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August 23, 2012

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System makes local residents' TVs 'smart'

THE first thing that retired local housewife Xiao Anli does every morning is turn on her television.

That's how she finds out which grocery store has the lowest price, how long she would need to wait at nearby hospitals and what the traffic and parking conditions are like around her home.

After entering her identity card number, she can also check her medical history and make appointments with doctors at hospitals in the area.

She can also pay utility bills and even shop at a nearby supermarket through the TV, with products delivered to her home in 10 minutes.

"I think the services at a five-star hotel would be no greater than that," the 56-year-old Xiao told Shanghai Daily.

Xiao's family and hundreds of other families in the Gumei Neighborhood of Shanghai's Minhang District became the first local families to gain access to a "Smart Community" network as the district government signed a contract with China Telecom yesterday.

Residents like Xiao who have Internet service need only to connect a set-top box to their televisions to use the network at no extra cost.

The network, which works mainly through the Internet and Wi-Fi, will be available to all 1.12 million residents in the district by 2015 and will be installed across the city in the future, said Fei Xia, director of the Minhang Science and Technology Committee.

"The network is linked to various governmental departments of the district. For instance, the grocery prices will be updated in real time by the bureau of commodity prices and residents' health information will be offered by nearby hospitals," said Fei.

People also may have to see nurses and doctors less frequently as the service has many self-help sections. After scanning their health card, residents can check the results of blood fat, blood pressure and heart tests they have had. The information will be recorded and can be read from televisions at home. They can also scan the cards for information on their medicines and other medical reports.

"Every Minhang resident will have an electronic health record in the future that can be easily shown to doctors when they go to hospital," Fei said.

Surveillance cameras being installed across the community and those along the roads and inside buses also are connected via the network and can be monitored in real time by police, said Zhao Shiying, deputy director of the committee. Traffic information will be provided to local residents while the video footage in communities and on buses will be kept for 10 days by police as a crime-fighting tool, Zhao said.

"The crime rates of the district are expected to decline with the launch of the network," Zhao said at a press conference yesterday.

Now that her TV is connected, Xiao said she is the "information officer" at her home - she provides market prices to her daughter and weather and traffic conditions to her husband every day.


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