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Baguio automation system launched, eyes 2021 operations

Baguio automation system launched, eyes 2021 operations

BAGUIO CITY — The summer capital may start operating as an automated city by June 2021, equipped with its own broadband network, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said on Saturday when he kicked off the installation of a Smart City Command Center at the Baguio Convention Center.

This automation hub will coordinate major security and public services, from traffic routing and street surveillance to sewage and pollution controls, using software technology to be provided by networking firm Cisco Systems Inc (Philippines).

Baguio’s Smart City network would also manage and secure data flow once the city completes a digital system for all local government transactions like tax payments and the release of clearances, permits and other documents.

The city is currently gathering village profiles using an app, to help build a profile of its residents and their neighborhood requirements.

Magalong said the Command Center would be relocated in 2022 to a 1,000 square-meter lot inside Camp John Hay together with a data center.

Virus trigger

“This coronavirus pandemic triggered digitalization,” which is now being pushed by various local governments in the country, Cisco regional manager Robin Llamas said during the program.

Baguio, however, began the process earlier, he said.

Magalong’s team began the shift to digital governance as early as 2019, for which the mayor secured a P200 million grant from the Office of the President.

By equipping street security cameras with an artificial intelligence (AI) program, data analysts could forecast where traffic flow would be congested, law enforcers can detect unusual public behavior and prevent potential crimes, and pick out fugitives in a crowd, Magalong said in earlier briefings.

“Most of the major cities have elements or silos of (digital) technology. What they are not doing is to use it as a tool to administer a city — to properly manage a city,” Llamas said.

The project will make Baguio “the first city to use AI that will automate standard operating procedures,” he said.

The system also allows residents to report problems faster, and first responders would have all relevant data on hand to solve them, Llamas said.

Baguio Broadband

The Baguio Smart City system will run on a Baguio Broadband Network under a Sept. 25 agreement with Information and Communication Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan.

Baguio is also the test site for experimental technology which will use electricity to transmit broadband internet access to parts of the country where telecommunications facilities are absent.

The National Transmission Corporation began a two month test of “Project Lightning” on October 12, using the magnetic fields generated by power lines, Magalong said.

The system is similar to “Project Airgig” which American telecommunications firm AT&T had been testing since 2018.

JE