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Developing smart cities: using digital technology to solve difficult problems



Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung says that digital technology can help solve most of the problems faced by cities. Local authorities should first deal with the most burning issues in their localities.

At the ASEAN 2020 Smart City Summit, Hung said cities have many different problems to solve, but the problems vary among cities.

Developing smart cities: using digital technology to solve difficult problems

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung

Local authorities have to choose the problems to solve first based on their priority. The problems could be environment pollution, public order and security, healthcare or education.

“Have the belief that technology in general and digital technology in particular can solve most of the problems we are facing. And choose the toughest problems to solve,” Hung said.

Hue, HCM City and Bac Ninh identified the most pressing problems andhave been solving them with new technologies.

According to Hanoi Vice Mayor Nguyen Doan Toan, in the immediate time, Hanoi will focus on developing smart urban technical infrastructure (lighting, water supply and drainage, smart traffic etc…) and smart residents.

In order to do so, Hanoi will set up a smart regulation center with a center for security monitoring and information security; center for supporting officers to use IT; center for press information and communication management; center for traffic control public crime prevention; and data assignment center.

Hanoi has chosen to handle traffic and tourism problems first. It will activate the integrated intelligent traffic center, which includes a visual traffic safety monitoring system, public security monitoring software, smart traffic light control system, electronic traffic signs, traffic control center monitoring software system, public passenger transport management software system, smart electronic bus ticket system, and fee collection system that aims to restrict personal vehicles.

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung says that digital technology can help solve most of the problems faced by cities. Local authorities should first deal with the most burning issues in their localities.

As for tourism, Hanoi will build a tourist information portal on mobile devices and software to manage business and tourism activities.

HCM City’s Vice Mayor Duong Anh Duc said the city is considering the building of smart city as a solution to accelerate development and create a better environment for people.

HCM City has deployed utilities to better serve people in transport, healthcare, education and flood prevention, improving the quality of life.

Duc said HCM City will continue implementing the second phase of the smart city project in sync with developing a digital society and economy; put into operation and effectively exploit shared data; invest in a smart operating center and socio-economic forecast center; complete city-wide digital data transformation by 2025; use big data to modernize, reduce costs and improve the quality and predictability in key areas; and apply AI in smart city development.

Asked about how to prepare high-quality workforce for smart cities, Hung said that having enough qualified human resources for smart cities will depend on ways of approaching this issue.

If localities want to develop smart cities with their own human resources, they will have to recruit many experts. And this will be a big problem.

Instead, localities should order businesses. If so, they will have many good products with reasonable prices which will benefit people.

In other words, local authorities just need to identify their problems, set targets, make requests and order enterprises.

“Local authorities just need to become smart orderers and need to make institutional changes to accept new models of smart cities,” Hung said.

Truong Gia Binh, president of FPT, the largest Vietnamese IT corporation, said the smart city project is an opportunity for all sectors in the society.

Businesses will have a favourable environment to carry out digital transformation, which will help them develop sustainably. The State will have better management methods. And, people will have the best environment to live and work in.

In building an e-government and striving for a digital government, building smart cities, the benefits of people and sustainable development must be centered. No one will stay outside the race.

Binh stressed that urban digital transformation and smart cities must not begin from urban planning, but from a socio-economic development strategy which comprises four aspects, including drawing up a strategy, building institutional structures, setting policies and developing technological platforms.

Of these, a digital technology platform, where the core is open data structure interconnected and processed in real time, will act as the operating center, an analytical tool for urban digital transformation strategies and sustainability.

Together with the government, ministries and branches, private enterprises, the community, startups and public can cooperate by contributing data and applying smart city solutions to create many services and new added value for the community. 

Trong Dat



Why is the VIA scam market bustling in Vietnam?



The Facebooker community in Vietnam uses the term VIA, which refers to real accounts hacked and used by others to run ads or do anything else on Facebook.

It’s unclear how the concept originated. But it is clear that it is used only in Vietnam. If searching for ‘VIA’ on any search engine, one will receive results in Vietnamese language.

Why is the VIA scam market bustling in Vietnam?

VIA is understood as ‘verified information accounts’, which means accounts verified by Facebook. This means that users’ information has been verified by Facebook. There is information on registered mobile phones, ID cards and other personal documents.

VIA is used for different purposes. Previously, VIA was used by scammers to fool people into transferring money to them, appropriate scratch cards, and increase interactions for posts.

If someone complains that their blue check mark (indicating that it has been verified) has been hacked, it may have actually been turned into a VIA for scammers to exploit.

Nowadays, VIA is used to run ads. The demand for VIA for this purpose is high from those who want to escape policy violations and boost sales via Facebook, especially in the Covid-19 period.

The typical characteristic of these VIAs is that while the real owners of the accounts use Facebook as usual, scammers appropriating the accounts are running ads quietly. In other words, these VIAs have at least two owners.

It is easy for a blue check mark to become a VIA. In addition to the usual ways of password exposure, the granting of the right to access apps and the participation in divination games can also lead to a risk of token exposure, which leads to the loss of the right to control Facebook accounts.

Another risk comes from accepting cookies and exposing this information. Cookies remember browser information so that users don’t have to enter their passwords every time they log in.

With the use of revealed, shared or weak passwords, and the lack of attention to personal information security, Vietnamese Facebook users could be a VIA of someone else.

Facebook has to regularly create checkpoints which ask users to confirm unusual activities on their verified accounts and tell them to change passwords as well as log out of all devices.

Many Facebook accounts can be the targets of scammers.

The VIA market in Vietnam is bustling, with ‘commodities’ from Asia to Europe, from old to newly set up accounts.

With only several thousand to tens of thousands of dong, one can buy a VIA with an advertised ‘lifetime warranty’. 

Phuong Nguyen


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Vietnam Digital Transformation Day slated for mid-December



The Vietnam Digital Transformation Day (DX Day Vietnam) 2020 is scheduled to take place in Hanoi on December 14-15 with the direct participation of more than 2,500 delegates and over 10,000 others online.

The event is organised by the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA) and the Authority of Information Technology Application under the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Technology experts will present digital transformation solutions and experience relating to agriculture, health care, logistics, finance – banking, industrial production, and small- and medium-sized enterprises, VINASA said on December 4.

On June 3 this year, the Prime Minister approved the national digital transformation programme until 2025 with a vision to 2030, which considers 2020 as the year of national digital transformation.

The trend of digital transformation in the world is now stronger than ever, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced over 1.2 billion students worldwide to take online lessons and 30 percent of patients to undergo examination via telemedicine, according to VINASA.

It said that Vietnam is holding an important stature in the international arena in terms of both economy and politics, and it is now a “golden” chance for the country to strongly promote digital transformation so as to maintain and further raise this standing.

To help accelerate national digital transformation, DX Day Vietnam will be held annually to connect relevant parties to discuss and share ways for helping businesses carry out digital transformation, the association added.

More information can be found on the event’s website, at


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Creating ‘digital trust’ with Make in Vietnam open-technology products



Vietnam has become one of the first countries in the world commercializing 5G on a trial basis. Software engineers have made a great contribution to the achievement as Vietnam’s 5G network will use open standards.

Developing national information systems with open technology is the key to creating digital trust.

Creating 'digital trust' with Make in Vietnam open-technology products

With Make in Vietnam 5G equipment and terminals, Vietnam can master the major elements of a 5G ecosystem, which is important for 5G to be implemented by this year end.

Vietnam ranks 20th in open source software application

The Sysnopsy’s Open Source Security and Risk Analysis Report 2020 report showed that an audit of 1,260 closed software source codebases in 17 industries found that 99 percent of codebases contained open source components. All codebases in 9 out of 17 industries contain open source components.

Up to 70 percent of source codes in codebases are open source codes. The figure is twice as much as in 2015 (36 percent). Ninety percent of codebases since 2019 contain open source components.

According to Sysnopsys, there are 445 open source components in each codebase. More than 90 percent of IT firms use open source software for important apps.

A report from GitHub said that Vietnam ranks 20th among non-US countries and territories in utilizing open source codes. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam ranks third, behind Singapore and Indonesia.

However, when considering the proportion, Vietnam is far behind China, India, Germany, the UK and Japan. It is on the same par with Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.

The growth rate of open source projects and the contribution to open source codes in Vietnam remain modest.

Though Vietnam began approaching the open source trend in the 2000s, its open technology growth rate has been slower than some other countries. This is attributed to a closed culture mechanism, localization in data protection and management, and the lack of interest from large corporations.

The main cause is that Vietnam doesn’t have a technology development tradition, because the economy is at a fairly average level, with the science and technology level still low. Vietnam has few scientific and technological inventions and patents.

Using open technology is the only way for Vietnam to master technologies, catch up with the world, and become an IT powerhouse.

Mastering open technology

Developing open technology, open source software, and opening data to businesses and individuals to create new value is the new orientation.

A report from GitHub said that Vietnam ranks 20th among non-US countries and territories in utilizing open source codes. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam ranks third, behind Singapore and Indonesia.

This was confirmed by the head of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) Nguyen Manh Hung at Vietnam Open Summit 2020. The event was organized to show Vietnam’s strategy and action plan on developing and mastering digital technology with open standards.

Vietnam’s open technology development in the time to come will focus on three pillars, namely the Make in Vietnam open ecosystem, open culture promotion, and open community development.

Vietnam has recently made significant investments to develop open technologies. The introduction of apps, including Bluezone and CoMeet, is evidence.

Developed on the open source code basis, users and more than 100 IT engineers contributed to the development of Bluezone. Thanks to the open source code, the app tracking suspected Covid-19 infections won people’s confidence, with more than 22 million downloads.

Viettel, BKAV and CMC are the technology firms leading open technology development.

Nguyen Tu Quang, CEO of BKAV, said the corporation began investing in AI camera some years ago. In 2018, BKAV set up AI Institute as it realized the big potential of AI application.

The corporation last November exported the first AI cameras to be installed at the head office of Qualcomm in San Diego, California.

At Qualcomm, the cameras from Vietnam will be an important element of the group’s smart city development strategy.

The AI View cameras manufactured by BKAV are developed with Open AI View. The use of an open platform helps to gain confidence from international partners.

As for CMC, the group chose OpenStack to build CMC Open Cloud and Elastic Stack to create SOC. These are all open source codes available on GitHub.

Luong Tuan Thanh, chief technology officer of CMC Group, said with the development of products with open source codes, all the expenses related to software copyright will be used to develop human resources. CMC is following this path to develop its specialists and build an open culture.

Viettel, the mobile network operator, chose to master 5G technology based on OpenRAN. This was a daring move compared with the use of the traditional Radio Access Network. By doing so, Viettel can escape reliance on foreign equipment suppliers. 

Trong Dat


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