Japanese and Taiwanese government agencies share local successful cases while empowering value added applications with big data, creating a new paradigm
In a move to deepen industrial exchanges between Taiwan and Japan and drive the future development of smart cities by leveraging the power of data, the 2023 Taiwan-Japan Smart City Exchange Summit: Creating A New Paradigm with Data Applications, co-organized by New Economy Ventures (NEV), Vpon, iKala and NextDrive, was held earlier today (March 29), bringing together representatives from Taiwanese and Japanese government agencies. The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau shared local successful cases combining big data with government strategies. The event included three expert sessions at which the Taiwan government’s representatives shared their knowledge and experience on how to use data and AI applications to reimagine transportation, tourism, commerce and the economy while promoting the sustainable construction of smart infrastructure, with the goal of facilitating the digital transformation of cities.
The summit kicked off with Fang-Guan Jan, director-general of the “National Development Council’s Department” of Industrial Development and Wang Chih-hui, deputy magistrate of Taitung County, both of whom delivered opening speeches, followed by Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau chairman Hiroshi Mizohata who talked about case experiences involving the application of big data in Japan during his presentation entitled “Cross-border Cooperation Opportunities and Data Applications”. Mr. Mizohata then engaged in a conversation with Vpon Chief Strategy Officer Yoshitaka Shinohara, during which he made a point of welcoming tie-ups between companies in Taiwan and Japan that enhance cooperation in data applications, with the express goal of creating a new paradigm. Chen Shu-Hui, director of the Taipei City Government’s Department of Information and Tourism, and Yang Cheon-ming, director of New Taipei City Government’s Tourism and Travel Department, discussed how big data insights and strategies facilitate communications between Taiwan and Japan. They both also shared their past experiences in data applications.
With an impressive lineup of data solutions, Vpon has created a successful data marketing strategy by working in concert with the Japanese government. Vpon founder and CEO Victor Wu, through his presentation entitled “The New Economy of Taiwan and Japan and the Promising Future of Smart Government”, once again highlighted the degree to which big data drove the success of the Japanese government’s Cool Japan strategy. As a result of that success, many Taiwanese have chosen Japan as the first country to visit following the lifting of the pandemic travel ban. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out, that the application of big data is not limited to tourism. Mr. Wu added that by leveraging the extensive experience that Taiwanese companies have accumulated in data applications, Vpon plans to strengthen its partnerships with both the Japanese government and Japanese firms with the mission of jointly facilitating the construction of smart cities. By doing so, the big data company looks forward to joining hands with these partners to create a new economic paradigm in addition to deepening economic cooperation between the two regions.
During the expert sessions, executives from the four organizers, NEV, Vpon, iKala and NextDrive, shared their respective experiences in empowering smart cities with value added services. Taiwan Regional Revitalization Foundation chairman Mei-Ling Chen served as moderator in one of the sessions as participants elaborated on the achievements they have made in creating smart cities through the application of big data and AI technology.
Rio Chang, director of Global Solutions at Vpon, explained how the firm contributed to the development of Taichung’s smart network by applying the experience accumulated by analyzing the data for the Cool Japan strategy to the Smart Taichung Management Platform. Vpon succeeded in getting traffic to move more quickly throughout the city by identifying rarely-used bus stops through Vnity and Wee, two applications that can analyze mobile data and real-time dynamics for buses. In addition, the firm participated in a project to develop business roadmaps by analyzing mobile and consumption data as well as by exploring potential business and tourism opportunities, further increasing the output value of the tourism sector.
iKala co-founder and CEO Sega Cheng said that the demand for cross-border tourism has risen sharply since the end of last year once Japan lifted its travel ban. According to data from iKala’s AI data platform KOL Radar, Taiwanese and Japanese online celebrities have started shooting videos while traveling away from home to leverage the opportunities presented by the tourism sector’s post-pandemic recovery, with the number of social posts published on the platform talking about what the celebrity did or saw while abroad in November 2022 increasing by 123% from early 2021. For Taiwan’s online celebrities, top Japanese destinations included Shinjuku City, Mount Fuji, Shibuya, and Namba. Mr. Cheng explained that through the application of AI analysis across tourism scenarios, players in the tourism sector can gain deeper insights into top tourist destinations and benefit from the value of operational analysis enabled by AI technology. The firm plans to further enhance its AI-centric influencer marketing services in a move to create business opportunities for customers across multiple sectors.
The final expert session was led by an impressive 5-person lineup of representatives from companies, government agencies and academic institutions, with NEV general partner Jeff Wen acting as moderator. During the session, participants discussed what they foresaw for smart cities. NextDrive founder and CEO Jeryuan Yan explained that the firm provides corporate and household customers with one-stop energy IoT solutions that help them achieve digital transformation in energy. NextDrive is noted for having been awarded the 2022 New Energy Award, a prestigious recognition in the Japanese energy industry. The firm also participated in the largest distributed energy management demonstration project launched by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry last year. NextDrive plans to help the Taiwanese and Japanese governments build smart cities with energy resilience by integrating energy management solutions for companies and households through the application of IoT technology.
Sustainability is an integral part of the mission to create smart cities. In November 2022, National Chung Cheng University established Taiwan’s first Command and Monitoring Centre for Sustainable Smart Cities where, led by dean of Information Technology Pao-Ann Hsiung, the cross-disciplinary team combined data with AI, machine learning, smart dashboards and sustainable performance indicators to provide premium integrated data applications that facilitate the construction of smart cities. According to Hsiung, by way of a comprehensive approach that facilitated collaboration among industry, government, academia and research organizations, the Centre, through the application of AI to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for sustainable cities, has advanced their sustainable development by monitoring traffic conditions in real time through monitors and using video recognition technology to automatically remove rain and fog from the calculation in tandem while using drones to measure the air quality index. Yan-li Liu, head of Taichung City Government’s Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, shared his viewpoints on how to use technology to advance sustainable urban governance. He pointed out that Taichung has used technology to intelligently monitor factory chimneys while leveraging AI to identify vehicles with exhaust emissions in addition to deploying a real-time notification system for open burning or dust, with the ultimate goal of making the city more livable through the incorporation of smart traffic logos and smart parking into the overall urban planning.
In Taoyuan, a city with an international airport, the local government has put much effort into the optimization of transportation and parking infrastructure in order to deliver a much enhanced experience to both domestic and international travelers. To establish a smart tourism management platform, the city has been managing its tourism data in a centralized system while using AI and big data for unified scheduling and management, with the aim of effectively managing and monitoring tourism resources while accurately predicting travelers’ needs. In Pingtung, a county located in southern Taiwan where, in the past, local transportation systems were independent of each other and resources were not integrated, a smart transportation hub has been established, consisting of a transportation information platform for unified scheduling and dispatching, and a dispatch platform for remote rural areas, allowing for effective use of public transportation so that local residents who need to go to hospital or school or tend to the care of their aging parents can do so efficiently.
The 2023 Japan Smart City Exchange Summit showcased the achievements of both governments as well as Taiwanese and Japanese companies in creating smart cities through the application of big data and AI in addition to creating an exchange and learning platform, with the mission of making cities more livable based on their past success.