Smart Selangor Blueprint : Smart Cities in Selangor?

In the month of October, Dr. Fahmi who is the Deputy Director for the Smart Selangor Delivery Unit announced during Smart Cities Asia that the Smart Selangor 1.0 blueprint will be launched by December 2016. The blueprint was then launched during Selangor’s Smart City Conference in December.

In this article, I intend to summarize some of the key points from the blueprint and hopefully contextualize what it’ll mean for us citizens in Selangor. Before diving into the Smart Selangor blueprint, let’s examine what a smart city is in the first place. The core idea behind smart cities is to use a combination of innovative technology and sound urban design to cope with the issues of modern cities, ultimately the goal is to achieve 3 things; sustainability, efficiency, and livability. I’ll avoid going too deep into the definitions if you’d like to know more about what a smart city and why it’s necessary for Malaysian cities I’ve written an in-depth article for Knowledge Group and you can read more about it here

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at what plans does the state government have in store for Selangor

The Selangor Government’s mission statement is to become a Smart State in 2025 which is a pretty ambitious goal, considering that many of the Malaysian cities are still struggling to truly be defined as a smart city. The blueprint outlines 12 key dimensions of what Selangor considers as a priority to turn itself into a smart state with the key aim of improving citizen’s quality of life as visualized below:

Selangor Smart City - 12 Dimensions

As the blueprint is still labeled as 1.0, it is implied that there will be more concrete plans added to the domains as the Selangor goes along. Having read the blueprint, my observation is that some domains are populated with more plans and pilot project than others.

Smart Governance

Why: 

The importance of governance cannot be undermined in smart cities project. More often than not, and effective governance structure can be the key difference between a successful smart city project and the death of a political career.

What:

The Smart Selangor  initiative will be executed by the 4 governing bodies

  • Smart Selangor Steering Committee – will focus on strategic governance, will set and determine directions
  • Project Execution Committee  – will look at methods and controls adopted by implementation team
  • Project Management Committee – will concentrate on working methods and best practices to implement project
  • Project Team Committee  – will concentrate on working methods and best practices to implement project

Selangor Smart City - Governance Structure

Examples of initiatives:

  • State Monitoring Dashboard – enable the local councils to act on large data sets from various sources
  • Smart App Development Platform – Open platform to enable third-party developers to develop applications
  • (PCP) Public Citizen Partnership- online platform for citizens to contribute ideas and engage in dialogue with the authorities

Smart Digital Infrastructure

Why:

Much like any other smart city project from around the world, the foundation on which it is built is often the digital infrastructure. The infrastructure is the backbone to enabling smart services to reduce waste, manage traffic, improve energy efficiency and etc.

What

In the Smart Selangor Blueprint, it is mentioned that the government is looking into Next Generation Networks, IoT Platforms, mobile & wireless access, data centres and disaster recovery centres, ubiquitous connectivity for citizens, government, and citizens.

Pilot Projects: Not mentioned in the blueprint

Smart Disaster Management

Why: 

According to the National Disaster Management Agency, 22% of the Malaysian population are living in areas that are flood prone, the annual flood damages in Malaysia is approaching close to RM 2 billion – 3 billion per annum. While the severity of the flood may not be as damaging our neighbours in the East Coast, climate change has brought about uncertainty in weather patterns globally. To have this as a climate adaption strategy is a pragmatic move

What:

Integrated crisis management system and early warning system to enable better inter-agency coordination and prepare citizens for calamities. Not much other specifics are available on the blueprint, but I won’t be surprised that down the road they will look at things like Early Warning Flood Detection Systems and install various sensors.

Pilot Projects: Not mentioned in blueprint

Smart Building

Why:

As the society becomes more urbanised, more of us are increasingly living and working in buildings, driven largely by the need to be efficient with space, land scarcity and the surge of real estate prices. So it’s hardly a suprise that the statistics from UNEP indicates that 60% of the world’s electricity are consumed by residential and commercial buildings. If Malaysia were to achieve our commitment of reducing GHG by 45% by 2030, smart buildings are definitely an essential part of achieving that goal

What

The Selangor government intends to look at the full cycle of buildings, from the construction methods to the operations of the building. Using a combination of building sciences and technology the Selangor government intends to optimise energy efficiency and improve building quality

Pilot Projects: Not mentioned in blueprint

Smart Safety & Security

Why:

A city cannot claim to be a smart city if the very basic function of making its citizens feel safe is not fulfilled. In order for the Selangor government to be taken seriously by the international community when claiming to be a smart state, this dimension has to be executed well.

What

What’s mentioned in the blueprint is still quite broad, it is mentioned that the Selangor Government will \implement a range of integrated safety and security system through collaboration with public looking at areas like: accidents, crimes, terror incidents.

Example of Initiatives: Not mentioned in blueprint

Smart Food and Agro

Technological solutions to maximize yield and minimizing agricultural input. The blueprint says that Selangor aims to use digital technologies to boost efficiency and enhance food & agricultural ecosystem to meet growing food consumption in Malaysia

Example of initiatives: Not mentioned in blueprint

Smart Energy

Why:

Cities about 75 per cent of global primary energy and emit between 50 and 60 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gasses. It is imperative that cities are efficient with energy management throughout the entire cycle.

What

The blueprint states that Selangor will be looking at a suite of systems that enables a Sustainable Energy infrastructure to reduce cost and reinforce energy networks which also includes solutions for Demand Side Response, smart transmissions, and distributed networks

Pilot Projects: Not mentioned in blueprint

Smart Water Management

According to statistics from SPAN, Selangor is the state with the highest water consumption and amongst the highest for Non-Revenue Water. For the benefit for those who are unfamiliar, non-revenue water basically means treated water that does not reach is intended recipient whether it caused by leakages, theft or any other myriad of reasons. Selangor is also highlighted as one of the 5 water stressed states in the National Integrated Water Management plan by Academy Sains Malaysia

Nationally river water quality continues to be on the decline, out of the 473 rivers monitored, the percentage of clean rivers has dropped from 58% to 52%, slightly polluted rivers have increased from 37% to 39%, while polluted rivers have also increased from 5% to 9%.

What

It is encouraging to see that steps are being taken to address some of this critical areas. The blueprint highlighted minimising NRW, ensuring safe and clean water supply and river cleaning as its core focus.

Pilot Projects

  • Vendor to be appointed for river cleaning and rehabilitation, the vendors will be responsible for installing waste traps, collect and dispose of debris and any form of waste
  • Rehabilitating the Klang river, 3 phases to the project, phase 1 and 2 will focus on cleaning and phase 3 will focus on developing the riverbank
  • Operating and monitoring system to be done through IOT
  • No pilot project mentioned on reducing NRW

Smart Transport & Mobility

Why: 

Transporting the masses has always been a perennial challenge of urban living. The projection of increased urbanisation will only further exacerbate the situation. Reduction of congestion will not only improve livability dramatically, it will also reduce energy costs and pollution especially since transportation consumes 40% of our national energy.

What:

To foster seamless multi modal transportation access and efficient connectivity. This involves 3 interacting smart infrastructure, integrating big data and providing smart services that improves user experience.

Pilot Projects:

  • Smart Transportation Information System – system will leverage IoT to enable citizens to access data on public transportation. Other features will include congestion heatmaps
  • Waze Connected Citizen Programme – Working with Waze and 7 municipal councils to enable citizens to report pothole through Waze. Upon success of the pilot, it will be rolled out to 5 more municipal councils
  • Complimentary parking for hybrid and electric cars in PJ
  • Parking app for Majlis Perbandaran Sepang

Smart Waste Management

Why: 

Over the past decade, Malaysia’s municipal waste generation has increased by 91%. If the problem is not stemmed the number will likely skyrocket, putting a stress on our waste collection systems and landfills.

What

The approach in the blueprint for the moment seems more community focused, the core idea is to minimise waste by engaging the community. The end goal is to achieve a zero waste society.

Pilot Projects:

  • iClean programme – launched last year, an app to allow citizens to lodge report on uncollected waste. Committed to removing waste within 3 days of every complaint made
  • Phasing out plastics bags and polystyrene
  • Free compost bins

Smart Healthcare

Why:

A core component of smart cities is livability, if the citizens are not healthy a city cannot truly claim the title of a smart city

What:

The Selangor government intends to invest 6%-8% of its GDP for healthcare digital transformation, which includes investments into Population Health Management, integrating case/disease management, care co-ordination and advanced tools to perform the tasks

Pilot Projects: Not mentioned in blueprint

Smart Education

Why:

Knowledge is power and to empower your citizens will only serve to improve the cities

What

The mission statement is to aim to prepare human capital to capture new economy opportunities, which includes initiatives to set-up a coding academy to equip citizens with the skill to code and develop apps, coupled with the iniative to create Smart App Development platform with Open API, it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this

Pilot Projects

  • Early intervention Programme Centre- to create awareness for children with special needs
  • Selangor Distinguished Creative Centre – Coding academy to encourage people to learn to code and create applications

Conclusion

It’s clear that some aspects of the Smart Selangor blueprint has more attention to detail than others while some still remains vague as to what the exact plans are, however it’s encouraging to see the Selangor Government comitting to the goal of Smart Selangor. As this is the 1.0 version of the blueprint, I’m sure more information will become available as we progress along.

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