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President vows to spur work on smart cities

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President Tsai Ing-wen pledged Tuesday that the government will make every effort to boost the development of smart cities in Taiwan and will work closely with local governments to improve the quality of life for the people, at the opening of the 2017 Smart City Summit and Expo. There are all kinds of possibilities in the development of smart cities, she said, adding that through the framework of the internet of things (IoT) that will help collect big data in various areas, the government will be able to better address transportation, public security, public health and pollution issues.

Meanwhile, long-term care, food safety management systems, energy efficiency and disaster monitoring are areas upon which the government should focus when developing smart cities, she said. She noted that many government agencies and state-run companies are making efforts in the areas of smart disaster prevention, smart agriculture and smart transportation. Other examples include the smart water networks in eastern Taiwan’s Yilan County, offshore Penghu County and the island of Liuqiu off southern Taiwan, as well as the establishment of a smart grid by Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), she said. In the future, she went on, the development of the IoT should also be expanded to the areas of logistics, cultural education and public services.

Meanwhile, the president noted that the Executive Yuan is formulating a plan for digital development for the country that is aimed at building a digital platform that connects the public and private sectors. The central government will provide funds for the project to help local governments in this regard and will jointly work with the private sector to build an ecosystem for smart cities, Tsai said. Now in its fourth year, the Smart City Summit and Expo is running through Feb. 24 in Taipei, with a focus on the application of the IoT to develop smart cities. About 200 international and domestic companies are participating in the expo, setting up 900 booths at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall, making it the largest since the event was initiated in 2014, according to the organizers.

This year’s event also brought together 54 international city officials, including mayors, to share their experiences in the area of smart city development, the organizers said. The exhibition is being organized by the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), the Taiwan Smart City Solutions Alliance and the Taipei City government.

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