Singapore solar
Image credit: Stock

The 2017 Smart Cities Index, produced by EasyPark Group, has listed Singapore as the second smartest city in the world. Other Asian countries share top spots in the rankings, with Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Mumbai also on the list. Copenhagen ranked number one in the world.

Singapore’s ranking is due to the city’s efforts in urban planning, business ecosystem, internet quality and efforts toward clean energy. Singapore is consistently being recognised for its business-friendly reputation and efforts to drive smart infrastructure.

Sustainable development played a large part in the rankings, specifically investment into clean energy, along with determinants such as mobile penetration, smart parking and digital access.

EasyPark Group’s chief business development officer Mauritz Börjeson says: “Big Data has changed the face of the world as we know it, because it allows us to create better solutions to real world problems. Without better solutions, global urbanisation would lead to problems such as traffic congestion, housing shortages and pollution — by using Big Data, we can help tackle these important global issues.
“Every city in this index deserves to be applauded for their efforts, and while the results clearly indicate those cities which are leaps and bounds ahead, it also brings to attention the admirable efforts of many cities looking forward towards a smart future.”

It has been suggested that Asia will lead smart city development globally, with China having recently announced that 500 of its cities would become smart. According to Economic Information Daily, it is expected these cities will start their “smart-city” transformations during 2017.

China daily reports that “a total of 290 cities have initiated smart-city pilot projects, and more than 300 cities have signed smart-city construction agreements with IT companies, including the three major Chinese telecommunications companies.

The report continues saying “The Shanghai-Hangzhou-Ningbo Highway has become China’s first “internet highway,” based on its cooperation with mobile payment service provider Alipay and China Guangfa Bank. With more than 40,000 vehicles streaming across the highway every day, it takes a long time for drivers to pay tolls. Through smart-city applications like mobile payments, the time consumed paying toll fees has been greatly reduced.”

In 2014 Singapore launched its Smart Nation programme, which utilises vast amounts of city data to predict disease outbreaks or enable effective disaster management. Some experts are, however, concerned about the implications for data security and privacy in Singapore as more of this data is gathered.