Smart city project transforms residents' lives
Wuxi has spared no efforts in developing itself into a smart city in recent years in an effort to deal with the challenges created by rapid urbanization and economic growth.
In 2014, the city in Jiangsu province was selected as a core city for the Smart Cities Initiative by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a renowned professional technological organization headquartered in the United States. It is the only Asian one among the five core cities.
Wuxi has advanced its smart city development since then, with the project seen widely as a key to the city's future. Local policymakers said by 2020 Wuxi will become a safer, more convenient, more efficient and greener city by leveraging information communications technologies.
A smart city uses digital technologies to enhance performance and well-being, reduce costs and consumption of resources, and engage more effectively and actively with its citizens, according to the IEEE.
A smart city should be able to respond faster to local and global challenges than one that has a simple "transactional" relationship with its citizens, the institute said.
Since 2009, Wuxi has started to promote the development of the internet of things to achieve world-class smart city status.
By leveraging ICT resources, the city established a sensor center for China and also created a State-level demonstration sensor network in 2009, which plays an important role in boosting IoT development.
A number of IoT technology projects have been applied in a wide range of fields, such as infrastructure construction, city management, safety operations, transportation, energy conservation and environmental protection, healthcare, housing, culture and education.
Wuxi has used IoT technologies to make several technological achievements in smart communities, tourism, security protection and transportation. Some of them have been copied in other provinces and cities.
Baolong City Plaza in Wuxi has used a smart parking system which integrates a high-precision sensor, large wireless sensor networks and cloud-computing technologies.
It conducts real-time monitoring at the parking area, and has realized automatic charging and parking guidance based on a monitoring sensor. After using the central charging system, traffic speed has increased about 70 percent, said a property manager surnamed Xia. "Drivers don't have to wait at the entrance. Even in peak hours, the waiting time is less than five minutes."
IoT technologies have penetrated local residents’ lives, such as electric car anti-theft locks and a two-way sensor taxi-calling system.
“The goal of building a smart city is to enable our city to become smarter, the society more harmonious, city management more effective, life more pleasant and residents happier,” said Zhang Keping, head of the Wuxi Information and Radio Administration Bureau.
Based on IoT technologies, Wuxi has been regularly integrating emerging technologies such as wireless internet, 4G and cloud computing into city marketing and governance.
Since 2009, the city has developed more than 160 IoT projects, covering various economic and societal fields, Zhang said. According to the IEEE, an expert team from the organization will help Wuxi to further reduce pollution and ease traffic jams, in a bid to enable residents to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.