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An extensive look at the future of Smart Cities with the panel from Seedstars5 min read

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Posted date October 11, 2018

Recently, a panel of industry experts came to Bangkok to shed light on the Urban and city tech developments that can benefit the landscape of the sprawling metropolis in Asia that will eventually turn into Smart cities operating with fast, effective technology.

What is the nature and definition of a Smart City?

Kristian Kloecksi: The term smart city was coined back in 2010 but the idea of the Smart City has become quite controversial lately. The idea is all centered around invention, architecture, and design. As technology has evolved the term and the ideas behind it have evolved along with it to become more of a ‘Hybrid City’.

We must define the issues that define the problematic city and urban areas that can be solved through technology.

These key areas are:

Health

Transportation

Mobility

Crime and Violence

Education

Pollution

Different people in different roles will see these problems in a different light and find alternative ways to solve them. The solutions will be different. It can be a social problem which needs political development. The other issue of smart cities is the subject of Algorithms and collecting data that can be collected from coding.

We are now moving away from the name of Smart City and into this area of Hybrid city which is more inclusive. The Smart City is more charged and technologically driven whereas the Hybrid city is more focused on allowing integration on a social level.

Dr. John Leslie Millar: The Key things that are driving Bangkok forward are the development of the mass transit system. Bangkok’s mass transit system will be bigger than London’s in the future and is rapidly advancing. That is an amazing statistic that proves that the technology and innovation of the Bangkok mass transit system will be developed at a faster rate than that of the London underground that took nearly a century to build. This is going to transform the way we live and triple the advantages of the technologies and mobility through the city.

What are the problems or challenges that you have faced developing a Smart City?

Kristian : What has always come out is that experimenting with new technology systems to address the issues has repercussions on the makeup of the existing layout of the cities. Planning the operations of the transport system and opening up the communications system between private sectors is important. You have these networks and connections that open opportunities that are often overlooked when introducing new technology. We need to understand the importance of the way technology can change the way people work and interact to grow and implement the technologies in societies. We need a serious conscious effort to make the communication between people and the technologies strengthened and open.

Sudeept: A lot of the time people get carried away with a one fits all technology. Essentially what is needed is social integration and careful protection of everyone’s rights in the community, city, and society.

Dr John: Another thing that we must take into consideration is how we build the technology and create a strong infrastructure around this to implement the urban tech that will make real change.

We need to look at trends in technology so we can build buildings for example that will still be of use 50 years from now. Having diverse and like-minded people within the tech industry is crucial to help develop Bangkok with a better understanding of Smart Cities and supply a better quality of life for the people in the surrounding areas.

What are your criteria you look for when choosing technology for the Smart Cities and how should we go about creating the technology for the future?

Kristian: There is an allure that these technologies that are already in place such as telecommunications that they are the lasting advancements.

There is no solution – people live together and choose to grow together.

Building in a way that is open and flexible and future adaptations as opposed to ending up with buildings from the modernist area which were very rigid. Digital Technologies don’t require such heavy mobility and are more lucid in their technological advancements.

Manuel Der Hagopian:  If you see the quickness of the technologies we need to address the basic needs. Climate for example, how the structure, design, and architecture are more fluid. It cant be the lasting technology… there will always be something else developed, therefore the buildings we create have to be open and adaptable. If we compare Switzerland or another advanced country and compare it with Vietnam or China we have to address the issues and look to develop them to the same standard of more developed nations and ecosystems.

Are there any urban tech startups from South East Asia that have caught your eye?

Sudeept: In terms of Mobility, a lot of innovation is coming in the region and we can learn a lot from the west, however, we need to invest in the area to progress Urban Tech.

Kristian:I’m not sure if they are in Thailand, however, the invention of the dockless sharing bikes from China are amazing. They are a real example of ‘Hybrid technology’ that is already implemented and making money and real improvement to the pollution and traffic for example. You can leave the bikes wherever you are in the city and unlock it with your smartphone. This is where we are headed in terms of technology and the accessibility of fast, effective mobility.

Dr John: At Ananda, we have grown to be the largest property development in Thailand. We need to manage this company as a technology company. Nothing is ever finished, something can always be improved and built into the culture. Its all about building several technologies and constantly innovating internally in the company.

For more information on Seedstars check out – https://www.seedstarsworld.com

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