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Shanghai on way to being 'smart'

By Zhu Shenshen   (Shanghai Daily)

13:11, September 07, 2012

GPS trackers on buses that allow residents at home to accurately predict the arrival of next bus; e-schoolbags that encourage students to attend English spelling test on their tablet computer several times a day; and online personal medical records that help residents visit doctors in neighboring districts or even other cities without any documents.

Can you imagine such a "smart city" life? It can become a possibility in Shanghai as early as 2015. Presently, the system to build a smart city is having a trial operation in suburban Minhang District and gradually it will cover the whole city, local officials revealed yesterday.

"Smart city is on its way and it is being supported by a high-speed and secure network," said Liu Jian, vice director of the Shanghai Economy and Information Technology Development Commission, the city's top IT industry regulator.

The city will play a leading role nationwide on broadband, Wi-Fi, e-commerce, IT services for daily life, including medical and education, Liu added.

In the first half, Shanghai's information service revenue hit 171.3 billion yuan (US$27.2 billion), up 18.5 percent year-on-year. It accounted for 6 percent of the city's GDP in the period, the commission said.

Providing details about the smart city, officials revealed the i-Shanghai Wi-Fi service, which provides two-hour free Internet browsing, will cover 450 public areas by the end of 2013, compared with 30 now and 300 by the year-end.

The Wi-Fi access-point number in the city will hit 200,000 by the end of 2013, compared with 130,000 now.

Broadband speed, often derided by locals, is expected to double for many households. By the end of this year, the faster fiber optic network will cover 6.5 million local families, fourfold of last year's level.

In Minhang, tablet computers made by Beijing-based Tsinghua Tongfang are presently being used in Qiangwei primary school for learning English, mathematics and literature.

Meanwhile, public transport authorities have set up a monitoring system in the district to send out more buses during peak hours. In future, there are plans to provide a service where residents will be able to gauge the schedule of buses based on GPS trackers on the vehicles, a local bus company official told Shanghai Daily.
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