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'Smart' city guru arrives in Astana

28 august 2014, 20:09
0
Executive Director of Ernst & Young Center for Smart City Innovation William Hutchison. ©Altynai Zhumzhumina
Executive Director of Ernst & Young Center for Smart City Innovation William Hutchison. ©Altynai Zhumzhumina

William Hutchison, Executive Director of Ernst and Young consulting firm and founder of Waterfront Toronto, will turn Kazakhstan's capital Astana into an "intelligent community", Tengrinews reports.

“Speaking about Astana, we have proposed not 1.0 'smart city' version, but 2.0 'intelligent community’ version. it includes all the elements of 'smart city', but their distribution is different, because we are focusing on their interconnectedness and ways to coordinate the processes for the purpose of a singe development strategy. We are talking about a computation of factor and would like to work in three directions - economic, environment ('green' issues) and social ones. And of course, we will be using various innovative processes to interconnect these elements, " Mr. Hutchison said at a seminar in Astana in August.

According to the expert, the main thing is to achieve coordination and cooperation in the community. “Your home TV will be the main portal through which you can interact with the network. It it is a sort of a computer terminal with a camera," he explained.

To get certain types of services you can simply click on their icon on the screen. Mr. Hutchison gave an example of how one can consult a doctor without leaving the house. "This would reduced the government's healthcare expenditures, since they will no longer be a need for such a large number of hospitals," he said.

However, this model requires broad-band access and technologies with a much higher speed then that needed to put through a Skype call.

At the current stage the citizens and government agencies are being polled to determine their attitude to the idea. This will continue until September. After that the actual work to turn Astana into an "intelligent community" will begin. 

“We will be continuing our cooperation after September, because our main goal is to win some big international prize before 2017. Maybe in 2016. Last year, the President set a task for Astana city to enter the 50 'smartest' cities of the world before 2017, but I think that Astana is capable of achieving an even better rating. Everything will depend on how quickly the city will be developing and how quickly the city authorities and the mayor will introduce new initiatives, in areas like healthcare and education. In the essence, everything depends on the city's leaders," Mr. Hutchison said, adding that in his opinion Astana was capable to enter the top 20 or even the top 10 'smartest' cities of the world.

Last year, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev instructed to develop Astana's infrastructure for the EXPO-2017 that will be held in Astana from June 10 to September 10, 2017. The Smart City project was launched in the capital to improve the living standards of the city's residents, to modernize the capital's  infrastructure and to enhance public safety and security with the help of innovative technologies so that Astana will become the most comfortable and safe city on the Eurasian continent.

William Hutchison devoted 25 years of his professional activity to counseling and providing practical guidance for leading smart city and intelligent community projects in Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Canada and the United States. For five years, he worked as executive director of Waterfront Toronto project aimed at turning Toronto, Canada's largest city, into 'a city of the future' with a total value of $ 34 billion. In January 2013, Waterfront Toronto was among the seven leading intellectual communities' development programs, and this year, Toronto was named the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year at its annual awards in New York City.

Reporting by Altynai Zhumzhumina, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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