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How We Can Build Smarter Cities

By Thomas Xu, President, Global Government Sales, Enterprise Business Group,Huawei

By 2025, there will be 103 robots working alongside every 10,000 manufactur-ing workers, 97% of large enterprises will use Artificial Intelligence (AI), 85% of enterprise applications will be on the cloud and 58% of the world's population will have access to 5G services. These forecasts come from Huawei Global Industry Vision (GIV) 2025, and they reflect Huawei's perspective on the role of the ICT industry in an intelligent world as well as the opportunities that are involved.

Looking at the present, we can see digital technologies and intelligent capabili-ties being adopted in all walks of life around the world. As this trend continues, the rapid development of 5G and AI technologies, the rise of human-machine collaboration, and the development of a symbiotic economy — in which natural ecosystems and human activity benefit each other — will change the way peo-ple communicate, work, and live.

Boosting Efficiency with Technology and Accelerating the Digital Transformation of Cities

Policymakers and industry leaders around the world have realized that digital technologies can help advance social and economic development. Eager to seize such opportunities for growth, countries around the world are outlining ambitious digital strategies. This trend is typified by the likes of the UK's Gov-ernment as a Platform plan, South Korea's 'U-City Plan,' Japan's 'Smart So-ciety 5.0,' Singapore's 'Smart Nation 2025,' and China's 'New Infrastructure' program. Looking at the bigger picture, more than 170 countries have an-nounced digital strategies, over 50 have published AI strategies, and upwards of 1000 cities have released Smart City strategies.

A shift toward improving efficiency with technologies to accelerate cities' digital transformation has built up momentum. City managers, solution providers, and city service operators should embrace changes and apply digital technologies to build the living spaces of the future.

Tackling Big Goals with a Small-Scale Approach

As a leading global ICT infrastructure and solutions provider, Huawei proac-tively participates in the digital and Smart City construction of global govern-ments.

Providing a Digital Foundation for the Long-Term Development of Smart Cities

As huge, complex systems, Smart Cities can't be built overnight; they must be constructed phase by phase, and they require continuous attention and care. Smart City construction is a never-ending project, so we must plan from a long-term, forward-looking perspective.

Smart City construction is well underway: As the digital economy booms, new applications are being created all the time, and data is growing exponentially. Significantly, it's not just the number of applications that's growing; the quality of those being created is improving, too. Inevitably, as services become in-creasingly diverse, data needs to be converged across geographical regions, departments, and systems. In these circumstances, conventional, distributed information infrastructure is no longer sufficient. Instead, a Smart City requires a powerful digital foundation — a platform that's agile, innovative, secure, and collaborative. Meanwhile, Smart City services require elasticity, agility, and se-curity, so using a cloud platform is optimal. This is why Huawei advocates the 'cloud-first' strategy. This strategy entails government and enterprise custom-ers formulating cloudification plans as early as possible to gradually migrate existing applications to the cloud, then they can innovate cloud-native applica-tions, applying the strengths of the cloud environment.

Governments around the world are busy migrating government services to the cloud. For example, last year the Singapore government announced a five-year cloud migration plan and signed contracts worth more than US$620 mil-lion to move more services to the cloud. Thailand and South Africa have also launched e-Government cloud projects to aggregate information across gov-ernment departments — saving time and resources, slashing infrastructure costs, improving government efficiency, and ensuring data security and reliabil-ity.

The HUAWEI CLOUD business unit acted swiftly and deployed 13 nodes around the world, including nodes in Singapore, Bangkok, Johannesburg, Mex-ico City, Sao Paulo, and San Diego. Through open public cloud platforms, HUAWEI CLOUD provides high-quality cloud services for government and en-terprise clients.

HUAWEI CLOUD is committed to building the most powerful digital foundation for an intelligent world — one that enables data, applications, platforms, and ecosystems.

The use of data is critical for Smart Cities to thrive. HUAWEI CLOUD Stack's intelligent data lake enables cities to collect, process, analyze, and converge different types of data, so as to supply high-quality data for Smart City applica-tions. Additionally, HUAWEI CLOUD's open enablement platform provides ad-vanced services, such as AI, big data, and Internet of Things (IoT), to facilitate the development and expansion of applications.

HUAWEI CLOUD and its 90,000 partners worldwide together provide the driv-ing force behind cities' digital transformation. Now, after four years of devel-opment, Huawei is the second-largest cloud service provider in China, ranking fifth globally. HUAWEI CLOUD has attracted more than 1.8 million developers, over 14,000 consulting partners, and more than 6000 technical partners. With more than 4500 offerings in its cloud market, HUAWEI CLOUD has become the platform of choice for governments and enterprises on their digitalization journey.

Adjusting Strategies to Fit Different Cities

When building a Smart City, the key is to think big but start by acting on a small scale. The process begins with coordinated planning and creating a uni-fied blueprint, before finding methods of implementation appropriate to the city's management system and stage of development.

Building Smart New Towns: Unified Planning and Step-by-Step Imple-mentation

In many developing countries, building 'smart new towns' — new towns or cit-ies that are located next to established metropolitan cities — is an effective way to tackle prominent urbanization problems of big cities, such as traffic congestion and explosive population growth. As well as addressing these is-sues, constructing these smart new towns can also drive digital economic de-velopment, as they are well suited to the use of digital technologies. Smart new towns can also serve as a pilot project for many governments in the initial stage of Smart City construction.

The planning and construction of smart new towns is easy, which — like draw-ing on a piece of blank paper — isn't restricted by problems such as old city protection and historical investments commonly seen in re-developing and re-constructing old cities. For smart new town construction, Huawei recommends an integrated, step-by-step strategy.

In some smart new town construction projects in the Middle East and Africa, we have helped customers build infrastructures such as urban networks, gov-ernment clouds, big data platforms, and IoT. We have also worked with eco-system partners to provide lightweight intelligent applications such as smart lighting, smart parking, smart dustbins, smart traffic management, and smart crowd management.

Upgrading and Reconstructing Old Cities: A Campus-First Strategy for Non-Coordinated Construction

More often than not, we have to digitally upgrade existing urban facilities. Based on Huawei's extensive experience in building Smart Cities domestically and internationally, we believe that — in the absence of a highly coordinated approach to Smart City construction — a 'campus-first' strategy could be the right strategy to pursue.

In a city, almost everything other than the roads can be considered a campus of some sort. More than 90% of residents work and live in campuses, and 80% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is produced in campuses. In a sense, cam-puses are the building blocks that make up a city. The goal of the campus-first strategy is to bring intelligence to these building blocks.

There are many types of campuses, and each presents vastly different scenar-ios. For example, public administration campuses include government offices, science and technology parks, and new smart towns. Elsewhere, customs campuses include border crossings, special regulation zones, as well as sea-ports and airports. Finally, education campuses include universities, middle schools, primary schools, training centers, and research institutions.

Notably, old industrial zone upgrade and transformation is common in highly developed cities, such as Kai Tak Park in Hong Kong and Shougang Park in Beijing. Revived by modern technology, the idea is for these repurposed parks — which are essentially a kind of campus — to become scenic spots while al-so boosting the integrated development of local culture and the digital econo-my.

Huawei provides smart campus solutions for all scenarios — capable of build-ing scenario-specific solutions with intelligent sensing, connectivity, cloud, big data, Geographic Information System (GIS), and AI technologies. These solu-tions can help maximize campus productivity and optimize service experience. For example, a customs risk control system deployed at the Liantang Port in Shenzhen has shortened the customs clearance time from three to five minutes to a dozen seconds for vehicles that the big data analytics platform identifies as compliant.

Helping Cities Go Digital: Building the Digital Foundation and Enriching the Industry Ecosystem

Huawei has participated in the digital transformation of more than 700 cities around the world, accumulating valuable practical experience in the process. In the past five years, more than 20 cities supported by Huawei have won inter-national Smart City awards, including Shenzhen and Shanghai in China; Yanbu, Saudi Arabia; and Rustenburg, South Africa.

Looking ahead, Huawei will continue to innovate, and enable data and applica-tions with the aim of building a powerful foundation for an intelligent world. Guided by the 'platform + ecosystem' strategy — focusing on being an enter-prise with an open, scalable, flexible, and secure digital platform and collabo-rating with a series of partners in an ecosystem — we'll develop more scenar-io-specific solutions with our partners and improve the ecosystem. Critically, we'll also share our successful Smart City experiences to help more cities in their digital transformation journeys.

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Issue 31 — Digital Government

Building Smart Cities that Provide a Sense of Security,Belonging, and Happiness

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