ICT exec says smart city masterplan should include fiber network

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

An ICT executive said that to create a smart city, a core IT fiber network should be built within the city to allow greater connectivity across industries.

A session on Smart Cities was conducted at the 15th Asia IoT Business Platform held at Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City from August 1-2

A session on Smart Cities was conducted at the 15th Asia IoT Business Platform held at Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City from August 1-2

Jojit Alcazar, chief ICT advisor of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), was one of the panelists at the Smart Cities Session of the 15th Asia IoT Business Platform held at Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City from August 1-2.

Alcazar agreed with Evelyn Nacario-Castro, head of Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board who said that smart cities begin with smart planning, and smart planning includes smart collaborations between the public and private sectors.

However, he added that masterplanning a city involves much more than putting up CCTVs and command centers. “We have different verticals, different applications, different IoTs that [we] can integrate to make a smart city,” he said.

“But I think the key responsibility of city planners, builders, and managers is to provide that core IT infrastructure where all of these verticals would connect to. Build them horizontally.”

According to Alcazar, a core IT fiber network is needed for all smart city solutions to work because everything will connect there and the city will be managed better.

“You may rely on Smart or Globe to build that network,” said Alcazar after noting that the Philippines has the slowest Internet speed and the most expensive Internet service. “But I think it is also critical for government to own that network that can run the cities.”

Architect and urban planner Felino A. Palafox Jr. of Palafox Associates, another panelist, shared his observations of Taipei and other cities abroad where “Everything is in the Internet.”

People get their licenses and permits through the Internet, he said, thus reducing the need for people to leave their homes and negotiate the streets to attend to these matters and eventually, lessening traffic.

Manila’s traffic results to P2.7-million worth of loss of opportunities per day, said Palafox.
Traffic is also a problem in Cebu, admitted Nacario-Castro, for which they are turning to IoT to help provide a solution.

“In terms of really developing IoT applications, we had that last year with Microsoft and other groups who allowed us to work with students to develop IoT applications in relation to the challenges that we face – whether it is traffic, waste energy. We also work with them in terms of traffic management and data gathering,” she said.

According to Palafox, a study has revealed that the five smartest cities in the world are New York, London, Paris, San Francisco, and Boston.

One of BCDA’s objectives is to transform Clark into a smart city, ultimately making it one of the smart cities not just in the Philippines, but also in Asia and hopefully, the world, according to Alcazar.

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