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Hà Nội's plan to upgrade public loudspeakers attracts attention

Hà Nội is planning to upgrade its system of public loudspeakers by 2025 through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technology and big data processing technology (Big Data).


A cluster of public loudspeakers in Hàng Đường Street, Hàng Đào Ward, Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội is planning to upgrade its system of public loudspeakers by 2025 through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technology and big data processing technology.

The goal was set under the Information Development Strategy for the period 2022-25 in the capital.

The city will develop a modern and synchronous grassroots information network at the district and commune levels to provide information quickly about natural disasters and pandemics on socio-economic life.

By 2025, localities will use artificial intelligence technology and big data processing technology in the production of radio programmes as well to convert text to speech.

The plan attracted public attention, with some people saying the public loudspeakers are backward and inappropriate. Others recognise the effectiveness of the loudspeakers.

Nguyễn Ngọc Tú, 45, said: “It is unnecessary.”

He believes that as most people have smartphones, information can be updated quickly through social networking sites.

The operation of public loudspeakers is noisy and the effectiveness of providing the information is not high, he added.

Khuất Thu Hồng, head of the Institute for Social Development Studies spoke with to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) online newspaper. She thinks the operation of public loudspeakers is almost useless.

“Hà Nội’s noise pollution is terrible now,” she said.

“I don't know who can hear the public loudspeakers, it's too noisy,” she said.

Besides, as everyone is so busy, they have no time to stop and listen to information from public loudspeakers, she added.

Hồng said in the ward she lives; local police often send Zalo messages to local residents to notify them of the necessary information.

“It’s much faster and more effective than broadcasting via the public loudspeakers,” she said.

Vũ Hoàng Liên, head of the Việt Nam Internet Association, said he thinks information should be provided to local residents through online forms instead of public loudspeakers.

We do not criticise the use of loudspeakers, but should choose a more practical and effective form of information transmission to fit with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said.

In August 2017, Hà Nội issued Project No 5133 to re-arrange the activities of public loudspeakers in communes, wards and townships.

Accordingly, each district only keeps five to 10 public loudspeaker clusters, and each cluster has a maximum of two public loudspeakers. The remaining public loudspeakers are temporarily suspended from operation.

Public loudspeakers in districts of Hoàn Kiếm, Ba Đình, Đống Đa, Hai Bà Trưng do not broadcast daily. They only broadcast if there is an urgent announcement such as a natural disaster, pandemic or at the request of the central government and the city.

Effective, irreplaceable tool

In the meantime, Nguyễn Phương Anh, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Phú La Ward in Hà Đông District, said the public loudspeakers were quite effective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are believed to be the most effective tool to update the information to local residents during the peak of the pandemic,” she said.

The public loudspeakers provided the necessary information, including measures to prevent and control the pandemic; guidelines and policies of the State; and vaccination news, she said.

She also added that most people in the area said through the public loudspeaker system, they gained necessary and useful information related to pandemic prevention and control.

A representative of Thanh Xuân District’s Culture and Information Office said that its public loudspeaker system still distributes information following the guidance of the office and based on the local political tasks, he said.

He added the public loudspeaker system had worked very effectively during the pandemic.

In a related movement, Nguyễn Thị Mai Hương, deputy director of the Hà Nội’s Department of Information and Communications said at a meeting with local press on Wednesday morning that: “Public loudspeakers are an irreplaceable form of information transmission.”

The department is working hard to change the operations of public loudspeakers to make them more citizen-friendly, she said.

Previously, the public loudspeakers were arranged into a large loudspeaker cluster, meaning anyone nearby is polluted with noise, she said.

However, under the new plan, the number of loudspeakers will be reduced to minimise noise, she said.

The public loudspeakers will broadcast information two times a day. The maximum time for each broadcast is only 15 minutes.

The public loudspeakers will not operate at the weekend unless directed by the city authority or in an emergency situation, she said.

Hương also said that even in many advanced countries in the world such as Japan, public loudspeaker systems are still serving the community. — VNS


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