THE era of smart cities is happening as we speak.
Do an online search for ‘smart city’ and you’ll find a plethora of articles about it, as well as examples of cities around the world such as Barcelona, New York, Dubai and Singapore that are transforming through the use of smart technologies such as smart data, smart mobility and smart transportation.
Even Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Sarawak are implementing their own smart city projects; the Sarawak government, in particular, intends to develop Kuching as a smart city by 2030.
And before it reaches its 2030 goal, we can already see how smart technology is benefitting Kuching through its many traffic lights installed with the smart system that have helped ease traffic congestions.
So what makes a city ‘smart’?
In the digital economy era, a city can be ‘smart’ when it incorporates a wide range of digital technologies, especially the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, into its operations and services to boost its efficiency and ultimately, enhance its people’s living experience.
These operations and services can include transportation, utilities, energy, waste management, sanitation, connectivity, governance and citizen’s participation.
In their research publication ‘From Intelligent to Smart Cities’, Mark Deakin and Husam Al Waer suggest that a city can be categorised as smart if it is able to:
- Apply a wide variety of digital and electronic technologies to the city and its communities;
- Apply information and communications technology (ICT) to uplift life and the working environments in the region;
- Embed such ICT within government systems, and;
- Rerritorialise practices that bring the people and ICT together in order to foster innovation and enhance the knowledge that they offer.
Because most industries and businesses are located in urban areas, many people from the countryside tend to migrate to cities to pursue a better life there.
In fact, the World Bank notes that over four billion people worldwide live in urban areas today, and that number will continue to rise up to six billion by 2045.
Therefore, a well-designed smart city must be capable of tackling its growing urban population in a sustainable manner, providing its people the convenience and comfort they need through the use of technology.
As they strive to become ‘smarter’, cities are searching for professionals in digital technology, including data scientists, cybersecurity analysts, network engineers, platform developers and cloud architects.
And considering that smart city is one of its digital economy sectors, Sarawak would need these talents to achieve its cities’ digital transformation through smart technologies.
So if you are proficient in digital technology and you want to make your city more liveable, consider pursuing a career involving smart cities.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.