By 2050, there will be 2.5 billion more people living in cities, than they are today, across the globe. When the future of mankind looks back, it will see a modern history written by cities!
Cities, undoubtedly offer opportunities & ecosystems to drive growth and innovation, which is why we often call them engines of growth.
India is not untouched by this revolution. The Urban population of India comprises just 31% of the total population, however, it contributes to over 60% of India’s GDP!
For India to be counted among the developed countries in near future, it has to accelerate its speed of development with the help of smart cities.
According to the Smart Cities Council, a smart city is “one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions.” And the policy-makers and civic bodies in metro cities across the globe are looking at technologies and solutions that will help them become one. IoT, GIS, Location-based Analytics, Big Data Analytics are some of them.
Many developed countries around the world are striving to establish their own concept of “smart cities,” even though there is not yet a clear-cut, universal definition. This is driven by the fact that each country has unique needs. According to a Frost & Sullivan report, there are eight elements that make up a smart city: governance, building, health care, mobility, infrastructure, technology, energy, and citizens.
Interestingly, it is not just pervasive mobility, or faster access to information and services that will define a smart city in the coming years, but will also include climate change, and environmental. In fact, energy efficiency, carbon emission reduction, pollution, renewable energy will drive the city governing agencies to look at technologies that will help in energy sustainability, resource management, and smarter resource consumptions.
The governance bodies in cities will start by deploying location-based analysis, Big Data Analytics and IoT. Bettina Tratz Ryan, research Vice President at Gartner, says that IoT technologies, and real-time data analysis in a contextualized way will augment smart city development across the globe.
In fact, Gartner report shows that when a city is trying to become ‘Smarter’, the first thing it is looking at is traffic, transport, mobility and daily commute. “Major world cities have adopted traffic and mobility objectives to resolve or mitigate the traffic congestion issue with IoT-enabled smart city solutions, but urban mobility does not stop at a seamless choice that consists of moving from A to B. The uptake of ride sharing, the electrification of public transportation, the support infrastructure for e-vehicles and congestion charging for combustion engines, all of those examples are driving cleaner air, producing fewer GHG emissions and saving energy, while improving the noise levels and ambience on streets,” says Tratz-Ryan.
Moreover, the civic bodies in cities will slowly have to phase out incandescent streetlights and adopt green-tech that will enable intelligent streetlights that use less energy and work on natural energy sources. This development will also have a further impact on the development of smarter public and private buildings. In fact, energy efficiency, sensor-led lighting, and heating solutions will be very important. Experts in this industry suggest that buildings should start implementing integrated business management systems (BMS) and IoT for lighting, heating, and cooling of buildings and intelligently manage water and energy usage. “Implementing an integrated Business Management System (BMS) for lighting and heating and cooling can reduce energy consumption by 50 percent. Companies that implement a smart LED’s lighting system could realize a 60-70 percent saving. By integrating the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system with occupancy and building utilization savings close to 50 percent can be achieved,” explained Tratz-Ryan. This will also help the cities their carbon footprint and implement emission control.
Sensors will become a critical element and are at the heart of IoT devices. According to Gartner, in 2017 around 380 million connected things will be in use in cities to deliver sustainability and climate change goals, and this figure will increase to 1.39 billion units in 2020, representing 20 percent of all smart city connected things in use. In 2017, use cases in smart commercial buildings and transportation will be the main contributors, representing 58 percent of all IoT installed base in smart cities.
For example, KONE, the leading name in escalators, elevators, intelligent doors and turnstiles is using using IBM Watson IoT Cloud Platform to connect, remotely monitor andoptimizee its management of millions of elevators, escalators, doors and turnstiles in buildings and cities worldwide. According to Henrik Ehrnrooth, President & CEO of KONE Corporation, this will help buildings become smarter, and enable remote management of issues making management more efficient. “As buildings get taller and taller with the capacity to serve tens of thousands of users simultaneously, there is increased pressure on elevators and escalators to keep people moving smoothly. We operate in a connected world and by working with IBM, new solutions like remote diagnostics and predictability means we will deliver even better services to our customers, and great experiences for the people who use our equipment,” he adds.
The system analyses vast amounts of data from sensors embedded in equipment helping identify and predict issues, minimize downtime and personalize the experience for users. Talking about this Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, says, “Efficient, people-centric cities and buildings are better for business, societies and economies. Central to this is how people move around within them and intelligent systems are poised to make their experience more convenient, intuitive and enjoyable. With IBM’s cognitive IoT technologies, KONE is embedding intelligence across its operations and driving a wave of innovation in smarter buildings.”
Smart city moves in India
India as a country has a huge need to adopt smart city initiatives, simply because the number of people moving to the cities is growing immensely, and the infrastructure in these cities are under tremendous pressure. It is estimated that by 2050, the number of people living in Indian cities will touch 843 million. Cities will need smarter ways to manage complexities, reduce expenses, increase efficiency and improve the quality of life to accommodate this rapid urbanization.
The Indian government has already realized the importance of adopting solutions and services that will make the cities ‘Smart’ and living more efficient and sustainable. Currently, there are two flagship schemes that have been launched to make the cities more liveable – 100 Smart Cities Mission and Urban Rejuvenation Programme for 500 towns and cities.
The total number of 100 (The list has been revised to 109 cities) Smart Cities has been distributed among the States and UTs on the basis of equitable criteria. In fact, the first 20 of the shortlisted cities, have already started work on their smart city concept and technology deployment. The list was announced post the ‘Smart City Challenge’ the Smart City Council in India had announced some time ago. This is as per the global trend where the governments are taking a lead in pushing the city councils in each state to adopt smart technologies and make living efficient, and sustainable.
IBM is hosting an event called ‘India onward’ on the 9th of December in New Delhi, which will discuss and celebrate some of the early successes of Digital India and the enterprise startup ecosystem. The rich lineup of speakers includes the likes of Sri Jayant Sinha, MoS for Civil Aviation and Vir Sanghvi, a notable journalist, and a media anchor amongst many others.