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China, Japan, and South Korea lead smart city initiatives

Strong wireless communication networks are likely to account for the regions’ ability to rapidly deploy many smart city projects

South Korea is one of those leading the citizen-centric smart city charge
South Korea is one of those leading the citizen-centric smart city charge

China, Japan and South Korea's strong wireless communications likely account for their smart city lead

Japan has also recently launched a smart catastrophe management programme

India and Indonesia are failing to keep pace with the smart city leaders in some market segments

Governments in China, Japan, and South Korea lead the deployment of citizen-centric, smart city initiatives in Asia, according to ABI Research’s latest smart city market analysis on Asia.


Specific cities in China that continue to show accelerated adoption of smart energy solutions include Dalian, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Tianjin. The analysis finds that smart city programmes improve overall quality of life, boost enterprise operational efficiencies, and enhance the effectiveness of public safety and security, transportation, citizen engagement, catastrophe management, and sustainability services.


"Asia’s demand for smart city solutions will heighten over the next five years with China, Japan, and South Korea now accelerating adoptions of smart light, meter, building, and transportation, as well as renewable energy programmes," says Raquel Artes, industry analyst at ABI Research.


"All three countries possess strong wireless communication networks, which likely account for the regions’ ability to rapidly deploy many smart city initiatives in a timely and cost-efficient manner."


The research estimates that China smart meter installations will grow at a 21 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach 349 million in 2020 through vendors like Itron, Echelon, Huawei, Holley Metering, Itron, Landis+Gyr, and Sensus.


The region also aims to have five million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2020. With Japan and South Korea targeting 1 million and 200,000 EVs, respectively, on the road by 2020. Key EV vendors include BAIC, BYD, Geely, and Tesla, among others.


All three countries lead multi-applications smart card deployments that enable cashless payment for transportation, parking fees, and toll road fees. Ride-sharing programmes are also gaining traction, as evident through car manufacturers like Hyundai deploying car- sharing services in South Korea that utilise EV.


And while smart parking initiatives in Asia are still at a minimum, China acts as the region’s catalyst. China Unicom, Huawei, and the Shanghai government recently signed a strategic partnership to implement a smart parking solution in Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone, which will deploy in a 4.5G NB-IoT based network.


Smart parking enables parking operators and drivers to remotely check and locate available parking spaces in real time. It, therefore, reduces labour requirements of parking operators, optimises usage of parking spaces, and reduce public parking costs.


Japan also recently launched a smart catastrophe management programme which included an emergency warning system developed by NEC, to detect and issue a warning that will alert both the government and citizens of upcoming natural catastrophes and identify high-risk areas to promote quicker response times and resource dispatches.


Yet, despite significant smart city developments in China, Japan and South Korea, India and Indonesia are failing to keep pace. While both regions are deploying smart city projects designed to enhance public safety and reduce energy consumption, they struggle to lead in these market segments.


"India and Indonesia are lagging behind primarily due to a lack of infrastructure readiness," concludes Artes. "While there are vast opportunities for smart city vendors in India due to the governmental spearhead of wireless network and communications infrastructure development, the region is not fully capitalising on those opportunities.


"This may soon change, as the government recently announced that it will develop 100 smart cities in the region as part of its Smart City programme."


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