Approaches to Tackle Smart Cities Challenges in Brunei

Approaches to Tackle Smart Cities Challenges in Brunei

Nur Farhana Nabillah Saifulbahri, Syamimi Haji Mohd Ariff Lim
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6477-6.ch008
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There has been an increase in attention for the smart city concept in many developed and developing countries due to urban challenges. Hence, there is a need for a country to implement smart city concepts to improve overall aspects of cities and its citizens' quality of life. However, developing smart cities is enormously complex and could face numerous challenges. The purpose of this study is to observe the current smart cities development in Brunei, the challenges faced, as well as approaches to tackle them. Furthermore, to analyse the qualitative findings, this study has used thematic analysis. From the analysis, the challenges in the development of smart cities initiatives were categorized into four categories: governance, social, economic, and technology. Some of the challenges include lack of citizen's engagement and also awareness and knowledge of smart city concepts, etc. Appropriate approaches were also developed with reference to the literature, and the suggested approach from the findings includes imposing policies and improving education structure according to current needs.
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Attention and awareness have been on the rise for the smart city concept in many developed and developing countries due to an increase in urban challenges such as rising number of population, global energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases, economic competitiveness, and increasing citizen’s expectations (Washburn & Sindhu, 2009; Mosannenzadeh & Vettorato, 2014). By far, there is still no fixed definition for smart city among practitioners and academia (Mohanty, Choppali & Kougianos, 2016). However, a simple explanation by Mohanty, Choppali & Kougianos (2016), defined smart city as a place where traditional networks and services are made more flexible, efficient, and sustainable through the use of advanced technologies for the sake of betterment in terms of its operations and in return benefits its inhabitants. Hence, smart cities are greener, safer, faster and friendlier (Mohanty, Choppali & Kougianos, 2016). Furthermore, there’s also many dimensions of what makes a city “smart”. For instance, Ghosh & Mahesh, 2015 stated that smart cities characteristics consist of smart economy, smart governance, smart environment, smart people, smart mobility and smart living. Countries like Singapore mentioned that their smart nation enablers were to have smart planning, smart environment, smart estate and smart living. Thus, different dimensions are different across countries, depending on the country’s priorities and needs.

Consequently, developing smart cities are enormously complex, and could face numerous challenges, at the implementation level, at the governance and administration level, and at the level of cooperation between citizens, private organizations and city governments. Ghosh & Mahesh (2015) mentioned some of the major challenges in developing smart cities were in terms of privacy, security and trust, e-governance, transportation system, energy and environment and health and living. It is necessary for the governments to increase their efficiency and efficacy, develop environmentally friendly applications, improve flexibility, offer better health facilities and good policy making in order to reach the goal of smart city.

Brunei Towards Smart City Developments

In the smart future forum that was held on 30th January 2019 with the theme “Innovation through Emerging Technologies”, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yusof, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications mentioned that,

Alhamdulillah, the profound observations on the 4th Industrial Revolution and wisdom by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, has in fact, laid down the main policy directions for the Ministry's journey towards achieving the vision to be a Smart Nation. This is a vision that would be journeyed and achieved together under a whole of nation approach by multi-ministries, government and non-government agencies, as well as other stakeholder (Pengiran Hj Shahrir, 2019).

From the above statement, it shows that Brunei is currently envisioned to become a smart nation. He also further stated,

We envisaged a nation where people live contented lives, enabled conveniently by technology, offering endless possible opportunities for all. Living in a Smart Nation enables us to fully digitize things which are routine so that we can focus our efforts on the things that really matter to us - a more vibrant and diversified economy, as well as to improve quality of life for all Bruneian (Pengiran Hj Shahrir, 2019).

The country is addressing digital economy which includes smart nation initiatives through whole of nation approach where all the ministries are working together to focus on achieving its targets. The approach comes in four aspects; infrastructure improvement, cybersecurity, agility (in terms of the governance, processes and frameworks) and lastly, engagement across industries and the governments.

Furthermore, with the ongoing phenomenon of smart cities development, the above statement shows that Brunei is one of the countries that aim to move towards smart city or nation development as to strive towards Brunei Wawasan 2035. It is the country’s aspiration to ensure that the citizens will be highly educated, skilled and successful and have a dynamic and empowered national economy by 2035 (“Wawasan Brunei 2035”, 2020)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It's a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies.

Digital Economy: Digital economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies.

Big Data: Bigdata is a term used to describe a collection of data that is huge in size and yet growing exponentially with time.

Internet of Things (IoT): The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.

Digital Ecosystem: A digital ecosystem is an interdependent group of enterprises, people and/or things that share standardised digital platforms for a mutually beneficial purpose, such as commercial gain, innovation, or common interest.

Smart City: A smart city is a city that uses technology to provide services and solve city problems.

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