The Jamaican government has unveiled plans to develop Kingston’s core business district, known as New Kingston, into a smart city over the next few months.
According to Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology, this will be the pilot program and the country has plans to outfit all its neighborhoods with digital technology in the years to come.
If everything goes according to plan, New Kingston will be the first Caribbean neighborhood to become a smart city.
“To park on the road, you can use your phone to pay for a ticket. Internet wi-fi connectivity will be available so that you are always connected,” local daily The Jamaica Gleaner reported quoting Wheatley as saying.
It seems the government will start the initiative deploying numerous Wi-Fi hotspots across the business district. Once the basic infrastructure is in place, everything, from street lighting to parking, and traffic to waste management, will run on smart technologies.
Jamaica believes smart technologies will reduce the crime rate and create a sense of security among residents, besides making the government more efficient than ever.
Many private companies are expected to take part in the initiative alongside the Jamaica Public Service Company, a government agency responsible for infrastructure. According to Gleaner, Jamaica’s government is already deploying LED bulbs in Kingston and might soon put in place a smart street-lighting system.
Two years ago, Jamaica talked about rolling out a smart city program in Montego Bay, but there has been little news about the initiative.
As far as telecom infrastructure is concerned, New Kingston will not take much time to grow into a smart city, because the government has recently laid fiber optic cables throughout the city.