Brazil launches initiative on sustainable smart cities

Face recognition and rainwater harvesting are part of the concept

Published on 24/07/2019 - 20:00 By Elaine Patricia Cruz - São Paulo

The Programa Nacional de Estratégias para Cidades Inteligentes Sustentáveis (“national program on strategies for sustainable smart cities”), launched Tuesday, at the Smart City Business Brazil, held in São Paulo, is set to establish indicators and goals and implement solutions to turn Brazilian cities into smart cities.

Vitor Menezes, secretary for Telecom and Digital Policies with Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communications, pointed out the concept of smart cities encompasses the use of a technological infrastructure, innovation, and communication, “promoting the welfare of the community on four fronts: social, environmental, cultural, and economic.”

In his plan presentation, the secretary talked about CCTV cameras, face recognition, farming surveillance, rainwater harvesting, electronic health record, and urban mobility.

“This national plan is a public policy of the Brazilian government, [launched] by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which will organize and aggregate the other ministries. The idea is for us to be able to work, also alongside the Ministry of Regional Development, in a Chamber of Smart Cities, which we will create in the coming days,” the secretary said.

A national project

The plan is should begin with the creation of the National Chamber of Smart Cities, set to take place by August. “In this chamber, we should bring in the national project for smart cities, the indicators, as well as how we’re going to work, what we’re going after, what our targets are, and how we’re going to bring the cities to the same level,” Menezes added.

“We can’t talk about smart cities if we have no connectivity. We need to evolve so that we can have a structured plan countrywide. This is not a program for months, but years. It’s a program for constant evolution,” he went on to note.

Vitor Menezes reported a decree establishing the national policy for the area will be made public soon. “The decree sets forth our concept for smart cities and some specific questions. We’ll have a little more details about how this program operates.”

Urban population

The plan is believed to be crucial because the majority of the Brazilian population—some 85 percent—live in cities. “And cities today should have more quality of life and be able to generate wealth for the population, ensuring security, so that parents can rest assured about their children, and that people have access to technology.”

“We notice that today, a program for smart cities, above all, brings efficiency to the city. For instance, if you have a smart government management program, it will definitely generate profit for the city. If you have a simple surveillance camera system, this tends to cut crime in the city. So this is a program we believe will bring a lot of benefits at all government levels,” he declared.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Fernando Fraga / Augusto Queiroz

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