Smart city strategy public consultation begins

The public consultation on strategies to develop Macau into a smart city, and on the development of the principal areas within the city, commenced yesterday and will continue until June 30, as announced by the Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT).

According to FDCT, there are 13 key areas for development. These are: information infrastructures, the application of big data, mobile city, security, environment, high-efficiency energy, development of urban infrastructure, tourism and leisure, open government, regional cooperation, technological innovation, healthy life and equal opportunity, the promotion of smart city education and, finally, training of talented human resources.

The consultation document indicates that a short-term pilot project should be initiated first in order to explore the possible outcomes of the smart city’s development strategy. This project will comprise six small independent programs.

One program proposes the installation of LED lights to replace typical road lights.

This road light program will be in the research phase this year, during which time the selection of spots will also be carried out.

FDCT hopes that a final scheme can be launched as soon as possible.

The second program is called Macau-in-Pocket. This program proposes an all-in-one mobile application for all governmental departments, in order to grant the public easier access to different government services. The app is planned for release in 2019.

A third program suggests the establishment of a central governmental data office, along with the set-up of an official website for open data.

This program is expected to being in full swing by the end of the year.

Besides these three programs, two other programs have been developed to promote and educate the public about the concept of smart cities.

Further, it also proposes subsidies and funding programs for smart city projects.

Last, the government plans to launch the “municipal facility Easy Go” to provide GPS services in municipal markets, street markets, vendors, gardens, and public bathrooms. This program has been scheduled to launch within this year.

When asked how Macau can protect the public’s privacy while simultaneously carrying out its smart city development strategy, Chan Wan Hei, member of the Administration Committee of the FDCT, said “we endorse the strong protection of privacy.”

“As a matter of fact, according to the agreement signed between Alibaba and Macau, we are not just bringing what they are doing in Hangzhou to Macau. We are doing something different. We will use similar technology, but because we have different infrastructure, we cannot just import what Alibaba is doing in Hangzhou,” explained Chan.

“Alibaba use quite a lot of video instead of social media. Alibaba use camera and CCTV to capture [footage] from the transportation monitor. In Macau, we will do [a] similar thing,” said Chan.

“Another thing that I need to [add is that] all the data collected in Macau will not leave Macau for sure. That’s one of the things written in the agreement we signed with Alibaba,” said Chan.   

The Chairman of FDCT, Ma Chi Ngai, noted that the city’s government is considering whether to establish a smart city development office to be specifically responsible for smart city development matters.

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