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back to article Vietnamese city drinks the smart city kool aid

The Vietnamese city of Danang today took a major step towards becoming the smartest and most technologically advanced city in the nation, with the launch of a comprehensive Information Technology and Communication Infrastructure System. The system includes a Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), city-wide Wi-Fi access capable of …

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A jobsworth's take on economic development

Vietnam is still a relatively poor third world country despite all efforts made.

We've tried to increase our GDP per capita by getting rid of the parasites (France, US), improving education, agriculture, opening up for tourism. But this economic growth lark is taking too long. The problem is, when applied to a low number, even fast growth takes a long while.

We need to ramp up our efforts in order to reach the next level. Hmmm. What shall we do? Spontaneously develop world beating technology to raise our standard of living to Western standards and beyond? Would be hard. Build some atomic bombs and invade China to acquire massive economic clout in one fell swoop? Could do but could be quite hard too. Hang on, I have the solution: install Wifi in the metro so that people can use the internet on their mobile phones while on the way to the paddy fields or the sweat shops and feel as though they are rich Westerners. Job done!

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Re: A jobsworth's take on economic development

I have three types of businesses in TP HCM (Ho Chi Minh City) abrasive water cutting; electronic design/assembly and laser cutting. My biggest challenge is getting unskilled, grunt labour. I am not alone, Vietnamese owned businesses are equally challenged.

University-trained graduates often have to to work they are over-qualified for.

The biggest challenge facing the government is an inability to collect taxes which means they cannot pay civil servants a decent salary so they turn to corruption (bribes to officials).

VietNam has many of the needed resources - supply lines need improvement though.

As for raising the "standard of living to Western standards" the cities have all the 'Western' amenities, and the rural are fast improving.

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FTFA :- "allow officials to more intelligently manage things like traffic flow and chlorine levels"

Manage *chlorine levels* ?! Why do you need wifi points around the city to do that? You measure it at the outlet pipe of the water works surely.

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Actually, no. You need to know the levels in the entire water distribution system. The level drops with time spent in the pipes, and other factors, such as temperature. You need to have enough product put in at the front end to ensure that the water coming at all the other ends is OK. Water pipes leak, good water leaks out, bad things leak in.

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Good for offshoring

A while back I visited Vietnam looking at the country's IT Services sector and I was pretty impressed. There is a strong service sector providing everything from IT development and operations outsourcing through to complete business process outsourcing. Vietnam has a young population who are all well educated, and the country is focusing on growing this sector. Most speak good business English and the IT skills are very high. Certainly this is a good alternative to Philippines and India for outsourcing, with lower labour costs and arguably better quality.

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

...the aim is to embed sensors in infrastructure around the city to collect data and allow officials to more intelligently manage things like traffic flow and chlorine levels.

... and people. Yes, this has the potential to allow Vietnam to leap ahead of already developed places that have infrastructure in place that would have to be replaced in much the same way that countries that went straight to cell phone usage leapfrogged those with existing copper networks. The potential for abuse is built in, though, for the government as well as for those individuals who cause chaos and confusion by attacking their infrastructure help the government by testing their network security.

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Da Nang Peoples Committe corruption should be a higher priority

Why Da Nang, or almost any Vietnamese city, town or village needs is somewhat confusing as there are literally tens of thousands of open access points? Might it be part of a smoke screen to hide the real problems in Da Nang?

Da Nang is, deservedly, a burgeoning tourist centre and as with any developments, bribery is present. Currently the national government is examining financial dealings between thee committee (council) and developers.

Along with fast food outlets, almost any enterprise offers InterNet access. Sitting in my office here in Ho Chi Minh, at 60 feet, and using a slightly directional antennae, I can see 51 WiFi access points with at least 2 bars of signal strengthen.

At my home in Buon Ma Thuot, DakLak Province, in the agricultural area surrounding the city, I see three open access points (including mine). Further into the city the access point count rockets as it seems almost every type of business tries to offer WiFi.

As for technical university graduates, Japanese companies frequently hire ALL the graduates of a given course. This has gone on for several years, the only difference these days is that rather than have the graduate employees work in Japan, Japanese companies have opened up software development offices in VietNam.

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