service solutions, via various application platforms or the sharing and reuse of information, to develop and implement intelligent urban life models through a wide range of convenient and technology-enabled services.

Collaboration between industries and government integral to smart city development with diverse industries Involved

According to the roadmap, industries involved in smart city development span the fields of telecommunications, finance, transportation, public safety and emergency services, tourism and retail, smart buildings, production monitoring and healthcare, and others. A diverse range of technologies is utilized, including IoT, embedded computing, intelligent devices, wearable electronics, monitoring equipment and back-end networking equipment, at high levels of complexity.

Moreover, the alignment of government policy support, inputs of industrial resources and service opportunities is crucial for intelligent, automated technology-enabled service models to deliver the kinds of smart services that really benefit people and create the experience of enhanced convenience and security.

Taiwan's municipalities earn top spots in global smart city rankings

Smart city development is becoming a crucial element of national infrastructure projects and economic and industry development worldwide. Over the past few years, municipalities in Taiwan have earned top spots on the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) Smart21 list in recognition of its outstanding performance in smart city initiatives by an international panel of experts.

In Taiwan, Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan County, Hsinchu City and Taichung City have made ICF's smart-city short list, highlighting these municipalities as benchmarks of achievements in smart city initiatives. Moreover, smart city development in association with the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project will commence soon, and 4G LTE services are expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2014 following auctions of 4G licenses in 2013. As these developments further enhance Taiwan's telecommunications networks, the evolvement of networking infrastructure and mobile data communications technologies play a critical role in determining whether smart services can be successfully applied to different areas of life. Meanwhile, the development of a wide range of facilities and infrastructures under way is laying the groundwork for future success in Taiwan's smart city initiatives.

Smart city development offers opportunities for Taiwan's ICT industry to drive structural transformation

At the DIGITMES Smart City Forum, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications provided an in-depth analysis into the government's role in smart city development. DIGITMES also discussed examples of smart city leaders in North Europe, noting that Taiwan is well-positioned to become a laboratory for smart city development given its competitive edge of a concentration of IoT-related sectors and technology expertise.

The event gathered telecom carriers, manufacturers of surveillance equipment and networking equipment, system integrators, sensing component designers and embedded system providers to discuss the latest development of and technological advancement in key industries involved with smart city initiatives. The companies also gave their views on the technological issues and the changing global dynamics of such initiatives.

An overview of global smart city initiatives shows that the government's leadership role in shaping and implementing policies, and collaboration among residents, business leaders and city officials are critical factors for enabling smart city development and broadening the scope of smart applications. Against a backdrop of maturing smart services and applications, people are becoming more aware of the benefits provided by smart cities to make life more convenient. Increasing public awareness, coupled with government-led efforts to advance innovative applications and promote cooperation across industries, is accelerating the pace of smart city development in Taiwan. If successful, this may also help Taiwan's ICT industry make progress towards structural transformation.

DIGIMTES Smart City Forum

The Digitimes Smart City Forum is packed with participants. The forum, which took place April 16-17, 2014, was co-organized by the Taiwan Intelligent Aerotropolis Association, the Smart Network System Institute under the Institute for Information Industry, and Digitimes.