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Smart City CTalk: Innovative Technologies Shake up the New Normal in Post-Pandemic Era

In face of the pandemic’s impacts, it has become priority for cities around the world to carry out their digital transformation with technological innovations. This year, the CTalk forums are held online from June 22nd to 23rd in two session under the topics on the urban innovation and digital transformation. The forums engaged representatives from municipal governments, businesses and institutes from 8 cities across 8 countries, inviting them to share how they propel the innovation and digital transformation in cities via public-private-partnership and data-driven approaches.

While Taipei City Government has been actively building up a smart data governance, Commissioner Simon Lu of Taipei’s Department of Information Technology stated that Taipei City has been devoted to introducing new applications in the city’s living lab to drive innovations. The city even founded the Urban Intelligence Center and Data Management Committee last year, laying key foundations for decision-making and city management. Through the smart city committee and Taipei Smart City Project Management Office, new technologies are imported to the living lab as PoC projects to drive innovation. Furthermore, the Urban Intelligence Center and the Data Management Committee leverage the data generated in the city to integrate the two cores of “technology” and “data”, which lead Taipei’s innovation and digital transformation. Lin Chung-chieh, the Commissioner of Taipei’s Department of Economic Development, pointed out that in the “new normal” of the post-pandemic era, Taipei City focuses on four innovation pillars: services, social network, circular economy, and space, which are helpful in adding economic and sustainable values to industries’ landscape. For example, the Taipei Flower Market in Neihu District adopts new equipment enabling temperature and humidity control, as well as smart cashless payment services. These are brand-new purchases compared to the past. In regards to urban circular economy, which is a trending topic today, the Department of Economic Development offers financial assistance to businesses supporting the industries or solutions related to circular economy. It also establishes programs in surplus food-sharing and scheduled transactions to optimize efficient allocation instead of wasting resources.

Taipei’s digital transformation has seen great results being recognized internationally. In the 2021 Smart City Index, Taipei ranked No. 4 worldwide, No. 2 in Asia, and achieved “level A” in the rating. The city has advanced 4 places in comparison to the previous year, surpassing other renowned cities such as Helsinki, Geneva, and Auckland.

During the CTalk forums, representatives from around the world also delivered summaries on their efforts in developing smart cities. Bartosz Bartoszewicz, the Deputy Mayor of Gdynia, Poland, mentioned how Poland is taking actions in an urban digital transformation – especially with intelligent traffic management systems, which allow citizens to find the shortest routes in public transport. In response to the pandemic, it is a breakthrough to create the telehealth system connecting hospitals, patients, and insurance agencies. The city is now in the process of building a cloud information system to bring more efficiency to city management.

Huseyin Bayraktar, Deputy Director General at the Directorate General of Geographical Information Systems under the Ministry of Environment Urbanization and Climate Change of Republic of Türkiye, also specified that the nation is developing a Smart City Maturity Assessment-City Index to encourage their cities to adopt smart applications. Stephen Hilton, Smart City Specialist of Invest Bristol and Bath, said that while the world is concerned about city’s zero carbon emission, the UK emphasizes that cities must reach a balance between construction and sustainability.

This year the CTalk forums were held as an affiliated event of Smart City Summit and Expo. At the forums, speakers hail from 8 cities across 8 countries, including the Commissioner of Department of Information Technology and Department of Economic Development (Taipei); the Executive President of Colombian Software Federation of Software Industry and Related Information Technology (Colombia); the Minister of Information and Communication Technologies (Paraguay); the Executive Manager Governance and Advocacy of City of Kwinana (Australia); the Executive Manager Research of Development & Innovation from Inatel (Brazil); the Smart City Specialist of Invest Bristol and Bath (the UK); the Deputy Mayor of Gdynia (Poland), and the Deputy Director General of Directorate General of Geographical Information Systems from the Ministry of Environment Urbanization and Climate Change (Republic of Türkiye). They shared inspiring experience related to smart city operations during post-pandemic era. Through this global networking, the organizers hope to outline more visions in the future of urban life.
2022 Smart City CTalk was conducted in English on YouTube:
Session 1: Digital Transformation- 4-6pm (GMT+8) on Jun. 22nd
Session 2: Innovations- 7-9am (GMT+8) on Jun. 23rd