Award winning manufacturer of IT-based building automation.
|Transcendental Coalescence: In the
Age of IoT and Analytics
A Smart City View
Managing Director Johnson Controls
India Engineering Center
Group Head & Senior General Manager, Data-Enabled Business, and Advanced Product Research
India Engineering Center
In our previous article “How IoT and Big Data are transforming Green Buildings
into Living Buildings” we talked about
this article, we would like to project this concept to the more generic
business environment (A Smart City) and reflect on
we start deliberating on this topic lets first qualify some
Smart City use case of
The United Nations estimates that between 2015 and 2050 the world population will increase by 32%, i.e., From 7.2 to 9.7 billion inhabitants, while the urban population will increase by 63% from 3.9 to 6.3 billion inhabitants. This extraordinary growth in urbanization is already putting and will continue to put a great amount of stress on cities in providing basic services to citizens. We will need cities and megacities, thus spurring the need for more housing, offices, hospitals, and schools along with connected and efficient public infrastructure & amenities.
Both, Rapid urbanization and unplanned growth pose significant challenges for cities by way of increase in demand for natural resources. Currently, even though the world’s cities occupy just 2% of the earth’s land, they account for up to 80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon dioxide emissions. Hence, we need to find smart ways to use our natural resources better and better serve the aspirations of the urban population so that cities grow sustainably.
The word ‘Smart’ by itself is subject to interpretation, and there are multiple definitions of Smart cities that exist in public domain. A smart city is beyond the aggregation of smart buildings. One of the most appropriate definitions states “A smart city uses information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, and sustainability” [Smart cities council 2014]
The aim of a smart city is to unify all the elements and make them work together towards the betterment of its citizens via Transcendental Coalescence. This is achieved by a conglomeration of multiple use cases in action across its citizen diaspora; in a bid to increase productivity, safety, and security while creating an experience of sustainable urban living.
explained in figure 1, there are multiple systems and subsystems in
a smart city eco-system namely
of these aspects is an area of specialization applied to the
building, precincts, municipality and finally to the city level. Thanks
to the continuous evolution of technology, there is a set of the common
underlying theme from a design perspective that helps make the ‘Smart
city’ from concept to reality.
The first step towards the design is the rigorous and meticulous definition of personas and their use cases. The problem statement and/or use cases need to be identified, and solutions need to be crafted accordingly; keeping scalability in mind too. Technology helps to bring the solutions together, but solutions cannot be fitted to a problem. The design consideration of retrofitting Singapore as a smart city vis-à-vis Jaipur (a proposed smart city in India) are very different. Some of the examples are
of technology elements while building the smart city
ecosystem and/or its components is critical. A smart city will be
dealing with a very large amount of data (in petabytes) that could be
structured, or text records of human & machine or video
surveillance feeds or even social media feeds. All this data is
interdependent and needs to be connected and interpreted in the right
context for pro-active and meaningful action. Knowledge of technology
components, the data flow understanding, and allied analytics is a
common lever across the systems and subsystems. Further appreciation
for ‘obsolescence,’ be it electronic hardware or software components in
the ever-demanding need of citizens is necessary to ensure there is a
right trade-off between “future proofing” and “implementation
Technology components for Transcendental Coalescence
Let’s look at few of these technology components. Complete Transcendental Coalescence will require an ecosystem consisting of three main technology components:
Let’s discuss each enabler in detail
2) Cloud, data platform & analytics
success of data strategy and various systems
interconnectivity/interoperability depends on the data platform. While
there is a generic guideline, mostly it depends on the software
architecture of the data platform of the provider. The generic
the analytics side, the data platform should have the capability to
Mobility, Apps, and Visualization
recently, every business problem was looked upon as technology
and cost-saving problem. End-user and his needs and experience were
mostly neglected. Technologies and use case approach need to bring up
the experience for the personas in the ecosystem. The user interface
for the citizen with the smart city needs to be
Challenges in developing Transcendental
Coalesce (Smart City use case):
1. The need for an integrated approach
city is made up of different infrastructure verticals forming a
system of systems. However, such city infrastructure elements typically
operate in silos. Smart cities need an integrated approach in order to
harness the full potential of smart infrastructure. Integrated
approaches are effective tools for capturing the dynamic relations
between people, policies, and environments. Some of the recent examples
made in this direction
the above are individually planned projects. More insights and
increase in overall efficiencies can be obtained by combining them and
correlating data. For example:
Monetization Strategy: Infrastructure ownership
integrated approach leads to other challenges being faced in the
absence of universal accepted Cloud /Data connectivity architecture. At
the pace with which new technologies and protocols are being designed
and proposed for connectivity, there is an absence of standardization
for diverse system connectivity.
The initial cost of IoT is one of the hindrances; Current business models do not provide a mass proliferation of technologies. As the market matures cost, legal, sharing infrastructure business models will evolve to justify first cost and have a pull-through market.
3. Cybersecurity and privacy
leveraging technology brings many benefits, it also creates
significant exposure to security and privacy vulnerabilities which one
need to be appraised of and strategy defined for mitigation.
Sudhi Sinha (VP - Data Enabled Business, Johnson Controls) rightly
pointed in his book “Building an Effective IoT Ecosystem for Your
Business”; below are the must-have considerations while creating
Lack of a smart city visionary and citizen
Finally, every challenge brings new opportunity. The challenge to deliver the experience of an urban quality life, brings a huge opportunity for Cloud, IoT, Mobility & Apps and IT & Data security industry.
Businesses need to be proactive in adopting new technologies, innovate,
make new products and put into action to address the use cases.
It is not important to have interest in the Smart city; it is critical to have a commitment towards it!!!
The views expressed in this paper are strictly of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of Johnson Controls.
About the Authors
Subrata Bhattacharya is Managing Director -Johnson Controls (India Engineering Center). A business leader with 20 years of experience in Building automation and controls industry across building verticals. Worked and led teams/businesses across the spectrum of new construction, building retrofit, service, performance contracting, remote monitoring/ fault diagnostics, products, and solution development.
He is a key patron for implementation of the cloud and IoT strategy of Johnson Controls
Ankur Thareja is Sr. General Manager & Group Head- Data Enabled Business and Advanced Product Research with Johnson Controls- India Engineering Center. He has a career graph spanning over 17 years in Building Controls, Energy Solutions, and Connected Services (Hadoop and Azure-based solutions) . He is a big proponent of IoT, Big Data, and Cloud-based solutions.
He is Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) from Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) by Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO) and an Accredited Professional from Indian Green Building Congress (IGBC).
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