Ceresus urges needs-based planning for smart cities
A Taiwan-based research firm suggests Thailand keep developing the standards of smart cities rather than focusing on the number of such properties.
"We've seen Thai governments ambitious to drive forward smart cities countrywide over the next few years, including in the Eastern Economic Corridor," said Joy Lin, founder of Ceresus, a data-driven customer experience research company.
Mr Lin said that to formulate a suitable smart city strategy, city administrations should focus on needs-based planning driven by residents in the city centre.
In Ceresus's Smart City Development Index 2018, Bangkok ranked last out of 12 smart cities globally. Amsterdam, Boston and Songdo in South Korea were the top three in the index, followed by Singapore, Sydney, Chicago, Yokohama, Taipei, Shanghai, Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro.
The criteria for the index included smart city space, population size, disastrous event prevention, collective lifestyle management through proactive measures (such as expectant risk and liability sharing) and crime reduction.
Water and energy consumption, as well as waste management, were also considered.
Facilitating commercial activities with low cost and efficiency in addition to community well-being and participation are vital conditions for the ranking.
Mr Lin said there are five necessary stages to developing smart cities: setting goals and planning; identifying necessary data and key players; starting a pilot project; evaluation and governance; and scaling and tracking key performance indicators.
"Bangkok could leapfrog other cities, given the clear ambition in the 4.0 strategy," he said. "Other smart Thai cities could develop their own specific areas, such as Phuket for travel and Chiang Mai in agriculture."
But smart Thai cities have to plan and quickly upgrade infrastructure for data inventory by building a more open and integrated platform held by different government agencies, Mr Lin said.
Smart city planning also requires synergy among the public sector, businesses, local knowledge institutions and citizen groups.
Amsterdam last launched a smart city plan a decade ago, but it has current technology and data exchange across agencies.
Amsterdam's city stakeholder community development platform, ZO! City, lets participants exchange information and ideas, Mr Lin said.