Why Thailand wants smart cities -- and which one will be the first

Wed, 2016-01-27 06:00 -- SCC Staff

The Thai government's focus on Phuket as its first smart city project aligns closely with its national policy of building a digital economy and a digital society.

The national policy is ambitious. Not only does it address digital infrastructure and a digital economy, it also covers a variety of services, e-commerce, e-education, e-industry and e-government.

The Phuket smart city pilot project will at least initially zero in on digital infrastructure development, construction of a data center and enhancement of the island's already established tourism industry, according to the country's Software Industry Development Agency (SIPA) -- which also will manage the project.

Phuket and Chiang Mai, the next city slated for a smart city project in 2017, were chosen because the government considered them most prepared for it as well as their location and international ties.

South Korea's Science, ICT and Future Planning Ministry will provide technical support and its experience in developing smart cities for the $2.8 million project. Other Asian nations also said they were interested in working with Thailand on its infrastructure projects during a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) late last year, although no other firm agreements have been reported.

About two years ago Thailand implemented an intelligent transportation system designed to alert motorists of trouble spots or traffic accidents.

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