Công văn 58/BTTTT-KHCN

Official Dispatch No. 58/BTTTT-KHCN dated January 11, 2018 Guide to principles of orientation towards use of information technology and communications for development of smart cities in Vietnam

Nội dung toàn văn Official Dispatch 58/BTTTT-KHCN 2018 Guide orientation information technology smart cities


Independence - Freedom - Happiness


Re. Guide to principles of orientation towards use of information technology and communications for development of smart cities in Vietnam

Hanoi, January 11, 2018



- Ministries, Ministry-level bodies, Governmental entities
- People’s Committees of centrally-governed cities and provinces.

In compliance with the Prime Minister’s directives given in the Official Dispatch No. 10384/VPCP-KGVX dated December 1, 2016 of the Government’s Office on providing local jurisdictions with guidance on practical and effective investments in development of smart cities, the Ministry of Information and Communications has studied international experience, and has allowed certain local jurisdictions and enterprises to conduct feasibility studies about and implement these investment projects.     

Based on assigned functions and tasks of the Ministry of Information and Communications defined in the Government’s Decree No. 17/2017/ND-CP dated February 17, 2017, the Ministry of Information and Communications shall be charged with providing local jurisdictions with guidance on utilization of information technology for development and provision of smart city services. 

On the basis of contributory opinions received from Ministries, sectoral departments and local jurisdictions, the Ministry of Information and Communications hereby issues “Guide to principles of orientation towards use of information technology and communications for development of smart cities in Vietnam”

We have the honour to request you to consider adopting this guide. In the course of your implementation, should there be any difficulty that may arise, you are invited to contact the Ministry of Information and Communications for further instructions.  






Phan Tam



(Appended to the Official Dispatch No. 58/BTTTT-KHCN dated January 11, 2018 of the Ministry of Information and Communications)

1. General overview of smart cities around the world and in Vietnam

In 2017, an estimated 54.7 per cent of the world’s population lived in urban settlements, including 28 megacities of 10 million inhabitants or more.  The United Nations estimates that nearly 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050.  An increase in the urbanization trend inflicts considerable pressures such as environmental pollution and resource shortage (e.g. clean water, land, space, traffic and energy, etc.).    This causes conventional urban development and management to face a lot of difficulties and challenges that require leaders and regulators to find out innovative and creative strategies and solutions to adapt to current situations and future developmental trends.

Over recent years, information and communications technology (abbreviated as ICT) has made rapid growth with a large number of new technologies that are more and more popular, low–cost, less energy consuming and have a rapid increase in capacity for collecting and processing of big data, etc. Therefore, the task of urban management and ICT application plays a crucial role in reducing pressure resulted from an increased urbanization process, like the creative change of traffic, clean water, energy and waste management systems, and so on.   Tendency to application of ICT advances and other creative or inventive approaches is commonly called smart urban areas (smart city in other words).  Smart cities aimed at sustainable economic, social and environmental development are called smart sustainable cities.   However, today there is no commonly accepted definition of smart city in the world.

In 2016, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) agreed on the following definition: “A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, environmental as well as cultural aspects”.

The British Standards Institution (BSI) gives the following definition (adopted by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission in ISO/IEC 30182:2017 standard to define the “smart city” term): Smart city is an effective integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to deliver a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens”.

In the “Smart Cities and Communities Act" of the United States, the term “smart city” is defined as follows: “Smart city or community means a community in which innovative, advanced, and trustworthy information, communication, and energy technologies and related mechanisms are applied:

- to improve the health and quality of life of residents;

- to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of civic operations and services;

- to promote economic growth;

- to create a community that is safer and more secure, sustainable, resilient, livable, and workable”.

Building of smart cities is becoming a trend in a number of worldwide countries, including both developed and developing countries.  Though there may be difference in vision and development of smart cities, all of them use ICTs to provide better solutions to removing pressure placed on these smart cities with respect to 6 following aspects: economy, regulatory management, traffic, environment, life and residents. 

Certain main difficulties arising from development of smart cities in the world are:

- Lack of clear vision towards smart cities, execution of independent and disintegrated projects.

- Lack of financial resources. Public-private partnership (PPP) agreements in building of smart cities are still under study and test.

- Lack of residents’ involvement.

- Difficulty in multiplication of smart city models owing to critical difference between smart cities.

- Difficulty in fully assessing social impacts created by smart cities.  International organizations for standardizations, like ITU and ISO, are at the stage of building, testing and satisfaction of criteria/indicators for assessment of smart cities. 

Conclusion of international experience may take into consideration the following main contents:

- Development of smart cities must center around citizens and uses ICT as a means of support for accomplishment of smart city objectives.  At the first stage, countries usually place significant emphasis on technologies which makes residents feel benefits and interests that these technologies would bring about and rarely participate in building of smart cities.   Over recent years, most of countries have agreed that smart cities must put residents at the center and use technologies as a means to reach the ultimate objective which is improving quality of life and work for residents and enterprises.  

- It must be assured that legal infrastructure is available for sharing of data, protection of safety for information and data open to enterprises for operation and development of their services, and strategies/plans for development of smart cities must be established.  

- In terms of organization: It is necessary to combine 2 top-down and bottom-up approaches. In this case, local governments act on their own initiative (emphasizing determination of the leadership and the entity in charge of building of smart cities).  Smart city’s benefits must be made widely known to residents so that they are encouraged to get involved. Several typical projects may be piloted in order of priority given to specific local jurisdictions. Before have them multiplied, experience gained from such piloting must be drawn on.

- In terms of market, it must be assured that enterprises are provided with major opportunities for development of smart cities, but interests shared among 3 key subjects such as government, people and enterprise must be balanced.

- In terms of international consultancy research and cooperation, there are a lot of organizations, unions and forums specializing in research, cooperation, consultancy and sharing of experience in smart cities at the national and international level.  Thanks to them, experience sharing between local jurisdictions and international entities is enhanced to provide multiple opportunities to receive insightful advices from professional and fully-fledged organizations.

In Vietnam, urbanization tendency is taking place at a rapid speed and covers a large extent.  According to a report prepared by the Ministry of Construction, urbanization proportion is increased from 19.6% equivalent to 629 cities (in 2009) to about 36.6% equivalent to 802 cities (in 2016), and is targeted to reach 45% by 2020.

In terms of ICT development in Vietnam, by end of May 2017, the number of subscribers to broadband wired internet service is 9.9 million; the number of subscribers to broadband wireless internet service equals 49 million; the number of subscribers to xDSL technology-based broadband internet service is more than 1.4 million and 7.6 million for FTTH optical cable service.    Broadband internet service powered by new technologies becomes more prevailing and is preferred by customers due to its low primary cost, quick installation and high quality.  Total domestic internet connection bandwidth is equivalent to 1.919 Gbps which is 1.6 times as much as in 2016; total international internet connection bandwidth is more than 4.503 Gbps which is twice as much as in 2016. The mobile service market is making a robust growth when total number of mobile subscribers is about 124.2 million.    In March 2017, nearly 43,000 eNodeB (4G/LTE) and 83,000 NodeB (3G) base stations are brought into operation and 95% of the population lives in an area that is covered by these mobile networks.   Implementation of Ipv6 in Vietnam has achieved significant prosperity: by July 2017, the rate of access to internet via Ipv6 in Vietnam reached about 10% and upto 25% at the peak time (at the second rank in ASEAN and the sixth rank in Asia), etc. Such trend to development and application of ICT in Vietnam will create necessary conditions for development of its smart cities.    

In order to keep pace with the global developmental tendency, the Communist Party and Government of Vietnam have adopted policies for development of smart cities by issuing several main following instruments:

+ The Resolution No. 18/NQ-TW dated October 25, 2017 of the 6th Plenum of the XII-tenure Party Central Committee on “Certain issues on continued reform and rearrangement of subtle political mechanism carrying out efficient and effective operations”.

+ The Resolution No. 05/NQ-TW dated November 1, 2016 of the 4th Plenum of the XII-tenure Party Central Committee on “Certain major strategies and policies intended for continued reform of growth model, improvement of quality of growth, labor productivity and competitiveness of the economy”.

+ The Prime Minister’s Decision No. 1819/QD-TTg dated October 26, 2015 on approval of the National Program for application of information technology to state agencies’ operations.

Concurrently, there are many nationwide local jurisdictions that have the intention of developing smart cities and primarily establish their own smart city projects.  

Upon the request of the Ministry of Information and Communications, on December 1, 2016, the Government’s Office issued the document No. 10384/VPCP-KGVX to Ministries, sectoral departments and local jurisdictions on development of smart sustainable cities around the world and in Vietnam in which the Prime Minister has given his opinions: Nowadays, the 4th industrial revolution has formed a new developmental trend in various fields, including the trend to development of smart cities.    This is a new definition that needs to be thoroughly studied under the uniform administration at both central and local level so that it is in line with the general developmental trend and particular Vietnamese conditions for the aim of sustainability.  The Prime Minister also commands the Ministry of Information and Communications to take charge of providing instructions for local jurisdictions on development of smart cities.

2. Scope

This Guide provides definitions, general objectives, rules, ICT structure and certain basic contents of development of smart urban areas (smart cities) at local jurisdictions.

3. Definition

Upon consultation with international organizations for standardization and in view of experience gained from other countries and practical conditions in Vietnam, smart city is defined in Vietnamese style as follows: Smart city is an urban or residential area that applies suitable, reliable and innovative information and communication technologies and other means to improve efficiency and effectiveness of analysis, forecast, supply of services, administration of its resources in which people are involved; enhance quality of life and work of its community; promote innovation and creativity for economic growth; and protect environment on the basis of strengthening of interoperability, data sharing, information safety and security between systems and services.     

In this Guide, the definition of smart city is understood as smart sustainable city. 

4. General objective of development of smart city

Basically, development of a smart city must conform to the following general objectives:

a) Improvement of residents’ quality of life: Applying ICTs to assist in dealing with issues that residents care about, such as traffic, health service, education and food safety, etc., in a timely and effective manner, and increase in residents’ comfort. 

b) Streamlining of urban administration: Digitalizing information used for management of major urban engineering - service infrastructure sectors, ensuring interoperability and sharing of data between industries; promoting residents’ participation in order to improve forecasting capacity, efficiency and effectiveness of management activities undertaken by local jurisdictions.    

c) Effective environmental protection: Establishing online monitoring and alert systems for environmental issues (such as water, air, noise, soil and waste, etc.); establishing systems for collection and analysis of environmental data in order to enhance competence in forecast, prevention, control of, response to emergencies and make proactive adaptation to climate changes. 

d) Competitiveness improvement: Constructing safe digital information infrastructure, stimulating provision of open data used for promotion of startup and innovation activities, helping enterprises reduce their costs and extend business cooperation opportunities to them in the digital economy.  

dd) Fast and convenient public services: Ensuring that all residents have access to public services in a time-consuming and convenient manner by establishing widespread digital information infrastructure.

e) Strengthening of social security, order and safety as well as crime prevention and control.

5. General rules for development of smart cities in Vietnam

Development of smart cities in Vietnam should obey the following general rules:

a) Putting people at the center: Development of smart cities must depend on the actual needs of people and achievements coming from smart city development must be enjoyed by all people.

- Ensuring that most people have comprehensive awareness of particular interests of smart cities.

- Ensuring that people, enterprises, unions and interested parties are entitled to participate in demand surveys and give their opinions during the stage of formulation and implementation of smart city plans, proposals and projects.

- Training and guiding all people so that they can have access to smart city services in an easy manner.

b) Ensuring that capacity of information infrastructure that creates the digital ecosystem meets the needs of development of smart city applications and utilities. Promoting sharing of information infrastructure, enabling availability of open data including data which can be understood (explicitly described), used and exploited by all of parties involved in development of smart cities.   Open data shall be possessed by local governments and shared to parties involved (where necessary).

c) Ensuring technological neutrality; concentrating on application ICTs which are appropriate for smart cities such as Internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, big data analysis and artificial intelligence, etc., and may be compatible with various platforms; making most use of and optimizing available ICT infrastructure.

d) Ensuring information safety, security, competence in making emergency responses and dealing with loss of information safety, especially material information infrastructure; protecting private information of residents.

dd) Based on actual demands and conditions, local jurisdictions may have a discretionary power to formulate and implement the master plan for development of smart cities which is in line with policies and guidelines of the Communist Party and Government, is associated with strategies, planning schemes and proposals for socio-economic development of each of them (paying attention to managerial needs, residents' needs, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges).    Development of smart cities must ensure inheritability and sustainability development of cultural, economic and social values, physical and non-physical values of specific local jurisdictions. In the course of formulation of the master plan, local jurisdictions should send it to Ministries and sectoral departments to get their opinions on related contents thereof.

e) Local jurisdictions shall establish the master plan according to a roadmap appropriate for projects under the following main rules:

- Preferring long-term platform projects which are of an overall nature, are designed for use by multiple industries, including those for establishment of ICT structures used for local smart cities, ensure information security and safety for bandwidth infrastructure, etc.; giving permission to use those platforms to be built to develop projects that make best use of local advantages and those which are urgent to meet managerial needs and residents' aspirations;   

- ICT architecture of smart cities at local jurisdictions shall be built under principles of ICT architecture for smart cities set out herein; 

- Selecting several projects which may be widespread after being piloted; avoiding implementing multiple projects at the same time if experience has not be drawn after assessing piloted projects or long-term overall projects for platform establishment;  

- Preferring projects for hiring of ICT services, using domestic ICT products, solutions and services for developing smart cities; 

g) Individual ICT architecture or solutions need to be considered as a whole in connection with physical infrastructure and planning schemes of each local jurisdiction in order to ensure consistency and sustainability for city development; 

h) Promoting mobilization of social resources (such as public-private partnership form, etc.) for development of smart cities; ensuring balancing of interests between interested parties such as local governments, residents and enterprises, etc.;

i) Increasing human resources for development of smart cities;

k) Promoting cooperation and experience sharing between local jurisdictions and cooperation with countries and international organizations with the aim of adopting trends and practical lessons.

6. Smart city ICT architecture

6.1 Roles of smart city ICT architecture

Smart city ICT architecture plays a role as an overall platform based on which local jurisdictions, enterprises and interested parties design and build components, functions, solutions and services using ICT for development of smart cities at specific local jurisdictions.

6.2 Principles of smart city ICT architecture

Smart city ICT architecture (hereinafter referred to as architecture) is built and announced by local jurisdictions upon request by interested parties (e.g. enterprises, schools, research institutes, consulting organizations and unions, etc.). The architecture is meant for different-region target users, such as public sector, private sector, community sector and third-party sector (including social enterprises, non-profit organizations and charity organizations, etc.); offers a long-term vision, clearly defines ICTs that will influence humans in the future. The architecture must adhere to the following principles:

a) Layered structure: The architecture is designed according to the layered structure which means that functions are connected together in each layer. Functions available in the same layer may, while on duty, employ services provided by lower functions. 

b) Service-oriented approach: The architecture is based on the SOA-Service Oriented Architecture model, which means that it is developed and combined with component functions surrounding operational processes.     

c) Interoperability: Interface of each of its components must be explicitly interpreted to prepare to interact with other components in the same architecture at the present and future time.

d) Scalability: The architecture may be able to scale up and down, according to the size of city, demand for services and changes in operations carried out in each city.

dd) Flexibility: The architecture easily adapts to new technologies as a way to enable fast and flexible supply of smart city services.

e) Availability: The architecture must meet residents’ consumption needs in a timely, accurate and reliable manner.  

g) Manageability: The architecture has to be designed with components that display information based on analysis of historical data, big data, and enables interested parties to observe and monitor operations of these components and the entire architecture as well as can forecast operations of architectural components in the future.   

h) Feedback: It must have functional components receiving feedbacks from residents – target customers that smart cities must serve.

i) Sharing: Component data existing in the architecture have to be explicitly described to prepare to be shared and commonly used.

k) Safety: The architecture must be provided with information safety plans for separate components, layers and for the entire architecture.

l) Neutrality: Dependence on suppliers of ICT products and technologies; and favor or restriction to any ICT product or technology, are prohibited. 

6.3. Establishment and use of ICT architecture

a) Local governments

- Ensuring that their individual smart city ICT architecture or solutions conform to the aforesaid principles.

- Widely informing their architectures to interested parties and encouraging them to join hands to have it completely built.

- Proactively defining objectives and requirements based on which enterprises propose smart city solutions, and ensuring uniformity and consistency, and reusing resources or components which have been developed previously.

- Using the aforesaid architectural principles for analysis and assessment of smart city architectures or projects proposed by organizations or individuals.

- Upon formulation of each smart city project, it is necessary that information to be monitored is clearly determined through the Dashboard/API chart and is provided for interested parties in an explicit manner.  Particular attention must be paid to residents’ supervisory and responding roles with respect to each project and establishment of database available for sharing.

- Preferring early establishment of functional components of user's database existing in the architecture, adopting single-sign-on authentication mechanisms to get ready for integrating other smart city application into the architecture. 

- ICT architecture of smart cities at local jurisdictions may be newly established or developed by continuously using and expanding online government architectures of local jurisdictions already in operation under the instructions given in the official dispatch No. 1178/BTTTT-THH dated April 21, 2015 of the Ministry of Information and Communications; 

See ICT architecture reference model for smart cities available in the Appendix hereto attached.

b) Enterprises

- Based on the aforesaid architectural principles, enterprises taking part in development of smart cities shall propose smart city solutions that ensure compatibility with respective architectures.

- In the proposal for smart city project, it is advised that explanations about compliance with architectural principles should be clearly stated.

- Suggesting measurement criteria and methods suitable for each smart city project and presenting measurement data to interested parties.    

- Interpreting methods for sharing data and tools for effective use of data acquired during the process of implementation of solutions.

7. Basic requirements concerning development of smart cities

Local regulators need to pay attention to basic requirements concerning development of smart cities, including:

a) Establishing a vision:

Local regulators shall play a leading role in establishing the vision for development of smart cities, based on the following factors:

- Conformance to general principles set out herein.

- Assessment of current conditions of ICT infrastructure, outcomes of application of ICT at the top level of management in a city, and relevant management organization models.

- Identification of interested parties and institutional entities (forums or unions) to encourage effective involvement of various parties with particular attention paid to residents' participation; and ensure information is shared in an adequate and convenient manner during the whole implementation process.  

- Identification of proper organizational models that enable efficient and effective management of smart city solutions.  

Using Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis techniques to define local regulator’s visions for development of smart cities.

b) Establishing the master plan:

Local government shall closely collaborate with enterprises and interested parties in formulation of the master plan whose objectives are conformable to overall ones specified herein and actual conditions of local jurisdictions.

c) Achieving commitments between interested parties:

Local regulators should enter into commitments with interested parties in order to ensure success in implementation of objectives of strategic smart city programs or projects. 

d) Carrying out development of smart cities:

Based on attained commitments and assistance from interested parties, local regulators shall directly preside over commencement of development of smart cities and take into consideration the followings:

- Feasibility of the master plan.

- Selection of smart city models to be developed which is appropriate for specific projects (for instance, public-private partnership, state budget and other funds).

- Good practices in operation and maintenance of long-term services.

dd) Quantitatively assessing betterment of a city (compared with objectives set out in the master plan).

Based on models of management of development of smart cities at local jurisdictions, carrying out inspection and assessment of outcomes of fulfillment of tasks defined in the master plan in comparison with predetermined objectives.

e) Drawing conclusion and experience:

Assessing, reporting and collecting good lessons in terms of experience and reality that may spread to be widely used by other local jurisdictions for the purpose of making any modification of strategies and plans to adapt to the reality to improve effectiveness in development of smart cities at the next stage.



Smart city reference ICT architecture

(sourced from ITU-T Recommendation: [Y4400-Sup.27])

Reference architecture layers

Sensing layer: This consists of terminal node and capillary network. Terminals such as sensor, camera, RFID reader, barcode symbols, QR code symbols, GPS tracker, etc. are used to sense the physical world. They provide intelligence for monitoring and controlling the physical infrastructure within the city. Various terminals within this layer are connected to network layer directly or through capillary network.

Network layer: The network layer indicates various networks provided by telecommunication operators and/or enterprise private communication network.

Data and support layer: This contains city data centre and other components established for the realization of data process and application support. Its main purpose is to ensure the support capabilities of various city-level applications and services.

Application layer: The application layer includes various applications that manage the smart sustainable city and deliver the smart sustainable city services to residents.

 Operation, administration and information security framework: This provides the operation, administration, maintenance and provisioning, and security function for the ICT systems of the smart sustainable city.

Reference architecture interfaces

Interfaces between layers need to be determined for communications and exchange of information and data between the layers.

Interface point 1: This exists between the city physical infrastructure and the sensing layer.  It enables the city’s sensing devices to exchange data and control signals between terminal nodes in sensing layer and the physical infrastructure.

Interface point 2: This exists between the terminal nodes in sensing layer and the network layer in the case where terminal nodes directly access to the network layer without through capillary network.

Interface point 3: This exists between the capillary network in sensing layer and the network layer.  In this case capillary networks collect the sensing data from terminal nodes in sensing layer, and connects to the communication networks.

Interface point 4: This exists between the network layer and the data and support layer. It enables communications between data centres and lower layers for collecting various data through the communication networks.

Interface point 5: This point exists between the data and support layer and the application layer and enables applications to receive support data and information for carrying out applications. It also enables integrated applications exchanging data via the data and support layer.

Interface point 6: This exists between the Operation, administration and information security framework and security framework, and the aforesaid layers. This interface enables the corresponding modules to exchange data flow and control flow for providing operation, administration, maintenance, provisioning and security functions.


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