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Relying on High-Tech Networks in a Warmer World

Relying on High-Tech Networks in a Warmer World

Or as originally titled as The perils of relying on high-tech networks in a warmer world (commentary) by Simon Pollock in this Article published by Willie Shubert in Mongabay. We all know that Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience but would it be the case in these circumstances of a warmer world.

The picture above is for illustration purpose and is of Smart Cities World.

The perils of relying on high-tech networks in a warmer world

25 February 2021

  • Wild snowstorms paralyzed electricity infrastructure in Texas, a state in the country with the world’s largest economy.
  • Just imagine what climate change fueled extreme weather will do to our cities as infrastructure and ICT systems become increasingly interconnected.
  • Many see high-tech “smart cities” as a climate solution, but just how smart are they?
  • This article is a commentary and the views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Smart cities are held up as beacons of hope in meeting the climate crisis. This is because they reduce greenhouse gas emissions by paring back energy use and urban waste. But is it possible the high-tech complexity of smart cities actually leaves urban dwellers more exposed to future climate disaster? Smart cities’ dependence on the information and communications technology (ICT) systems that help generate these emission reductions may actually be opening up new climate vulnerabilities when we consider what happens if these systems fail. There is a danger that we fall into the trap of assuming that a reliance on increasingly high-tech solutions is our “get out of jail free” card for everything.

We need to think more about whether our increasing reliance on interconnected information-based technology includes adequate fails safes to protect against systematic collapse if cities are hit by outside stresses – including climate-induced shocks. A number of experts working in the field of urban climate adaptation believe this issue is not receiving adequate attention.

Considering that about 55 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, and this figure is projected to rise to seven out of 10 people by 2050, we ignore this issue at our possible peril.

The definition of what actually makes a smart city is not clear cut. There is general agreement though that they share an ability to combine real time data and digital technology to improve people’s decisions on when to use energy and when to move around, while also contributing to more efficient long-term city planning.  Sensors and people’s ubiquitous use of smartphones, for instance, encourage urban residents to use public transit during off-peak hours to avoid large crowds and to access energy and water services at different times of the day to lessen demand surges.

Smart emission reduction

Smart cities reduce carbon footprints by utilizing interconnected ICT systems to create greater efficiencies. These can come in the form of more energy efficient buildings and street lighting, better waste management, smart energy meters that allow consumers to tap cheaper off-peak power, and electrified public transport links that best conform with people flows. Largely absent from positive depictions of smart cities’ ability to reduce emissions though are considerations of how robust the ICT systems are that make them smart.

In his book published last year, “Apocalypse How”, former UK politician Oliver Letwin issues an arresting warning about whether we are adequately assessing the way our growing reliance on technological connectivity opens our societies to vulnerabilities. Letwin provides a detailed portrayal of how the physical and human infrastructure of UK society would break down quickly if there was a systematic failure of the internet and associated services, including banking and satellite-based communication and navigation. He predicts this would lead quickly to a large number of deaths (in his synopsis due to the failure of indoor heating) and, ultimately, a breakdown of law and order.

The title of Letwin’s book is a misnomer (possibly with a suggested nod by the publisher to the current popularity of dystopian literature and TV) as the ICT breakdown he posits –associated with internet-busting solar flares – is rectified in a few days. While Letwin does not address climate change, his book does provide a useful thought experiment in highlighting the way our fragile modern society is increasingly dependent on the ICT systems that connect us and our machines. Isn’t it possible that the increasingly extreme effects of climate change – such as floods, hurricanes and extended droughts – could, ironically, threaten the integrity of the smart city ICT networks designed to help mitigate global heating?

Relying on High-Tech Networks in a Warmer World
An overreliance on interconnected ICT urban networks also raises the possibility of devastating systematic collapse – including through rapid climate-induced disasters. Image by j_lloa (Pixabay).

Enmeshed in the ICT era

Humanity’s increasing reliance on technology is by no means new. It began with the use of simple tools and fire, leading to gradually more sophisticated irrigation and animal husbandry. During the past few decades, the use technology has carved out a central part of our lives – accelerating rapidly with the invention of steam power (which, along with the myriad benefits of fossil fuel-powered modernity, began the current trajectory to the climate crisis we now face). The extent to which we now use technology-based communication and interconnectivity though is unprecedented. Today’s generation is deeply enmeshed in the ICT era, equally as it is within the Anthropocene era.

Richard Dawson, an urban climate expert based at the UK’s Newcastle University, warns of a “cascading failure” if single ICT components fail. Dawson says we need to upgrade our thinking about urban infrastructure connections beyond a traditional focus on electricity, road, rail and sewage systems. “The increasing reliance on data and ICT in urban planning is a double-edged sword,” he said. “It allows for incredible flexibility – to create new communication lines we don’t have to dig up a road.  We could live without being able to talk across continents if telecommunications fail, but we would struggle if this breakdown led to a mass system failure.”

A loss of ICT interconnectivity has implications far beyond the failure of systems employed to create urban efficiencies and, therefore, reduce emissions. The rapid speed at which ICT systems operate could actually work against us if they fail, as the negative effects would be sharp and sudden. Dawson points out the loss of electronic banking could quickly lead to social problems. This would be particularly worrisome if this occurs as the result of a climate disaster when a ready access to personal finance is so important.

Relying on High-Tech Networks in a Warmer World
The way megacities are emerging now in developing countries may well determine whether we are able to overcome the climate challenge. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay

Strange conspiracy theories

The US Government found that many of the social problems following Hurricane Katrina’s destructive descent on New Orleans in 2005 arose from “information gaps”. While accounts  of rioting and other lawlessness at the time were later described as exaggerated, numerous reports do indicate communication breakdowns did severely impact social cohesion. Professor Ayyoob Sharifi, from Japan’s Hiroshima University, warns the ICT systems that control smart cities are not just prone to disruption from uncontrolled disaster, but also from intentional human-created harm.

The curation of social media misinformation by individuals or organizations, including overseas governments, could overcome local officials’ attempts to prevent the outbreak of havoc when disaster strikes, said Sharifi, who studies urban climate measures. This could include the dissemination of purposefully incorrect information about where to take shelter during flooding. Purported attempts by the Russian Government to use social media to sway election results in the US and Europe shows that anonymous attempts to sway public perceptions can be effective.

The ability of strange conspiracy theories, especially if abetted by unscrupulous populist politicians such as former US President Donald Trump, to cut through the daily online traffic and garner widespread support shows that social media is not always the best medium to convey factual information. Social media, usually accessed by smart phones, is an important part of the two-way communication interface of smart cities, as it is with many forms of climate early warning systems.

How do we ensure then that the commendable work of climate proofing cities does not lead us down cul de sacs of urban planning where an overreliance on ICT connections actually increases the potential for climate disruption? One way is to take a holistic approach that incorporates different approaches to urban dynamics.

Relying on High-Tech Networks in a Warmer World
A informal neighborhood in Caracas. In view of climate-induced disasters, it’s important that all urban dwellers be included in the decisions that shape their cities, smart or not. Image by Wilfredor via Wikimedia Commons (CC0 1.0).

Future megacities

Future Earth’s Urban Knowledge-Action Network – a global group of researchers and other policy, business and civil society innovators – is striving to make cities more sustainable and equitable by highlighting the human element in democratizing data and including underrepresented voices in city planning.

Local Governments for Sustainability, known as ICLEI, is another global network – comprising local and regional governments in over 100 countries – that advocates cities that weather rapid urbanization and climate change by combining sustainable and equitable solutions.

Nazmul Huq, ICLEI’s head of resilient development, says people need to be placed at the centre of all urban management – especially in developing countries, many of which are now entering intense urbanization. Rapid interconnectivity in the new urban hot spots of growth in India, China and Nigeria is creating advantage and potential disadvantage at a rapid pace.

“The emergence of ICT, especially mobile phones, represents a revolution for poorer people in developing countries as it provides them with greater control over their lives,” Huq said. “But at the same time, an overreliance on interconnected ICT urban networks also raises the possibility of devastating systematic collapse – including through rapid climate-induced disasters such as heat waves. This could disconnect people, while knocking out internet connections and electricity generation.”

Huq said the most important factor in making cities livable – whether they are smart or not – is to include all urban citizens, including disadvantaged groups, in the decisions that shape their urban spaces. “We must ensure the voices of the poor and marginalized are heard to avoid injustice and unequal distribution of the benefits of city life,” he added.

The way megacities are emerging now in developing countries may well determine whether we are able to overcome the climate challenge – especially considering that 70 percent of greenhouse gases come from today’s cities. Under current trends, it seems likely the lives of those rich and poor will become increasingly urbanized and interconnected by smart city ICT systems.

The sheer enormity of the climate challenge means we need to consider all options, including seeking out technological solutions. We should, however, balance our desire to be smart and interconnected with urban planning that at least considers the fragility of our city systems and what happens when they don’t work. We must not allow our thirst for technology to overcome our human need to consider nature.

Banner image caption: City of London skyline by Colin via Wikimedia Commons (CC0 1.0).

Simon Pollock is an Australian-British writer and climate change communicator based in South Korea. Before leaving the Australian Government in 2016, he was a member of the startup team that launched Al Jazeera English Television from its Asia HQ in Kuala Lumpur. Simon’s interest in development and environmental issues stemmed from observation of how the two don’t always mix during six years in Beijing as a Kyodo News reporter.

The first step towards the future of Smart Cities

The first step towards the future of Smart Cities

Smart Cities are set to gain further traction post the pandemic, with providers focusing on developing data-driven infrastructure to provide appropriate healthcare facilities and public security services. Could The first step towards the future of Smart Cities be a matter of connected buildings? BW SMART CITIESGanesh L Khanolkar explains.

Connected buildings: The first step towards the future of smart cities

17 February, 2021

Earlier this year, International Data Corporation (IDC) released a forecast predicting that the global spending on smart city initiatives will reach a staggering $124 billion, by the end of 2020. This is an increase of about 18.9% compared to the 2019 spend for the same. 

This comes as no surprise considering smart cities are set to gain further traction post the pandemic, with providers focusing on developing data-driven infrastructure to provide appropriate healthcare facilities and public security services. Investments in the space too, are expected to rise significantly over the next few years. 

While the smart city has definitely become a buzzword of sorts, there is very little understanding on what it takes to achieve this vision. When we think of smart cities, we immediately conjure images of Artificial intelligence (AI), driverless cars, smart street lighting, smart parking, etc. But we fail to guess the starting point of a connected society – smart buildings. 

After all, buildings are the ideal starting points from which a smart city can grow. Just how a building is a functional unit of a city, smart buildings are the primary units of a smart city. Smart buildings integrate technology and the IoT to provide solutions to challenges like overspend and inefficiency in building management. Within a smart building, all the systems are connected, from managing energy, water, lighting, to delivering security and emergency services. Therefore, smart buildings empowered by the deployment of IoT and cloud technologies will be the key reason for smart cities to succeed. So what are the key factors that make a building ‘smart’? Below are some of the key features. 

Energy Efficiency: Connected buildings primarily help save power and centralize control over the energy management. Such buildings unify the management of heating, cooling and lighting functions, and eliminating wastes within the building by use of advanced sensors. Smart thermostats turn the temperature down in your absence saving power to save power and also use renewable energy sources (e.g. Solar panels) thereby reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and electricity.

Predictive Maintenance: Connected building models provide constant monitoring and evaluation of embedded automation and systems. Be it anticipating asset lifecycles, or monitoring the life, repair and replacement of individual elements, predictive management help avoid shutdowns which can incur loses. Minimizing disruption in building operations reflects positively on resource and capital utilization, as well as leading to greater ROI by enhancing the market value of the property.

Enhanced Security: Smart buildings provide enhanced security on various levels. As these buildings are all connected, building managers can integrate fire, intrusion and access systems to provide inmates the highest degree of safety possible. Further, each of these critical amenities can be customized, resulting in an overall synergy, as well as a strict adherence to local or state safety compliance. 

Current challenges in making old buildings smart and how technology helps

Given that half the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, this trend will put unprecedented pressure on our built environment, especially maintaining our buildings. Floor space restrictions are making our cities increasingly taller. So there is an urgent need for a reliable and efficient building services to maintain these buildings and ensure they run at optimum efficiency. 

Currently what holds many buildings back from becoming smarter is their reliance the conventional paper model to manage critical systems, be it electricity, plumbing or air conditioning. Agreed that a full scale revamp of an existing building is somewhat of a costly undertaking, but technology does help make this transition easier. 

Old buildings without smart sensors or fixtures can still be optimized for energy usage by deploying intelligent systems of rule-based efficiency modules. Most of these old buildings have energy meters, and further, several components of the HVAC system are energy hoggers. There is an energy meter associated with each of these. It is through these energy meters that data of energy-hogging equipment of old buildings is gathered. And by using advanced machine learning algorithms, modules can be built that can help decide how energy is being used, apart from detecting fault through identification of abnormal usage. 

Such deployment of integrated IoT solutions to render old buildings advanced and smart can assure building owners and managers of a significant ROI in the long run. 

How the pandemic is shifting priorities towards smart buildings 

The pandemic has really forced us to rethink the way that we are currently living. While many of us have embraced technology to keep connected personally and professionally during the lockdown, very few are aware of how the concept of connected buildings (a key building block of smart cities) can be used effectively to ensure the safety of a building’s inmates and control the spread of the disease. Connected buildings are without a doubt the easiest implementation of a digital upgrade which can have a positive impact on all the fundamental elements around which our societies are organized. Therefore, it is more critical than ever for policymakers at both local, and national level to plan their connected building strategies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

MENA States keen to invest in Smart Cities

MENA States keen to invest in Smart Cities

MENA states keen to invest in smart cities, social infra under Belt and Road Initiative related projects.

The picture above is for illustration and is of the BBC‘s.

DUBAI, Social infrastructure, logistics, as well as smart city projects are the top three most cited sectors where businesses in the Middle East and North Africa have plans to invest in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)-related opportunities.

According to a survey commissioned by international law firm CMS, almost equal proportions of MENA respondents (44% and 41%) plan to target BRI opportunities in social infrastructure (hospitals and healthcare) and the logistics sectors, while slightly more than a third (37%) intend to invest in smart city projects. The fourth most cited sector was transportation (road) infrastructure with 35%. 

There is also a rising interest in ‘greener’, more sustainable and eco-friendly sectors such as renewables and hydro. Only 11% of MENA respondents had previously been involved in clean energy projects with one-fifth (20%) in conventional power developments. These priorities have now been reversed with 24% of MENA respondents planning to target renewables projects and 17% looking at conventional power developments. Almost three-quarters (72%) of MENA respondents say it is important that BRI projects are sustainable and eco-friendly while 63% of Chinese respondents share the same view. 

MENA States keen to invest in Smart Cities

Smart cities – the star that shine 

MENA continues to be one of the leading regions in its enthusiasm for smart cities, with 37% of MENA respondents planning to invest in the sector and a little over half (55%) listing it as one of the five sectors presenting the most BRI opportunities. This proportion was significantly higher than the findings of similar BRI surveys conducted by CMS in other regions where the average was 40%.

Karim Fawaz, CMS Corporate and Technology partner, comments: “Such enthusiasm may, in part, reflect the projects already underway in the region such as The Line which is part of Neom in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait’s Silk City which are being built from the ground up. However, we also found increasing interest in the development of existing urban areas aimed at having smart and AI-connected areas as opposed to individual endeavours. These projects focus on improving the quality of life and the collection of data to enhance security, health, entertainment and other areas. While Chinese financiers and contractors are already involved in building smart cities such as Morocco’s Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City, Chinese companies are going a step further and taking space in these smart cities to set up operations – a sign of their optimism in potential opportunities and openness to private-public-partnerships.”

Digital and Health Silk Roads

As the pandemic continues to cause disruption and a global shift towards a more virtual world, the potential benefits of improved digital infrastructure for any country are clear. However, less than a tenth (7%) of MENA respondents are considering Digital Silk Road (DSR) projects (a decrease from the 12% that had considered them in the past), and a large majority (81%) have never considered them. In contrast, over one-third (35%) of Chinese respondents are considering DSR projects. 

David Moore, CMS Infrastructure and Projects partner and UAE Managing Partner, says: “Some BRI participants are keen to be involved in DSR projects but are wary of potential problems such as rapidly evolving technical standards, cybersecurity and geopolitical tensions. These issues may limit the scope of DSR in some markets. However, with so many BRI countries, including many in MENA, still in need of new tech and comms infrastructure, there will clearly still be significant opportunities for BRI participants along the DSR.”

“We expect the DSR initiative to be further bolstered by China’s new Five-Year Plan2 which is likely to have implications for the future of BRI such as more emphasis on creating markets for technology originating in China and incorporating Chinese standards. This should lead to even more of a focus on ‘smart’ infrastructure. Some foreign businesses may find access to China easier while China will seek to strengthen its supply chains, an imperative likely to be reflected in some strategic BRI infrastructure projects,” adds Moore.

In 2020, the pandemic highlighted deficiencies in the health infrastructure in many BRI countries. CMS’s survey revealed a strong consensus that the pandemic will lead to an increased emphasis on the Health Silk Road (HSR) – an overwhelming majority (94%) of MENA respondents expect this to happen. This is in line with, as noted above, the 44% of MENA respondents planning to target BRI projects involving social infrastructure such as hospitals and healthcare – a rise from 33% who have previously done so. 

Mark Rocca, CMS Life Sciences and Healthcare partner in Dubai, comments: “The effectiveness of the HSR in enabling speedy transfer of medical supplies and equipment was clear to see during the pandemic. Across MENA, there is considerable scope for investment in ‘next generation’ medical infrastructure, particularly in relation to telemedicine and other digital applications. These offer potential synergies with the DSR.”

Obstacles and risks

Two-thirds (65%) of MENA respondents described national governments and political issues as one of the greatest obstacles to their BRI activity, making this the most commonly cited obstacle, closely followed by legal frameworks (61%) and operational difficulties (53%). No other problem came close to this level of concern; the next most commonly cited obstacle, language barriers and cultural issues, was mentioned by only half as many respondents (25%).

Political risk was also cited by 56% of respondents as one of the most serious risks relating to involvement in BRI projects, marginally behind legal and regulatory risk (59%). 

Looking ahead

Despite the inherent obstacles and risks, and different levels of satisfaction reported by MENA and Chinese respondents in regard to BRI project outcomes, BRI opportunities in the MENA region continue to attract interest. Nearly a third (31%) of MENA respondents and more than double that proportion (68%) of Chinese respondents expect to increase their involvement in BRI projects. Almost half (47%) of Chinese respondents also indicated that they are looking to North Africa for BRI opportunities, while 29% are looking to the Middle East. 

David Moore, CMS Infrastructure and Projects partner and UAE Managing Partner, comments: “There remains ample scope for infrastructure development in MENA. According to figures from the World Bank, the region will need to spend 8.2% of GDP to meet its infrastructure goals by 2030, compared with the 3% spent annually over the previous decade. We believe that BRI projects have the potential to close some of that investment gap.”

“With a GDP growth of 2.3% in 2020, China’s economy seems to be weathering the pandemic storm better than many others. This augurs well for the future of BRI and Chinese investment in BRI nations. But, as our report shows, a greater impact may come from China’s pivot towards greener and more sustainable principles for BRI, and an increasing emphasis on the Digital and Health Silk Roads,” adds Moore. 

Amir Kordvani, CMS Dubai partner and Head of the Middle East Projects practice, says: “Chinese investment is growing rapidly in the renewable energy sector in the Middle East. Chinese firms have been able to leverage their expertise as well as state-backed financing (particularly through state-owned enterprises) to materialise targeted and strategic investment in renewable energy programmes in the region and notably in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, and Jordan.”

About the survey

In the first half of 2020, CMS and global research firm Acuris surveyed 500 senior executives to gauge their views on various aspects of the Belt and Road Initiative. Of the 500 respondents, 75 were either based in Middle East and North Africa or predominantly working on BRI projects in the region and another 100 respondents were from Chinese entities. All respondents were either currently active or planning to participate in BRI projects. Their views were sought on a range of issues around BRI, including likely future involvement and obstacles they have encountered to date.

 TradeArabia News Service



Impact of Technology in Smart City Transportation Solutions

Impact of Technology in Smart City Transportation Solutions

Analytics Insight‘s LATEST NEWS is about the Impact of Technology in Smart City Transportation Solutions. It is a piece of TECH NEWS and is by Monomita Chakraborty. In the MENA region’s cities, the most significant concern is the uncontrolled recent growth of urban development without focusing on public spaces such as roads and common areas like train stations that promote access and social interactions. The few Smart Cities of the Gulf area appear to have leant, emphasising the transport and all related infrastructure.

So here is in a few words that :

Intelligent transport management system must be one aspect of developing a smart city

January 28, 2021

smart city is, in particular, a city that uses technology to provide facilities and help fix problems in the city. A smart city works like improving transport and convenience, improving public assistance, saving energy, and giving voice to its people. Improving policy effectiveness, waste reduction and disruption, improving economic and social reliability, and maximizing social integration are the primary goals of a smart city.

Individuals engage with smart city environments in various ways through smartphones and other mobile devices as well as smart cars and houses. Pairing the physical infrastructure and facilities of the city with machines and data will minimize costs and increase productivity.

The advent of new and interesting innovations that strive to keep cities smarter has only significantly contributed to this idea, and creating an intelligent transport management system must be one aspect of developing a smart city that is critically significant.

Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)

The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) can fundamentally change the way people travel in smart cities and metro systems. In offering multiple transport modes, developed infrastructure, traffic and connectivity management strategies, ITS presents a better solution. In order to provide customers with access to a better, easier and quicker way to travel, it uses a range of electronic, wireless and networking technologies.

According to Smart City Press, “Market reports estimate an annual growth rate of 25.1% in the smart transportation segment for coming five years. From USD 72.05 Billion in 2016 it is expected to reach USD 220.76 Billion by 2021. The major proponents of this growth are smart cities, need for public security and safety and government’s initiatives to improve present day transportation infrastructure.”

Transport technology advances are fundamentally developed out of needs such as performance, convenience, and security. Scientists and researchers in the transport industry work as a team to guarantee that these emerging developments deliver quicker, safer and with the lowest possible assets and get more people (or items) to their destinations. This is why we’ve seen a switch from coal-powered trains to super bullet trains, for instance.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things implies that it is possible to link all individuals and objects across networks. These extensive channels could affect various areas of our day-to-day driving such as route design, emergency preparedness, security.

Big Data

Big data is used to save traffic and ease congestion by assisting in traffic analysis and planning. Sensors built on transportation systems and fast vehicles help firms to gather streams of data from transportation agencies’.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI can make traffic more effective, mitigate congestion problems, facilitate parking and enhance car and ride sharing. Since AI helps to preserve the movement of traffic congestion, it can also cut vehicle fuel usage while it is static and remove pollutants and urban development.

Mobility as a service (MaaS) is a number of digital technologies aimed at improving the reliability and simplicity of transportation. MaaS tries to incorporate all facets of consumer experiences into a single service or framework that is user-friendly. This involves planning, scheduling, issuing tickets, transactions, and alerts for trips.

A dynamic infrastructure of technological advancements and collaboration between the public and private sectors makes MaaS real. Mobility as a platform for services leverages these innovations and this collaborates to build apps and services that contribute to efficiency of transport in real time and travel preferences.

As per reports of Smartrak, “According to the UN, 68% of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050. This poses a major challenge to those in charge of planning our transport infrastructure; sooner or later we’re going to see diminishing returns on road transport infrastructure. The unfortunate truth is that regardless of how many new roads we build, there is a hard limit to the number of vehicles that can be on the roads at any one time.”


Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience

Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience

Posted on January 15, 2021 by Manila Standard is about how Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience and how this latter is visualised as from the Philippines.

Smart Cities are fast becoming one of the world’s most critical industries as more countries invest in technologies to improve the delivery of government service. 

Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience
Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience Smart cities, e-governance help urban resilience By 2025, smart city development worldwide is estimated to create business opportunities worth $2.46 trillion.

In its simplest essence, a smart city is all about providing people a better quality of life by using different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect data. The insights gained from that data are utilized to manage assets, resources, and even services efficiently, helping governments to improve their operations across the city. It also enables e-governance or the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in all the processes to enhance the government’s ability to address the needs of the public. 

By 2025, smart city development worldwide is estimated to create business opportunities worth $2.46 trillion, as revealed by a report released by tech research firm Frost and Sullivan. This trend is driven by the uncertainties of the post-pandemic work, which will compel cities to focus more on developing collaborative, data-driven infrastructure to provide healthcare and public security, as well as resilience to natural disasters.  

Laying the Groundwork 

In the Philippines, the national government has been pushing the adoption of smart city technologies. For instance, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), being the country’s primary agency promoting the adoption of eGovernment Services (ICT-ES), has developed the E-Government Masterplan (EGMP) 2022.  

This plan outlines DICT’s intent of developing the country’s e-government systems through the digital transformation of services, such as public health, education, and other programs that cut across the whole of government. By doing so, DICT aims to create a networked and collaborative environment for improved public service delivery. 

Additionally, as the ongoing pandemic accelerates innovation, some local governments have laid their plans for their smart city initiatives, especially on e-governance. Baguio City, for instance, has recently announced its investments to transform into e-government using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and other web-based telecommunication technologies, such as crowd density monitoring and real-time weather prediction, to improve the delivery of public service. 

Aside from Baguio, the New Clark City in Pampanga, Davao, Cebu, and Manila have also previously laid the groundwork to make their areas smarter through the adoption of e-governance technologies.  

The need for the adoption 

For Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, the digital transformation and e-governance initiatives of all the cities in the country, just like the other smart cities across the globe, provide an opportunity to make the entire Philippines more resilient challenges like the current public health crisis or natural calamities.  

Last year, the country was identified as one of the most vulnerable to climate change by the Global Peace Index of the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) due to its high exposure to natural hazards, such as typhoons, landslides, floods, and droughts, as well as its heavy reliance to its climate-sensitive natural resources. 

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) also noted that more tropical cyclones are entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) than anywhere else in the world. Recently, the Philippines experienced five typhoons in a row—Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tonyo, and Ulysses—which all made landfall in the country within at least a month. All these typhoons left trails of devastation, which include physical injuries, casualties, and damages to agriculture and other properties.  

“Following this devastation, preparedness for typhoons and other calamities has never been more important, for instance, in getting necessary data where they can draw insights to efficiently conduct pre-evacuation of residents in flood-prone and vulnerable areas. And as IT becomes integral, government agencies must have a ready infrastructure in place to ensure that services go on unhampered and citizens have access to services they need,” said Jason Lim, country manager of Vertiv Philippines. 

To help local governments in tackling these IT infrastructure challenges, Vertiv brings together cutting-edge E-Governance Solutions to ensure uninterrupted operations, optimal performance, and scalability of data centers, communication networks, and other critical IT facilities needed in creating smarter and more resilient cities.  

To learn more about how Vertiv supports the continuity of today’s vital business and government applications, visit Vertiv.com.   

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