Author | Eduardo Bravo
Last November, the Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Tran Vinh Tuyen, announced the construction of a new smart city in the Vietnamese region, which will be built from scratch and will mainly consist of residential housing. Its main features include the application of blockchain technology, particularly in aspects relating to city management, governance of its institutions and the internet of things.
A project with the support of Mitsubishi, Vingroup and Nomura
The construction work will be carried out by Vingroup, an association of organisations including various Japanese companies such as the industrial giant Mitsubishi and Nomura Real Estate Development. Each of these has a 40% stake, while the remaining 20% is divided among minority shareholders.
This collaboration formula, which includes private companies and public entities is one of the most efficient solutions in terms of financing the enormous investment required to build smart cities. This is the case, for example, in the Japanese city of Woven, where Toyota is not only financing the work, but will also use this space to test its new models within a smart environment.
In terms of Vingroup, the agreement with the Vietnamese authorities entails an investment by the Japanese companies of one hundred billion yen -around 860 million euros- which will go towards the construction of around twenty large buildings, each with ten thousand homes, in addition to a further forty thousand. Institutional services will also be built, including schools, sports facilities, hospitals and shopping centres to service the residents. An airport and railway station may also be built in the future.
The city, which is expected to be ready by 2023, will be equipped, among other advances, with facial recognition at the access area in order to manage security, and electric and eco-friendly, autonomous, self-driving buses. The vehicles will be developed by Mitsubishi in the manufacturing plants installed in Vietnam in recent years and they will be one of the ways in which the Japanese company will recover its investment, as Nomura will do with the sale of the properties that are built.
Furthermore, this new residential complex in Ho Chi Minh city will use blockchain technology to improve the management of its institutions and entities. Mainly known for its application in the field of cryptocurrencies, this system enables improved traceability of communications from start to finish, providing an extra level of security.
Thanks to blockchain technology, all processes are easier to trace, from the moment each information block depends on the previous block and determines what the next one will be like. Therefore, the blockchain will enable cities to develop the Internet of Things more successfully and ensure their institutions are more transparent since, at any given time, the path followed in the action protocols can be rebuilt, whether these are public tenders, the result of these, the awarding of a project or the execution thereof.
Although other cities are already using this technology to improve their management, the Vietnamese project is a pioneer in wanting to convert it into a fundamental part of its administration. It just remains to be seen whether this initiative is eventually developed in full as planned, or whether, on the contrary, and as with so many other attempts, it only makes it halfway.