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Smart Shenzhen: A Benchmark For Smart Cities

By Zhou Yumeng, Reporter, Shenzhen Special Zone Daily

Shenzhen's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020 was just over CNY2767 billion (about US$433 trillion), which translates into an increased growth rate from -6.6% in the first quarter of 2020 to 0.1% growth in the first half of the year. This was followed by growth reaching 2.6% in the first three quarters of the year, before hitting 3.1% for the whole year, illustrating the city's steady progress from recovery to growth.

On November 17, 2020, Shenzhen won the Global Enabling Technologies Award at the Smart City Expo World Congress held by United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the World Economic Forum. Mao Huidong, Secretary-General of the China Review Committee of the Global Smart City Award, lauded Shenzhen's Smart City initiative for becoming a benchmark both domestically and internationally.

On December 8, 2020, the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (2020–2021): Global Urban Value Chain — Perspectives on the Evolution of Human Civilizations, a research collaboration conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and UN-Habitat, was officially released. This report highlights the huge growth of Shenzhen's sustainable competitiveness, rising from 19th in 2020 to ninth in 2021, ranking among the world's top 10 for the first time ever.

Liu Jiachen, Secretary and Director of Shenzhen Municipal Government Service Data Administration, said that Shenzhen, as a metropolis with a population of 20 million, is implementing Smart City construction and digital government reform to promote the digitalization of government services, the economy, and everyday life for its citizens, becoming a model for Digital China and global cities.

Intelligence Is Needed for Smart City Governance and Development, with Data Convergence as the Basis

Shenzhen originally proposed the concept of becoming a Smart City as early as 2010, and Huawei, with its HQ in Shenzhen, became one of the first technology enterprises in China to enter the Smart City field. But how can a city become smart? Intelligence is rooted in streamlined data, according to Chen Bin, Vice President of Huawei's government and enterprise business in China and General Manager of Huawei's government and enterprise business in Shenzhen.

"City governance needs to become intelligent, and this in turn leads to greater urban management efficiency," Chen said. How can city governance be improved? "The key to this is sharing cross-department, -industry, and -domain data resources, integrating them together to boost productivity, production value, and efficiency." Chen used the bank loan assessment process for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) as an example to illustrate how this works in practice. He said that enterprises possess big data covering their production, supply, sales, and deposits, while other data is held by governments and banks. He pointed out that if the data from these different domains can be streamlined and processed with AI algorithms, banks can offer more favorable financial services to SMEs based on precise enterprise profiling.

Shenzhen Is Becoming a Major Player in Government Reform for Faster Data and Smarter Services

Shenzhen has established itself as a Smart City largely because of its ability to streamline data from multiple parties. On December 20, 2020, Shenzhen ranked as the leading Chinese city for online government services, according to the e-Government Blue Book: China e-Government Development Report (2019–2020), which was released by the China National School of Administration and the Social Sciences Academic Press of China.

In order to help manage the COVID-19 outbreak, Shenzhen launched its own health code app system on February 7, 2020. This health Quick Response (QR) code system allows residents to declare their health and travel history to obtain a scannable, color-coded health code. By December, the health code had been used 400 million times, playing a key role in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

By developing its smart infrastructure, Shenzhen is providing more and more smart services to its citizens and enterprises. The instant application approval is a prime example, and it's become the trump card for Shenzhen's online government service capabilities. The service has been implemented for 278 service items, including talent recruitment. Shenzhen has also launched a new mode for unified and instant application and application approval, enabling quick application and instant approval for citizens and enterprises through automatic online services.

"Data will lead to transformation in business and management processes," Liu Jiachen said. "We should speed up the transformation of government services and comprehensively optimize government management through proactive internal reforms."

Scenario-Based Intelligence Can Only Mature Through Gradual Improvement

"Intelligence cannot be created with data centers alone; it involves more content at various levels. Smart Cities are a process of gradual evolution, and are far from peaking," Chen Bin said. "Data streamlining and convergence must be performed based on specific scenarios and bring social and economic value."

Autonomous driving is a prime example of this. According to Chen Bin, the rapid development of autonomous driving technologies will see Level-4 automated vehicles put into mass production in 2021; but until legislation and infrastructure catch up, they will only be used in restricted areas. Such areas include parking lots, ports, and expressways, and they will become valuable test locations.

Chen Bin elaborated on possible scenarios in which autonomous driving technology can be used. "Take Shenzhen for example, where the number of cars has already exceeded three million. Parking and finding your car is troublesome in all of Shenzhen's business districts. In this case, we can begin by implementing the automatic driving application in underground parking lots, and integrate automatic driving technology with data and algorithms to achieve precise navigation in closed areas. This will help us realize functions such as automatic vehicle search and one-click parking."

Chen Dongping, Dean of Shenzhen Smart City Big Data Research Institute, said "Possessing urban data does not mean that we are able to manage cities efficiently. Technology is merely an auxiliary tool — one that we must approach from a governance perspective rather than just a technical perspective. Data governance is fundamental."

As a benchmark Smart City, Shenzhen is among the first cities in the world to embrace the data-driven era. However, service processes must be aligned with the data. Only by integrating data, algorithms, and scenarios, and by practicing and refining service processes in service scenarios can we instill more and more intelligence in Smart Cities.

Smart City Development Phase Smart Shenzhen 2.0

Since the Smart City concept was proposed in 2010, Shenzhen has become China's leading Smart City, having already undergone innovation, years of exploration, innovation, and development. In recognition of its development, Shenzhen beat 350 cities in 48 countries and regions around the world to win the Global Enabling Technologies Award. This indicates Shenzhen's potential to become the benchmark for other Smart Cities around the world.

According to the Smart City Future Development White Paper released by Huawei and Accenture (the White Paper), the development of Smart Cities must be gradual. It divides Smart City construction and development into three phases. The first phase is Smart City 1.0: simple scenarios and foundation consolidation. The second phase is Smart City 2.0, when data is converged and the platform is built. And finally, the third phase is Smart City 3.0, which features co-construction and sharing, as well as self-evolution. According to the White Paper, when a Smart City reaches the 3.0 phase, the city will have reached a level of intelligence where it can evolve by itself.

Experts say that Shenzhen has already entered the second phase of intelligence. The Shenzhen government continues adhering to the principles of unified planning and construction in order to build an exemplary Smart City, which will incorporate leading infrastructure and city services. Looking back at a successful 2020 for Shenzhen, we can see that the city is progressing in terms of resource governance, public services, and industry development. Shenzhen has also implemented a series of projects that benefit its people, bringing smart technology to the transport, education, healthcare, and maritime sectors, as well as the community as a whole.

Resource Governance: Shenzhen's Smart Water Services Enabled by Full Informatization

Shenzhen is home to many industries that put substantial pressure on both its water resources and the environment. Shenzhen Water Bureau uses water informatization to deliver improved water management and water project construction, stronger supervision of the water industry, and smart water services for customers. By applying Shenzhen's smart infrastructure, and the '1 + 4 + N' smart water framework, which consists of one command and decision-making center, four smart platforms (smart government, smart dispatch, smart management, and smart service), and N (multiple) application modules, the water bureau is able to acquire all data and integrate all water systems, effectively and intelligently monitoring and managing water services.

Regarding smart reservoirs, Shenzhen Water Bureau will build a smart reservoir management platform in partnership with Huawei to implement automatic monitoring, alarm reporting, and smart management of reservoirs. These reservoirs will be maintained and inspected using state-of-the-art technology, including 5G-driven drone boats and Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices.

Exploring smart urban river and lake management is also critical for the digitalization of urban water management. Shenzhen Water Bureau will cooperate with Huawei and the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research to build a multi-dimensional water model system that uses big data and model simulation. This system will help maintain healthy rivers and lakes on clear days, reduce pollution and waterlogging caused by heavy rain, while also minimizing the impact of floods.

City Services: Shenzhen Airport and Shenzhen Metro Showcase Smart Transportation

Shenzhen has implemented several major urban transportation projects, in partnership with Huawei, covering the airport and metro networks.

On August 18, 2020, Shenzhen Metro Lines 6 and 10 were officially opened, becoming the first metro lines in China to use Huawei's Urban Rail Cloud Solution, and also the first lines in Shenzhen to be fully covered by 5G. On top of this, the metro lines are also the first to apply computing and big data technologies to carry various subway service systems in the urban rail transit industry in China. With Huawei's Urban Rail Cloud Solution, Shenzhen Metro has transformed its traditional siloed vertical architecture. It now implements unified planning and construction, on-demand allocation and use, and effective sharing of ICT infrastructure resources, laying a solid foundation for smart applications, and bringing renewed momentum to the future of digital intelligence.

Meanwhile, in Shenzhen Airport, passengers can travel freely throughout the airport and board planes by using the airport's convenient biometric technology.One map centrally manages the airport, integrates terminal devices, data governance, and industry applications, to streamline digitalization through integration. The airport has also significantly strengthened its security management, airport operations, and passenger service efficiency. Huawei's Intelligent Stand Allocation solution intelligently manages and maximizes airport stands, meaning that 2.6 million fewer passengers per year need to take an airport shuttle bus.

On November 4, 2020, Shenzhen Airport Group and Huawei signed a new round of agreements for deepening strategic cooperation. These agreements establish a future-oriented continuous close strategic partnership and announce a series of joint innovation achievements. Over the past two years, Shenzhen Airport has worked with Huawei to plan and build nearly 100 smart projects over two phases. It is the first airport to launch projects such as smart stand allocation and smart security check channels that fully run on a 5G network, setting apart Shenzhen Airport from other Chinese airports.

Industry Development: Shenzhen's Kunpeng Industry Ecosystem Is Booming

In terms of industry development, promoting the intelligent upgrade of governments and enterprises and the prosperity of the smart ecosystem are key measures for the construction of a smart Shenzhen for all. Over the past few years, with the strong support of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Huawei has carried out comprehensive cooperation with Shenzhen governments at all levels in many basic industries, using Kunpeng, Ascend, AI, and the industrial Internet, to build innovation centers and an ecosystem for smart industry. This empowers Shenzhen's four pillar industries, five future industries, as well as accelerates the development of its seven strategic emerging industries.

In December 2019, the Kunpeng Innovation Center, jointly set up by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and Huawei, was officially completed in the Shenzhen Bay Science and Technology Ecological Park, covering an area of nearly 5000 square meters. In January the following year, the Shenzhen Kunpeng e-Government Cloud Application Innovation Lab opened. In April of that year, Huawei and the local government of Shenzhen's Nanshan district signed a strategic cooperation agreement on the joint development of the Kunpeng ecosystem. Meanwhile, the increasing demand for greater AI computing power led to Shenzhen Cloud Brain II being developed by Peng Cheng Laboratory and Huawei. Later that year, in November, Shenzhen Cloud Brain II ranked first in both the global IO500 ranking and the 10-node ranking of the most authoritative IO500 test in the High-Performance Computing (HPC) field.

Infrastructure: Equal Focus on Digital and Physical Infrastructure

The Smart Guangming project in Shenzhen's Guangming district showcases Shenzhen's intelligent digital infrastructure construction. The project comprises three networks, four platforms, three portals, and two centers. As a showpiece for the construction of Guangming's 'Smart Community,' the Baihua community has gained the attention of multiple industry partners.

The '4321 + X' solution is at the heart of Guangming's smart community construction project. Here, '4' refers to the converged government network, dedicated video network, IoT sensing network, and Internet. '3' is the three types of community services, which include public security, governance, and service. '2' means building a community public security governance platform and community governance and service workbench, while '1' refers to the formation of a data pool and a set of security mechanisms. And lastly, 'X' represents multiple services provided for the community, which cover security, basic services, and governance.

On October 22, 2020, Huawei and the University Town of Shenzhen officially launched the smart science and education campus network, which is China's first to adopt the Wi-Fi 6 standard. It integrates technologies such as Wi-Fi 6, the Internet of Things (IoT), and AI to provide all-scenario intelligent connection services, and is a major milestone for digitalizing the University Town of Shenzhen.

Shenzhen is home to several smart infrastructure projects as well as high-tech enterprises, such as Huawei, giving Shenzhen first-mover advantage in Smart City construction and digital economy development.

As Chen Rugui, Mayor of Shenzhen, said during his speech at HUAWEI CONNECT 2020, "Shenzhen adheres to government-enterprise collaboration, openness and innovation, and the construction of a world-class Smart City. Shenzhen promotes city governance that is scientific, refined, user-friendly, and high-quality, and as a result we have achieved technological enablement, digital transformation, and cloudification. We have also accelerated the transformation of the ICT industry, and continuously improved city governance and government service capabilities."

Shenzhen Will Work with Technology Enterprises to Build Shenzhen Intelligent Twins

"A good modern urban governance system requires strong technological support. It is no secret that Shenzhen's technological innovation is a national source of pride, which has made positive strides regarding industry supervision, grassroots governance, and environmental sustainability," said Liu Jiachen. As well as top-level scientific planning and design, Shenzhen is home to many leading enterprises it can cooperate with on Smart City construction.

In September 2020, the Shenzhen Municipal Government and Huawei released the reference architecture of the Shenzhen Intelligent Twins. By building a city-level integrated intelligent system with deep-learning capabilities, the two parties will enable the city to sense, think, and evolve, while always being a welcoming city for its citizens. The Intelligent Twins will provide intelligent and efficient city services for citizens and enterprises, making Shenzhen a benchmark digital economy.

To build the Intelligent Twins, Shenzhen will start several projects on building the digital infrastructure, digital networks, digital hubs, digital brain, and digital systems based on AI and cloud and through cloud-network-edge-device synergy. The city will also develop a data-driven city-level integrated intelligent collaboration system with deep-learning capabilities.

Shenzhen is building a unified portal for ubiquitous connections, a unified urban digital base, and an intensive and efficient intelligent city hub. Shenzhen and Huawei have also proposed a development goal for the next five years — one that aims to build the Shenzhen Intelligent Twins with deep-learning capabilities, so that the city will become a global benchmark of new Smart Cities and a model for Digital China.

On January 5, 2021, Shenzhen released the Opinions on Accelerating Smart City and Digital Government Construction, while the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Data Regulations (Draft) will be submitted to the Standing Committee of Shenzhen People's Congress for its first review. Liu Jiachen said that Shenzhen will take more measures measures to build a digital city by integrating digital government, economy, and city services. The aim is for Shenzhen to become a Smart City that is able to perceive, think, and evolve, while always being a welcoming city for all citizens and businesses.

"In the future, Shenzhen will be like an exhibition hall without ceilings or walls. People from all over the world will come to Shenzhen and feel the enthusiasm and pride of its citizens. Visitors will be able to experience first-hand the convenience of Shenzhen's state-of-the-art technology, whether they take a taxi, plane, or bus," Chen Bin said.

Cities have become the engines of human innovation and development. As the White Paper states, the informatization of cities will create an extremely complex and sophisticated operation system — one that will grow, integrate, and iterate.

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Issue 31 — Digital Government

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

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