Baguio makes ‘Smart City’ vision come true with new command center

July 29, 2023 - 5:31 PM
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An overview of Baguio City's Smart City Command Center (Released)

Baguio City, a popular tourist destination in the Philippines, delivers its public services to its residents and visitors through an advanced Command Center.

In partnership with Cisco, a digital solutions company, the province built its Smart City Command Center to centralize and digitalize its operations for better governance.

The command center was inaugurated in September 2021.

In a statement, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong emphasized the need for careful planning and a strong partnership foundation to create a “smart city.”

“To become a smart city, having a well-defined plan is crucial. Recognizing this, we in the city government-initiated discussions with Cisco regarding a potential partnership,” said Magalong.

“The response from Cisco was exceedingly impressive as they promptly organized themselves and provided a comprehensive response. Their willingness to collaborate positions us closer to our goal of transforming into a smart city,” he added.

The Baguio Smart City Command Center was developed as part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program in the Philippines, UGNAYAN 2030.

What is a Smart City Command Center?

National Geographic defines a smart city as a metropolitan area wherein “in which a suite of sensors (typically hundreds or thousands) is deployed to collect electronic data from and about people and infrastructure so as to improve efficiency and quality of life.”

In line with this, Baguio City’s “smart” command center is also equipped with Cisco technologies.

According to a press release about this facility, it was stated that the technologies Cisco provided and installed include “industrial and network switches, data center architecture, as well as firewalls, and advanced threat detection response tools, ensuring that the command center is secure from end to end at all times.”

To ensure data security, it was also stated that the command center contains “Cisco’s networking, security, and collaboration technologies power the underlying infrastructure of the platform.”

Smart City Command Center of Baguio City
Smart City Command Center of Baguio City
Smart City Command Center of Baguio City

The overall Smart City Command Center serves as “the core” of Baguio City’s regular operations and functions.

“These solutions enable the Smart City Command Center to aggregate and analyze data from city infrastructure sensors and other data sources seamlessly and securely,” the press release said.

“It equips city planners and officials with a holistic view of the entire smart city ecosystem, from traffic patterns and available parking lots to environmental conditions and public safety measures, optimizing the speed and scale of digital services for citizens of Baguio,” it added.

Moreover, Cisco also trained personnel on how to properly use the command center’s system and infrastructure.

This innovation was launched in response to a study commissioned by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) that stated Baguio faces “urban decay” in the next 25 years.

This might happen if concerns surrounding the tourist spot such as overcrowding and waste management were not resolved.

Achievements since then

Here is a list of what the Smart City Command Center has achieved for Baguio City so far:

  • Geographic Information System – helped integrate information about the locations of fault lines and sinkholes within Baguio City.
  • Smart Emergency Response Platform for Citizens – a crowdsourcing initiative where residents can submit help requests for ambulance services, police assistance, noise complaints, and others.
  • Smart Security System – an advanced technology where Cisco integrated data from the city’s CCTV cameras with advanced analytics leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) for applications in traffic management and physical and perimeter security.
  • Environmental Management Solution – air quality monitors were outfitted with sensors for real-time detection of weather conditions and pollutants.