According to Michael Sieburg, an associate partner at Asia-focused management consulting firm Solidiance, partnerships between the public and private sectors are making progress to integrate smart city technologies into basic bureaucratic processes and government management systems in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Transport is one of Hanoi’s focuses to become a smart city
Other 33 cities and provinces in the country have also already begun implementing smart city initiatives, Sieburg said.
Echoing Sieburg, Nirmal De Silva, Co-founder and CEO of Paramount Realty Ltd., said that the Vietnamese government and cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Danang have now really focused on building smart cities.
Ho Chi Minh City is paying due attention to cloud computing infrastructure, big data, building data warehouses and data centers and security-monitoring centers, and developing an open data ecosystem.
Besides, the city is planning to introduce smart solutions in healthcare, food safety, education, traffic management, flood control, and law enforcement.
Meanwhile, Hanoi is focusing on four major sectors including healthcare, education, transport, and tourism.
The capital city has already implemented parking systems that allow users to search for parking lots and pay through mobile devices and is planning to launch it in all districts by the end of this year. It is also developing a digital traffic map to manage public transport.
In education, 2,700 schools and universities in the capital have introduced electronic school reports and family-to-school contacts as well as online enrollment systems.
Regarding healthcare, Hanoi was the first to introduce e-documents in its health management system, with 900,000 records so far.
By 2020, the focus will be on developing core infrastructure and smart applications, while the second phase, from 2020 to 2025, will focus on making the solutions operational.
The construction of a 310 hectare smart city in the capital’s Dong Anh District, worth more than US$4 billion, will also begin in October by a joint venture between Vietnam’s BRG Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation.
Plans lure foreign investors
With the ambitious plans to develop into smart, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang are now on the radar of many investors from Japan, South Korea, the US, and EU countries, who have recently shown strong interest in co-operating with Vietnam to develop projects related to smart cities.
Especially, the interest of foreign investors has been recently intensified after the government last month approved the master plan for Vietnam’s smart and sustainable city development strategy in the 2018-2025 period, with a vision towards 2030.
According to experts, utilizing the concrete strategies in the plan set forth by the government, investors are now confident in the development of future investment plans, with fewer fears of unpredictable changes, which have been an issue in the past.
Many investors including Siemens, GE, ABB, Volvo Buses, Roxtec, Axis Communications and Bosch recently participated in forums in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang to seek business opportunities in smart city projects in the areas.
David Wong Nan Fay, chairman of the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization, told the media that the potential for foreign investors to join smart city projects in Vietnam, including Hanoi, is great because of a lot of solutions on offer there. International groups have great potential to work closely with local Vietnamese partners to implement the solutions.
Digital infrastructure, Internet of Things, cyber security, and education for talents are among the most attractive targets to foreign investors interested in smart city development, Fay said, suggesting to attract investor interest, the cities should launch programs, including business-to-business and mission trips, to promote these opportunities to international investors.