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More efforts needed for smart city adoption in Asia

Adrian M. Reodique | Feb. 6, 2017
Despite the growth in smart city initiatives in Asia, many cities face adoption challenges because citizens are poorly informed about the projects.

Even though smart city initiatives are on the rise in Asia, more efforts are needed to encourage its adoption and explain the benefits of the project, according to the "Startup My City: smart and sustainable cities in Asia" report. The report was commissioned to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) by Hitachi.

The report surveyed 2,000 citizens and interviewed advisory board experts, industry experts, and government officials from 20 ASEAN and Asia Pacific cities. 

Majority of the respondents (82 percent) wanted their cities to create more "smart city" projects that can help enhance their quality of life.

The report found that smart city initiatives in the region mainly focused on environmental improvements such as reduced vehicle emission and increasing recycling rates. This is followed by higher quality education, and improved safety.

Respondents considered smart energy management systems (78 percent), smart waste management (76 percent), and intelligent water treatment (76 percent) as the most important smart city initiatives because of their positive impact on the environment. However, only 20 percent of them use these daily.

Access to high-speed broadband was ranked the second most important initiative (77 percent), and the most frequently used by the citizens (42 percent use it daily).

Despite the positive findings, many cities face adoption challenges because citizens were poorly informed about smart city initiatives. In fact, 66 percent of the respondents found it difficult to obtain information about the smart city projects, while another 49 percent believed that the existing initiatives are not useful.

The study also found that most respondents believe that the government must take the lead to develop smart city initiatives. However, they are more positive about the value of the project when it is jointly done with the private sector (73 percent). As such, 89 percent of the polled citizens think there should be more public-private smart city initiatives.

"Cities across the ASEAN region are increasing their investments in smart city initiatives to reap benefits, such as better transport systems and an improved environment. But they are struggling to communicate the existence of smart city initiatives to their citizens, and must continue to work with the private sector to improve adoption rates," said Charles Ross, the Editor of the report.

 

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