The Thai government has announced $12 million will be allocated in its 2016 budget to begin turning the tourist mecca of Phuket into a smart city.
Though the term varies in definition, a “smart city” often includes new technological updates and monitoring systems designed to assist existing infrastructure. These technologies include incorporating programs such as wirelessly managing traffic lights, or installing sensors to look for water main leaks. The main purpose behind most smart city initiatives is to create efficiency, save money and offer a better standard of living to the community.
Phuket is piloting sensors and analytics to help the police with enforcing traffic laws and improve the transportation system, as part of its smart city endeavors. It is also building new centers of operation to monitor data and services.
According to The Bangkok Post, a portion of the fund will also be used to build an innovation park for startup companies, and in offering training to entrepreneurs in the digital field.
Phuket will work with South Korean counterparts
The Thai government is planning to work with their South Korean counterparts, signing an agreement in regards to the project. Both the governor of Phuket and the mayor of the South Korean city of Busan signed a letter of intent to move forward with this project together.
Busan will begin releasing its smart city experience to Phuket in April. Academic advisors from the two cities plan to collaborate on digital technologies for smart cities, and there will also be conversations held between different startups in Phuket and Busan, according to Thailand’s Software Industry Promotion Agency.
The Bangkok Post states that Thailand is expecting investments to come in from Busan, due to the South Korean agreement. The Thai government calls this “an excellent opportunity for increased awareness about smart cities around the world, and should greatly assist the cities of Phuket and Busan.”