There is no stopping Taitung. This March, Taitung’s TTFree was given the Innovative Application Award for Smart City in Smart Government by Smart City Summit and Expo.
The 2022 Smart City Summit & Expo was held in Taipei at the Nangang Exhibition Center. The event was filled to the brim with booths from Taiwanese Startups, city governments, and local tech businesses like ASUS, KYMCO, and FET.
The Taitung County Government’s booth had exhibits for TTFree, TTPush’s TTCoin platform integration with QuickClic, Travel Taitung Smartphone Application, 5G Telemedicine, and 5G solutions for first responders. Our onsite team had the pleasure to introduce Taitung’s smart city applications to a delegation from Slovakia.
Taitung has a vast territory that relies heavily on the internet to communicate with the outside world. TTFree is Taitung’s countywide wireless digital network. It has comprehensive integration with Taitung institutions, like schools, hospitals, and businesses, to help decrease the disparity between rural and urban areas. Moreover, utilizing recent information technology promotes transboundary learning, e-commerce, and tourism development.
The network serves as a backend to provide additional services to county residents and visitors of Taitung. The hope is to make a flow of people creating more commercial opportunities for local businesses by using the over 800 free Wi-Fi hotspot locations as a hub to gather, collect and analyze big data. This is to further stimulate the local economy and extend the reach of TTFree services. The end goal is to have an “E-governance” for the government, a “digital economy” for businesses, and a “digital lifestyle” for the public.
TTFree received an Innovative Application Award not only merely for fulfilling the needs of the people but for future-proofing Taitung’s development.
TTPush acts as the practical application of TTFree—hotspots enable the public to connect to its services; experiencing an all-new smart lifestyle. It also extends the scope and depth of public services offered by using “nudging by government” ideology as a mechanism to drive “data power” in tandem with an E-governance mindset.
The Smartphone application, TTPush, provides a one-stop shop for local news, stimulates business turnover, and even lets residents pay for roadside parking all over Taiwan with TTCoins. The digital currency can also be used to make purchases, or be used with other payment options at participating vendors. This frequent use of TTCoin at check-out helps residents gradually become accustomed to the new payment option as well as adds convenience to shopping.
Taitung is pioneering the way for governments to carry out smart governance. Through our implementations of smart city applications, residents and tourists are getting more connected with the gateway into Taiwan.
Tropical Utopia Welcoming to All
There is more to Taitung than meets the eye is our motto. Just looking at Taitung’s roads you’ll understand Taitung is a paradise where residents are tolerant of all Taitung’s inhabitants, no matter how big or small.
Take on a quick look around town and you’ll realize barbecues, karaoke singing, clothing racks, sun-drying of fruits as well as roadside pop-up produce stores are an everyday occurrence on Taitung’s intersections and roads.
Makes you think, is that legal? Legality aside, drivers never honk and residents never complain.
Taitung’s lifestyle walks a bit slower than the rest of Taiwan to reap the benefits of the vast outdoors Taitung offers, but with no front or backyard, residents turn to the roads to rest, work, and entertain. Simply put, the roads are mutually understood to be a shared public space, and as the golden rule goes; do unto others as you would have them do unto you, residents will not interrupt or report roadside activities despite the blatant obstructions to drivers.
Even the local animals know how-to live-in paradise: dogs lie on all fours, in the middle of intersections basking in the sun unphased by the pedestrians and cars that go by. You know you’ve reached the apex of the life-work balance when the behavior of dogs and people become indistinguishable—No one wants to disrupt this already perfect and carefree lifestyle and attitude.
Farmers are also no exception—driving cumbersome slow-moving farming equipment up and down roads and sidewalks. Tractors and the sort are supposed to be towed between locations. Farmers don’t feel it’s compulsory and locals know agriculture is at the heart of Taitung, so both parties look the other way. That is to say, Taitung inhabitants are blissfully ignorant of the nuisances caused by others.
Seniors are kings. “Cruising” down the streets in their mobility scooters, taking in the beautiful scenery without a care in the world. With the common attitude of “It’s okay, it’ll only take a sec,” this 17.5% of Taitung’s aged society are our VIPs—Traffic signals are recommendations, not rules, and stopping indiscriminately is their privilege. We will all become old at some point so yielding physically, and emotionally, to Taitung’s elder folk is just the Taitung way. Dare I say, it’s exclusively Taitung!
No matter what walk of life you come from, the only thing that matters in Taitung is that you’re in Taitung. Do as locals: remember the golden rule; adopt a carefree attitude, and you’ll find contentment and will fit right in with the rest of the Taitung crowd.
Now go enjoy heaven on Earth!
Taitung, Trailblazing with 5G,
Taitung has long suffered from a shorter-than-average life expectancy. It also struggles from a lack of medical staff and resources to a large geographic problem. Only through Magistrate April Yao’s ambition, has the Taitung populace seen any change in Taitung’s medical services.
Taitung County has a unique landmass compared to other territories; it is long and straight. Municipalities on the west coast are bumpy circles. The only two major hospitals in the county are in Taitung City. Distance between remote townships to hospitals is often long and impossible to administer timely emergency aid. Consequently, local first-responders are unable to mimic west-coast EMS ops.
The population is also disproportionately located adding to woes—48% of the entire county population is concentrated in Taitung City leaving the remaining 109,000 scattered about in Taiwan’s third-largest territory according to the Taitung County Budget Accounting and Statistics Department.
Insurmountable challenges breed innovative thinking and provide an opportunity to pioneer a solution. Magistrate Yao has just done since taking office.
County medical resources have been persistently lacking. In response, Yao has been adamant about expanding cooperation with other medical institutions. So far, Kaohsiung Medical University and E-DA Hospital have been working with public health centers (PHC) to station doctors at PHCs in remote townships. Moreover, all PHCs are now equipped with 5G, enabling remote medical consultations with major hospitals.
Technology and specialized training have also been introduced to bolster long-distance life support: Mobile Emergency Rooms (MER). Elite EMS teams have been trained to use an assortment of new medical tech ranging from bodycams that provide live video feeds for hospital staff to wireless ECGs that can transmit data instantly.
Armed with more knowledge, deliberate decision-making can take place—using a nearly-instant accurate diagnosis of patients’ medical conditions to evaluate and administer proper and specified medical care. Through MERs, Taitung has increased the pre-hospital life support success rate from 6%, in 2006, to 33.8%, in 2022, according to the Taitung County Fire Department.
Yao has engineered and manufactured the foundation for providing timely medical care regardless of the distance between patient and doctor. Through partnerships and trailblazing implementation of tech has left Taitung a leader in long-distance pre-hospital life support, but also a pathfinder for long-distance medical solutions for the future.