IEEE Smart Cities Initiative Affiliate City Profile
The City of Guayaquil, Ecuador sees becoming a smart city as a way to solve a number of challenges the municipality faces while also becoming a technologically modern, safe, and efficient city for both residents and tourists. To this end it is taking action in five major segments: education, healthcare, human mobility and basic services, security, and electronic government.
The municipality has already provided a great deal of educational material and technological tools to public schools at both the primary and secondary levels, but as technology keeps changing how citizens are learning, additional tools and better connectivity are needed. Healthcare and education are not the responsibility of the municipality, but the mayor of Guayaquil, Jaime Nebot, has made investment in healthcare and education a priority.
Guayaquil has a number of initiatives underway to improve education, including ongoing efforts to distribute books and computers to schools. It also leverages Apple’s iTunes to deliver 16 video-based courses that have been viewed by 90,000 “digital citizens.” The municipality has also recognized the best students from public schools, ensuring they have received housing, computers and passes for public transit. Starting in 2014, all students who have finished school and gone onto college have been provided with tablets. Finally, Guayaquil is delivering technology training to students and teachers at community computing centers.
Guayaquil provides some healthcare services in the form of mobile health centers, many of which don’t have communications connectivity and technology, which means their logistical and administrative management are quite manual and less efficient. This will be addressed, while the “Màs Salud” (“more health”) program being implemented provides primary care to vulnerable city residents through these mobile clinics. Expansion of mass transit will also help to improve the health of citizens by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The population of Guayaquil has steadily grown over the past decade as people have migrated to the city for its socio-economic growth opportunities. This has put pressure on basic services such as potable water, electricity, garbage collection, and street maintenance.
Guayaquil has focused on improving its mass transit as both a means to improve the environment and get people moving more easily – 500,000 citizens use Metrovìa, which was awarded by the Institution for Transportation & Development Policy for contributing to the quality of life by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Metrovìa is also moving to more efficient lighting to save energy.
Guayaquil has also developed a network of municipal markets so that more than 35,000 traders can formally conduct business, providing citizens with a safe system for purchasing food; the city administration has 100% of the water supply and 90% of the sewer system covered.
Security is seen as a special area of interest for the municipality, as Guayaquil wants to be an environment where citizens can develop products, conduct trade, and engage in personal and recreational activities safely. Guayaquil is addressing security in part through its participation in the Risk Management Committee through the Incident Command System, and the city has implemented mobile surveillance units with GPS.
Electronic government is also a major goal for Guayaquil, as citizens must currently deal with the municipality in person when it comes to services such as obtaining licenses, paying taxes, and other services. Guayaquil has implemented a Web portal that outlines and supports many different procedures and queries via the Internet as well as the deployment of public kiosks. The portal is continually being improved upon while services are streamlined to be more efficient.
The city is also providing wireless Internet access throughout Guayaquil, with 6,000 access points deployed in public spaces including tourist attractions, parks, and university campuses.
Universities are critical partners contributing to Guayaquil’s efforts to become a smart city. The municipality has partnered with polytechnic institution ESPOL, which has committed its research labs, facilities, professors, and post-graduate programs to contribute to Guayaquil’s smart city activities. Universidad de Guayaquil is also participating in the initiative, including its school of Informatics and Medicine, which is interested in developing a mobile health platform for the municipality, while faculties in the areas of architecture, telematics, and civil engineering are interested in smart urban architecture projects.
Guayaquil will also leverage its IEEE members, having the largest number in Ecuador with 191 members, the majority of them being students at the local universities. The local high-tech community has also committed to investing in the knowledge and technology industries so Guayaquil evolves in line with technological innovation, grows employment, and improves the quality of life for its citizens.
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For more information on the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative visit http://smartcities.ieee.org.