Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Myanmar’s Second Biggest City Receives Smart City Award 2019

In the midst of a high-tech makeover to become a genuine smart city, Myanmar’s historic royal capital Mandalay—more than 160 years old—received the Smart City Award 2019 at a Bangkok summit attended by 24 countries including Japan, India, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

“We have been effectively changing municipal services by using technology, and these changes have progressed rapidly in a short period of time. This is the main reason we received the award,” U Ye Myat Thu, Mandalay’s smart city officer and Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) member, told The Irrawaddy.

The summit was organized by the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO), a federation of information and communications technology (ICT) industry associations in the Asia and Oceana region. It includes member organizations from 24 countries including Japan, India, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and New Zealand.

The annual ASOCIO summit is attended by experts, governments and inter-governmental organizations from member countries seeking to promote e-government systems and the use of digital technology for the sustainable development of smart cities.

ASOCIO pronounced Mandalay recipient of the Smart City Award 2019 for achieving the rapid development of its public services through the use of advanced technology.

The Mandalay City Development Committee (MDCD) has been chasing the smart city dream since 2017, a year after the National League for Democracy (NLD) took office. The committee has drawn up a 30-year urban development plan with a vision of improving the water supply, wastewater treatment and solid waste management systems using smart technology.

For a couple of years now, the city has been installing sensors to keep real-time traffic light records and to monitor traffic congestion through automated control centers. The sensors also track the conditions of pipelines and water meters in real-time to identify leaks. The city now uses radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based system in a new electronic toll payment system.

Mandalay’s traffic technology, adapted from systems used in Singapore, adjust automatically based on congestion levels.

The city has already installed 100 meters that government employees can read remotely using a smart phone app and drawn up a waste management plan to maximize trash collection and promote the three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—by setting up designated public bins and promoting their use in schools. The MCDC has affixed to the city’s garbage trucks GPS tracking devices that monitor routes and alert control centers of deviations.

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