There is no doubt that Asia Pacific (APAC) is currently a hub of rapid growth in the wake of digital transformation after quickly embracing trends in its journey to grow
New research from Frost & Sullivan has added weight to that reasoning, with the forecast that the region will be host to 10 smart cities by 2025 – with more than half of these based in China.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the demand for smart cities in the area has been driven by urbanisation and demand for city services, ICT penetration, and the rising middle with the need to improve quality of life.
APAC depicts an eclectic mix of cities, with markets such as Japan and South Korea also possessing fairly intelligent cities juxtaposed with others such as Thailand and Indonesia that are slowly setting up smaller projects in governance and citizen services.
Managing director and senior vice president for Frost & Sullivan in Malaysia, Hazmi Yusof says smart cities are a crucial part of our future.
"Several government agendas in this region are driving the building of smarter cities in Singapore, Japan, China, and South Korea. Investments are expected to grow from US$55.6 billion in 2013 to US$260 billion in 2020," Yusof says.
"Eight emerging cities also have standalone smart city projects, which when scaled-up, can achieve the smart city status by 2030 and beyond."
There are a number of key parameters that Frost & Sullivan assert will define a smart city in 2025 and beyond, but the basic definition is a city that is built on ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ solutions and technology that focus on managing and improving its citizen lives in a responsible and sustainable manner.
The growing importance of managing the pace of urbanization has resulted in APAC governments increasing their focus on making the ‘smart’ journey, which is good news as technology and governance are key enablers for participants in the smart city ecocstem.
Frost & Sullivan asserts smart cities will become big data hubs with data from sensors and networks being collected, analysed and monitored in real-time by a central monitoring command center that will be used to optimize and streamline city operations and resolve issues in real-time.
"Communication service providers and network service partners play a key role in forming the technological backbone to roll-out smart cities,” says Yusof.
“Singtel in Singapore and Telstra in Australia have laid out US$500 million and US$100 million, respectively, to enable smart city technology platforms and infrastructure. Telekom Malaysia in Malaysia plans to build a data center and provide cloud computing and smart services in a technology park.”
Yusof concludes that connectivity will be a key enabler in designing an experience platform across all touch points including online and mobile. The data collected from sensors will enable new technologies to integrate softer aspects, such as customer perception and citizen awareness.