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Smart City

 the Road to Sustainable Eco System

Anish PKAnish PK
 Senior Consultant
 IoT for Buildings

Originally Published

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What is a Smart City?

The Smart City is no longer a concept but a reality now. Yes, it’s already up and running in many major cities around the world on different levels.

Smart City is an ICT enabled Digital Environment where all the major services & establishments are digitalized and connected. They work/operate together to create a safe, secure, clean & efficient planet for the residents and guests of that city.

With the exponential growth in IoT devices & IoT platform, long-range transmission protocols/mediums; more and more devices, equipment, services are getting connected and communicating each other thereby making the Smart City concept a reality.

The network infrastructure is one of the major requirement for having high-speed & huge volume of data transmission and there by accomplishing the smart city solution. The upcoming 5G cellular network and high speed fiber optics based connectivity will help the smart city solutions to get mature and more feature rich in the coming days.

Also, the various data & application platforms which can handle this large amount of data from different sources and in different formats. These platforms are capable of standardizing these data and run analytics to derive near real-time actionable insights.

These platforms can be hosted in cloud/on-premise data storage facilities according to their respective technical & client requirement. These platforms are also providing user interfaces from where the intended citizen/user can access the information and utilize it as per his needs.

At the same time there are many challenges like adopting open & scalable platform, data security, vendor dependency, customization, regulations etc. are affecting the smart city policymakers to choose the right provider from the multiple smart city & IoT platform providers which can fulfill their technical requirement, provide continuous support, optimized subscription charges, futuristic adaptation capability etc.

Currently focused services in a Smart City Solution

The current smart city solutions mainly focus on integrating huge data real time & historical available from various sources and thereby deriving valuable insights into those data and helping different verticals of the city to operate & sustain efficiently.

Focused Services

Command and Control Center

This is the most dynamic entity of a smart city, from where real-time monitoring and controlling of various emergency services are managed. Like centralized video surveillance, network infra monitoring, emergency services like fire, power, disaster management etc.

Integration of various public and private services

This service provides the integration between multiple public & private services like citizen information, vehicle information, insurance information, hospitals, schools, colleges, revenue, tax etc. which helps the city governing body to get collective information & take proactive actions.

Traffic Management

The data collected from different sensors/devices like occupancy & GPS will enable the application to identify the traffic conjunction and help the authority to get alerts to take necessary actions. Also the validated statistical data will help the road transport authorities to design & execute their expansion plans more accurately

Public Safety and Security

The various video surveillance cameras situated at different parts of the city will be integrated to a central video management system and thereby enabling the public safety department to identify unusual incidents with the help of video analytics and take necessary actions

Utility Management

There is a large scope of operational improvement and cost savings by making the utility sector digitalized and integrated. This includes integrating the different sections like generation, transmission, distribution, metering, billing, maintenance etc. of electricity, gas and water.

The data from all of these sources can provide huge information, and the analytics of this data can help to plan and execute different programs to improve the utility sector.

Infrastructure Management

The public infrastructure includes various things like public toilet, bus stops, parks, networks etc. Proper operation and maintenance of these assets can be made more efficient by enabling the various critical data from these assets made available in the platform and continuous analysis of these data will help to generate alerts and reports which in turn improve its quality and life.

Digital Street Lights

The normal street lights are transformed into a digital one by adding Wi-Fi hotspots, LoRa receivers, Occupancy sensors etc. This will help the smart city solution in various ways like helping the connectivity of devices, automating the parking space near to the street light pole etc.

Environment Monitoring

The environment parameter monitoring sensors like air quality, CO2, humidity, water quality, lux etc. will help to understand the environment condition and help the authority to take necessary actions

Waste Management

The sensor data from the waste bins & the GPS data from the waste movement trucks are used to analyze the waste management and combining this information with waste management plant operational parameters will help efficient Waste life cycle management.

Parking Management

The parking sensors installed in the public parking lots and the video surveillance cameras focusing on parking slots area will provide the data to manage the parking more efficiently and economically. Also digitalizing the parking fee with the help of mobile payment app and on-site payment machines will increase the service quality and revenue.

A holistic approach to build a futuristic Smart City Solution

Even though the above mentioned digital services make the urban environment citizen friendly, safe and secure etc. there are still a lot of developments and transformations that can be done to make the city improve its smartness and to become self-sustainable.

Some of the key services/offerings which can add more value to smart city solution are mentioned below:

Key Services 

The major ones are explained in detail:

Connected Fire Alarm Panels

One of the important and lifesaving services of a smart city is connected fire alarm panels. The panels will be connected to the fire department and the respective building authority for taking quick actions during the occurrence of fire. The GPS service will help the fire department vehicles to reach the location quickly by providing assisted navigation as well.

EV Charging & Electric Mobility

The EV charging and electric vehicle mobility support will make a major impact in creating a greener city. For that, there should be more and more EV charging spots its automated metering and billing options.

Smart Kiosks

This is an important end point where most of the smart city services are effectively communicated with the citizens who are the end-users.

Reliable Controls Smart Kiosks will serve as a dynamic interaction medium where multiple data are displayed using dashboard, pi-charts, news feeds etc.

The examples are Energy efficiency Kiosks for Public buildings, Weather reporting Kiosks, Mobility information kiosks, Payment helping Kiosks etc.

Smart Grids and Micro Grids

This will provide the citizen and city infrastructure to maintain a sustainable energy environment. The smart city platform will support the development and integration of smart grids and microgrids thereby enabling the smooth management of power demand, energy crisis, energy outage, energy trading and also to reduce the energy wastage.

Smart & Green Buildings

The transformation of office buildings, stadiums, residential buildings, Expo buildings etc. into smart and sustainable spaces are essential for creating a smart city. This transformation can be achieved by implementing an integrated building management system and enforcing green protocol in the building construction domain. The smart city application can track the performance and growth of smart building and green building by analyzing the critical data from the respective sources and thereby ensuring the transformation.

Smart City Solution Providers - Market Research

It is obvious that you need solid network infrastructure, with a scalable and powerful platform for materializing the smart city solution and therefore, the major ICT and telecom players have a strong presence in smart city space.

As the smart city concept to reality is still in evolving face, the available providers in the market are also at different levels in their offerings.

When we broadly classify the solution providers according to their business segment, they are strong in their domain in providing specific services like scalable video surveillance with sophisticated video analytics or powerful data platform for managing large scale data or strong network presence etc. but a complete package from a single vendor is not yet available.

In this case, having a detailed specification and consulting services the smart city stakeholders like a city governing body can make the smart city a reality with the help of multiple vendors working hand in hand keeping data security and data sharing intact to mould a Sustainable Eco System.

Below mentioned are some of the key players


Reference links for Smart City Projects/Pilot Projects/Solutions


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