Quickly becoming the most technologically advanced region in the world, it’s perhaps no suprise to see Smart Cities in China being developed at a phenomenal pace.
Smart is the driving new behaviours and new expectations in Chinese cities, with nearly every physical devices having a ‘smart’ sibling, from smart LED bulbs, smart TVs, smartphones, and even smart toothbrushes.
Here is introduction to the fascinating world of Smart Cities in China:
Some Smart Cities in China:
Shanghai has been on the development of becoming a smart city since 2011. The city uses all the current smart city technologies. In the near future, the roads are said to be “high-tech” – by combining the power of 5G, vehicle-to-everything technology, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data.
The capital of China, Beijing is also a smart city. There are many things that have become seamless in Beijing from parking to syncing. The ‘smart’ thing about Beijing is its seamless payment system. One can go cashless across the whole city and pay through their smartphone through various counters that are installed on public transport, stores and retail shops. Similarly, the air quality is being purified by using a technology popularly known to the residents as the Blue Map smartphone application. It is a government-created project that allows various pollutants in the city to force close when they are not in use. Many residents in Beijing report that they have a better quality of life after the implementation of this technology.
Guangzhou is home to the most startups in China. It has been using smart programs to monitor and improve the city for quite some time now. Their smart AI is used in weather forecasts, which was able to reduce weather forecast time in half. The WeChat police app was able to remove the need for dedicated ID cards on one’s personnel and just use smartphones. The government of Guangzhou has access to a cloud where they can access and use government resources.
The most ‘smart’ thing about Guangzhou is the fact that potential homeowners can design their own homes in virtual reality that features over 720° of motion.
Big companies like Tencent are very interested in the smart city of Xi’an. Tencent has even provided cloud computing to the city and is aiming to provide even more services in the future. The municipal government of the city has even made one-stop civil service programs for the city, to make registration and entry easier for most inhabitants. Xi’an is projected to be able to reduce the overall need of government offices as 70% of government functions and services should soon be able to be done through a single office.
Hangzhou’s “City Brain” project
You cannot use the terms “smart cities in China” without hearing about the city brain project. Originally started by Alibaba and in use since 2016, this project has been continuously using camera systems and sensors across Hangzhou to improve signal control, reduce travel time, and emergency vehicle response time. The city saw a 15% increase in signal control, reduction of travel time by three minutes – which is a lot. Emergency vehicles were also able to properly respond 50% faster on average.
Common features of smart cities in China
China has over 500 “smart” cities. Although China still considers 90 of them as pilot projects, they are still a big number. These cities use both technology and data to revolutionize the way their cities work and to ensure an efficient working throughout the landmass. By 2025, smart cities are projected to generate a rough estimated $320 billion for China’s economy. As it stands right now, here are a few things that have been fully automated in China, as part of the smart city project:
China has one of the busiest public commute systems, with the roads almost always being filled with vehicles. People take an average of 50 minutes to travel to work in both Beijing and Shanghai. During rush hour – the busiest hours of the day, usually 9 AM or 5 PM – cars’ average driving speed can drop to as much as 26 kilometers an hour.
To fix issues of possible roadblocks, and even worse: traffic jams, the intelligent commute has been designed. In the 500 smart cities of China, smart transportation has improved traffic by 9.25% as of 2017, and the figure is projected to have been increased to over 10% by 2020.
Security is one of the biggest loopholes of businesses all around the globe. Not only is security an issue for the private businesses, where competitors are always looking to snoop around and competition is tough, government offices also need the top level of security. Though China has the slogan “everyone is responsible”, it is still not viable enough. A random example is how China’s Kingho group canceled a $19 billion mining deal with Pakistan because of security concerns. Almost all of the 500 smart cities in China mandate the use of smart cards to commute through the city. These cards contain useful information on how to identify a person. Smart cards are easy to carry and replace the need of employing personal identification officers.
Every day smart gadgets
China’s smart cities are full of smarter gadgets like automatic garbage bins, and intelligent lockers. These small smart gadgets ease the lifestyle of the residents of China’s smart cities and allow these citizens to be more efficient workers for the country’s economy.
China is projected to have 71% of its population urbanized by the year 2030, and 80% by 2050 – which is a pretty big figure considering that China has the most population across the globe. To add to this effort, the urbanization project includes equipping smart cities with sensors and cameras that can capture humidity, temperature, and light to welcome citizens into the cities.
With over 500 smart cities already in the country, and many more coming with the help of government projects, we fully expect China to be one of the first countries to become completely smart in the future. China realizes the potential of integrating information technology with man-force and this is one of the reasons why they are making such strides towards smart cities.