Information technologies such as Big Data, cloud computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are causing great changes in our daily lives, as well as in the operational mechanisms for entire cities.
By properly mining and applying data analytics, cities are unlocking their potential for growth, improving their decision-making, promoting economic development, and upgrading regional industries as a result of digital transformation. First and foremost, cities are focused on improving the well-being of residents.
Five years ago, the Chinese Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development released a list of Smart City developments to be built and commissioned, with the Longgang District in Shenzhen ranking among the first set of 46 pilot smart communities — and so far its residents are benefiting greatly from the project.
Building a Thriving Smart City
Today, Longgang residents no longer need to visit multiple agencies for government services.
Now residents simply download materials from the Internet, communicate with the corresponding agency through SMS or WeChat, and then queue in front of a ‘single window’ in the Administrative Service Hall for a final, expedited review.
In addition to interacting with the on-line Apps, residents can engage with other service channels such as an online service hall — integrating the online and offline approval steps.
Smart Longgang has entered a new stage of development. More than a century ago, people built the predecessor of digital Smart Cities with the deployment of telegraph and telephone cables, water pipes, and metro railways. Today, the innovative application of cloud computing, Big Data, AI, and other technologies has opened an entirely new era for the world’s cities.
With a collaborative ecosystem and an interactive system featuring ubiquitous sensing, connectivity, computation, and digital intelligence — new Smart Cities are not simply racks of cold machines. Smart City platforms have now evolved into living entities that are constantly learning and adapting through the increasing use of cloud computing, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile Internet, and AI technologies.
During the 19th China Hi-Tech Fair, the ‘Smart City Operation Management Center’ (Smart Center) was opened on a ‘trial run’ basis for selected guests attending Huawei’s Smart City Summit 2017. Over the course of the demonstration, company representatives, partners, and journalists in attendance witnessed a powerful performance of Longgang’s new ‘Smart City brain.’
Based on an investment of nearly USD 79 million (CNY 500 million), the Longgang Smart Center now covers a total floor area of 17,748 square meters. The project includes one command center, and three application platforms: One for basic information, a second for collaborative office activities, and the third, a public services environment.
With the support of Huawei and other enterprises, Longgang District administrators have planned to further develop the Smart Center Big Data platform to advance the comprehensive integration of technologies, services, and data within the next three-to-five years. Over this time, the district expects to meet its goals for the collaborative management of services across different data layers, regions, systems, agencies, and businesses to establish a high benchmark for all smart district projects across China.
Longgang is one of the most well-known smart districts in China, as every year large numbers of city representatives from China and around the world visit to better apply Longgang’s experience to their own Smart City deployments.
Developing a Smart City Data Brain
The Smart Center is located in a low-rise building, and nearby roads are equipped with Huawei-supplied smart street lamps — each featuring a sunlight-based illumination controller, which reduces energy consumption by 80 percent.
A wall-sized video screen in the central control hall of the Smart Center displays the ‘brain’s’ running status, the ‘central nervous system,’ and the ‘nerve endings’ of the city.
The objective is to view the overall situation with the ability to immediately investigate the smallest details of available information about Longgang’s current status.
During both routine and emergency operations, the Smart Center, maintains active links with associated Big Data-based information to support decision-making, and the data of each street, community, and building can be visualized for screen display.
Currently, the Smart Center maintains 2,030 types of municipal data resources, more than 400 million municipal data records, and more than 20 billion data records covering the past, present, and future of Shenzhen’s Longgang District.
This large quantity of data enables city managers to properly plan and construct essential service aspects for citizens, including education, medical, and transportation resources by understanding the causes and effects uncovered by the analysis of urban statistics processed by Longgang’s new Big Data platform. In other words — because of Smart Center technology — administrators can now solve difficult issues with unprecedented efficiency.
The Smart Center integrates the management of city operations through video conferencing, command and dispatch, and Smart City experiences. The system intuitively displays the city’s status in real time which, in turn, enables decision-making and predictive scheduling based on data science.
The urban-safety example often attracts the most attention. We can track areas of concentration and peak incident periods within the city on the big screen. Based on these inputs, we receive updated warnings that prepare police personnel to respond instantly at critical moments.
Since the implementation of smart policing, the total number of criminal incidents in Longgang — the most populated district in Shenzhen — has decreased 29 percent. This is the largest such decrease in the history of the city, and serious crimes have been drastically curtailed.
Visual Connections for Instant Handling
The Smart Center enables decision-makers to see events developing in real-time by giving them a ‘macro view’ of the dynamic trends occurring throughout the city. In this way, all information pertaining to the government, the city, and its residents is closely integrated.
The central screen can visualize information in many formats, including 2D, 3D, and live video — and it can archive images with map overlays organized into 32 categories and further detailed into 303 digitalized layers. This provides live data and real-time maps for public services and city management that are intuitive, simple, and effective.
Through the efficient aggregation of data, cross-agency business processes can be connected and optimized. This approach enables rapid responses to events, the efficient delivery of government services, and more highly refined city services. Together, the results provide a happier life for residents and lay the foundation for ongoing, sustainable development.
With Smart Center support, all industry business systems in Longgang are fully linked, which contributes to a unified view over all city management aspects. This benefits an accelerated transformation of service-oriented government functions, and implements full-lifecycle protocols for the management of social events, avoidance of social conflicts, and a reduction in the occurrence of criminal incidents — with the objective of creating a secure and stable social environment for city development.
The convergence of information about people, events, and ‘things’ makes quantified decision-making possible. The Longgang Smart Center can detect potential problems well before they reach crisis levels by mining and analyzing historical and real-time data, and then using Big Data analytics to track the associations. By using an analytics sandbox to simulate policy scenarios, the government is able to make smarter, more efficient decisions.
Based on the ubiquitous deployment of sensors throughout the city, Huawei and its partners have created a unique Smart Center that features instant emergency response capabilities for the Longgang District of Shenzhen.
Having adopted a ‘Platform + Ecosystem’ strategy, Huawei is focused on building ICT infrastructure platforms that cultivate productive urban environments in which a robust ecosystem will grow.
To build world leading Smart City solutions, Huawei is working with 30 core partners, such as China Development Bank, CETC, Aerospace Shenzhou Smart System Technology, iSoftStone, Digital China, and iFLYTEK.
When visiting the Longgang Smart Center, we can see and feel the full extent of Huawei’s contribution to the evolution of Smart Cities by following the improvements realized for the well-being of residents and the regional economy at large.
Smart City solutions supply the information that energizes the rate of expansion for evolving cities, and with more than 120 Safe City installations across 40 countries, Huawei helps enable scientific, agile, real-time, and efficient Smart City development.
The future of tomorrow’s Smart Cities has arrived today.