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At first glance, it might seem difficult to come up with many similarities between Taipei and its Sister City, Atlanta.

The Taiwanese capital has five metro lines that moves millions of people a day. Metro Atlanta’s daily rider numbers just hit 200,000. Despite carrying an endless stream of cars and motorcycles each day, Taipei’s roads are immaculate. Atlanta’s are seemingly always halfway sinking.

But what connects the sprawling metro area of Taiwan with its Atlanta counterpart is a shared commitment to Smart City initiatives. The Metro Atlanta area has become a hub for Smart City innovation, from Peachtree Corners’ Smart City living laboratory to new innovations coming out of Georgia Tech. Taipei and its surrounding municipalities have long been Smart City leaders and technology “solutions providers” to other places, said National Development Council’s Minister Ming-Hshin Kung during the opening ceremonies of the Smart City Summit & Expo last month.

“Taiwan has become a very important partner to cities around the world” when it comes to developing the infrastructure and technology associated with Smart City projects, added Paul Peng of the Taipei Computer Association. Taiwan is home to the world’s largest logic semiconductor companies and companies that are driving telecommunications innovation. It is also the birthplace of a growing number of Smart City startups, thanks to organizations like Startup Terrace and the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs.

For the last eleven years, the international Smart City community has gathered in Taipei to see up-and-coming Smart City technology initiatives in action. The goal is to showcase Taiwanese innovations and learn from other Smart City leaders about what technologies are driving cities forward.

More than 500 leaders from 112 cities around the world took part in the Summit this year. Among them was a delegation of technologists and politicians from the State of Georgia. The delegation, which included Mayors from Woodstock and Warner Robins, took the opportunity to meet with companies and city leaders to further grow their Smart City initiatives at home.

So, What Makes A Smart City?

At its core Smart Cities, or Intelligent Cities, focus on using data to help improve the quality of life for its constituents. But as highlighted throughout the Summit, it is really about creating an Urban System Framework where governance, design, economics, and infrastructure all help build up a city’s culture and society.

Cutting-edge Smart City programs were on full display at the Summit, with companies and municipalities showcasing what they are building in E-Governance, IoT (Internet of Things), Smart Energy, IoT Surveillance, and Smart Healthcare. The Georgia Delegation specifically got to spend time getting acquainted with each city counterparts and local companies that are building city-focused technologies. That included talking with city officials at places like Taoyuan, Taiwan who are using new AI technology to monitor local water pollution, companies like Foxconn developing a “CityGPT” to synchronize city data into one space, or startups working on new energy solution opportunities.

The Summit also highlighted the fact that Smart Cities need to focus on public-private partnerships, equitability, and leveraging human expertise in order to create thriving spaces.

The Summit was also a place for international representatives to exchange ideas. The Georgia Delegation, which included Mayor’s from Metro Atlanta cities Warner Robins and Woodstock, got to share on stage how they are leveraging data to build safer, more resilient cities. Their Smart City efforts were also celebrated, as both cities made the Smart21 list, a global award from the Intelligent Community Forum.

From Expo Floor To The Real World

But seeing Smart City examples on the floor of an Expo is one thing. It is something else to be able to experience how it impacts lives on a daily basis.

One representative from the Georgia Delegation certainly experienced that one night while grabbing dinner near the crowded Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. After taking a cab ride back to her hotel room, Global Atlanta’s Michal Jensby realized she couldn’t find her phone.

“When you lose your phone in the US and it’s been over half an hour, you know you’ll never see it again.You just start planning for how you’ll get another phone as soon as possible. I’m already thinking about how in the world I’m going to purchase a new phone and connect it to my US-provider account while in Taipei or if I’m going to have to go the whole business trip without a phone,” she told Hypepotamus.

Upon the suggestion of her hotel’s concierge, Jensby and her friend went down to the local police station. They were greeted by an officer who ushered them over to a computer monitor in the lobby of the building that to Jensby’s surprise, the screen showed every CCTV camera on every major intersection of Taipei, with a Google Map-style user experience allowing the police officer to Zoom in on different cars. Despite not have the exact license plate for the cab — and having very little identifying information other than a general time in which the cab left the restaurant and arrived at the hotel — they were able to track down the phone in less than twenty minutes.

“[It was] starting to feel like I’ve honestly become a secret agent. The amount of transparency we have into this situation baffles me, and the whole time we’re searching footage, I’m saying to my friend — “Isn’t it crazy that we’re watching this? Isn’t it crazy that they can sit here for half an hour and help me find my phone because no one had their car stolen, no one got shot, no one broke into a building nearby?” Jensby added.

“This whole ordeal happened the first night I landed and it affected the way I thought about Smart Cities and my perspective on the conference. I still wonder what everyday Taiwanese citizens feel or even know about the amount of surveillance and data collection happening, but I saw the efficiency and value of having this technology available when I needed it.”

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Maija Ehlinger

Quelle/Source: hypepotamus, 20.04.2024

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