Karabakh Will Turn to a “Smart Region”

Gunay Guliyeva

Head of department at CAERC

01 February 2021, 11:34

 Karabakh Will Turn to a “Smart Region”

“Smart city” and “smart village” that will be build in the liberated territories under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev will firstly respond to global challenges. Karabakh will become a center attracting technological investments, as well as will play a role of a model for applying smart city-village technologies in other regions.

In modern times, 54 percent of people live in cities, and this ratio is expected to reach 66 percent by 2050. Along with overall population growth, due to urbanization additional 2.5 billion people will inhabit cities over the next three decades.

The concentration of vast majority of population in cities and ecosystems built around them are one of the main reasons of climate change. According to the UNDP report, cities account for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Urban residents themselves are more exposed to the effects of climate change, especially thermal stress, floods and health emergencies, which proceed from urbanization.

For the first time, world leaders seriously discussed the concept of a "smart city" at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka. During the same discussion, the participants announced the establishment of the alliance for identifying the necessary global framework that would unite the existing enterprises and organizations working on the creation of such facilities.

In the modern world, the establishment of a smart-city may eliminate a number of problems resulting from the globalization and the 4th industrial revolution. Also, making cities more sustainable, inclusive and secure has also been identified as one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Generally, the first step to be taken for realizing the smart city concept in the liberated territories is learning international experience. Next stage includes extensive use of information and communication technologies for application and promotion.

By introducing smart city solutions, we can impact various quality of life indicators, including safety, time and comfort, health, quality of environment, social connection and citizen participation, and workplaces and living expenses. 

The smart city technologies contribute to the improvement of citizens’ health and their welfare. At the same time, they offer new ways of equal economic development. The application of cloud technologies in the territories under reconstruction may accelerate the recovery of the region and attract interest of technoinvestments.                                                                                  

The application of smart-city projects in the liberated territories will accelerate the flow of innovative and technology-oriented investments, which are necessary today. Also, at the next stage, it will play a basic role in creation of innovation centers and technoparks in Karabakh.

Considered as one the main issues in the post-conflict areas, the smart-city solutions contributing to public safety - identification of potential hot spots in the area, real-time crime mapping, gunshot detection, and predictive policing tools, can be applied in the region. It is possible to apply these solutions through Azerspace satellite services. 

As emphasized by President, it is planned to create green energy zone in the liberated lands. The application of smart city solutions in the region, including such technologies as electricity usage tracking, smart lighting, sensor street lights and sensor traffic lights can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as electricity and heat consumption.

The information technology will allow to improve the distribution of energy in Karabakh, facilitate the collection of waste, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality. For example, the installation of smart bins that automatically send information to waste management companies and have a pre-planned schedule for removal when necessary can turn the region into a waste-free recycling center in Azerbaijan.

From the point of saving water resources that is important for the economy of the country as a whole, the smart city concept to be realized in the liberated territories will play a significant role in reducing water consumption. Such smart technologies as intelligent irrigation systems and water leakage, water quality and consumption monitoring can save between 25-80 liters of water consumption per person in a day.

Cloud technology applications can facilitate not only human lives but also territorial management. For better decision-making, increasing the quality of their work and life, local government structures, municipalities, private enterprises, and citizens may use these applications to receive, analyze, and manage information in a real-time manner.

As 5 cities applying smart-city solutions the most, Singapore, London, Amsterdam, Hong-Kong, and New York are also the world’s main tourism centers. It means that smart city technologies may lead to new opportunities for developing tourism in Karabakh region. In this regard, selecting Shusha for applying smart city pilot project will contribute to tourism potential. For example, the possibility of creating more environmentally friendly tourism with the introduction of "green" energy production and the installation of interactive information boards in Shusha, as well as mobile applications related to tourism services, robot guides informing about historical monuments and the traces of the past conflict, intelligent transport system will facilitate the influx of foreign tourists to the region.

Along with the smart city, it is planned to implement smart village project. In international practice, “smart village” means the solution of the main problems faced by the rural population and the creation of new economic opportunities in more important rural areas. Smart village technology is digitalization, thinking bigger than rural boundaries, as well as new form of cooperation between village and surrounding areas.

We can also block the possibility of a "circle of decline" by applying "smart village" technologies in the liberated territories. At the same time, the application of smart village technologies will create opportunities for broad distribution of social innovations, micro and macro start-up enterprises among the rural population.              

Summing up, application of smart city and city village technologies may turn Karabakh region to a pearl of tourism created by combining artificial intelligence and natural beauty of the world, as well as to the Azerbaijan’s factory of innovation start-ups.


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