What is Smart City!

Smartness in a city means different things to different people. It could be smart design, smart utilities, smart housing, smart mobility, smart technology etc. Thus it is rather difficult to give a definition of a smart city. However, people migrate to cities primarily in search of employment and economic activities beside better quality of life.

Elaborating the Concept of SMART City

As  we  gathered  from  earlier  articles,  SMART  City  is  a  Process.   Like  Humans,  there  is  no  finality,  but  rather  it  keeps  on  evolving.   As  populations  around  the  globe  increase,  rapid  urbanization  spreads  too,  and  due  to  which  governments  have  to  accommodate  and  facilitate  these  large  numbers  of  people,  in  an  organized  and  well  planned  manner  with  the  systems,  resources  and  knowledge  available.   Ninety  per cent  (90%)  of  world’s  population  growth  is  expected  to  occur  in  fast  growing,  advancing  and  under  developed  economies. Information  and  Communications  Technologies (ICT)  and  Green  Initiatives  &  Practices (GI&P)  are  the  Core  and  the  lifeline  of  the concept  of  SMART.   Lately,  Artificial  Intelligence (AI) is  also  considered  by  experts  to  positively  contribute  to  the  concept  of  SMART.   These  three  elements  are  critical  to  lay  a  strong  foundation,  for  a  Sustainable  SMART  City. There  are  four  pillars  of  a  SMART  City,  namely,  Physical,  Economic,  Institutional  and  Social  infrastructures,  upon  which  the  SMART  City  framework  is  built  which  provides  and  facilitates  all  services  to  its  citizens  in  a  swift,  easy,  safe,  transparent,  user  friendly  and  precise  targeted  manner,  thus  greatly  improving  the  quality  and  way  of  life  for  its  citizens,  the  health  and  thus  the  longevity  of  life,  of  the  citizens,  increasing  efficiency  and  productivity  on  all  fronts  and  of  all,  while  reducing  costs  and  benefitting  in  savings  of  time,  money  and  efforts. The  concept  of  SMART,  can  be  implemented  in  any  one  or  more  or  all  areas  in  a  city,  depending  on  the  needs  and  requirements,  the  resources  available,  and  the  capabilities  and  capacities  of  a  city.   A  city  can  opt  to  become  SMART,  gradually  and  step  by  step,  in  selected  areas.   An  ideal  SMART  City  can  be  broadly  categorized  and  implemented  in  following  areas  of  a  city : Building Construction  and  Management Roads, Transportation,  Traffic  and  Parking  Systems  and  Management Energy Systems and  Management Water Systems  and  Management Waste Water  and  Solid  Waste  Systems  and  Management Safety and  Security  Systems  and  Management Education Healthcare  and  Human  Services  Systems  and  Management City Governance  Systems  and  Management Communications Systems  and  Management Home Systems  and  Management Computing, Monitoring  and  Data  Analytics  Systems  and  Management Studies  establish  that  this  ideal  SMART  City  infrastructure  and  systems  last  upto  one  hundred  and  fifty  years.   This  brings  us  to  the  question  of  financing  to  create  an  ideal  SMART  City.   Certainly,  as  the  proverb  goes,  ‘to  reap  the  fruits  of  anything,  one  needs  to  put  in  Continue Reading

IOT for Smart Agriculture

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FOA) predicts that the global population will reach 8 billion people by 2025 and 9.6 billion people by 2050. In order to keep pace, food production must increase by 70 percent by 2050. To be able to fulfil this crucial need we need to first look into the various challenges of the agricultural sector. Some of the challenges being, limited amount of arable land, climate change, limited amount of fresh water, and the price and availability of energy. In order to counter these challenges the Food and Agriculture Organization recommends that farming sectors should be equipped with tools and techniques and digital technology. Technological developments have led to the building of smart cities. IoT is one such technology which is already being used in the development of smart cities. This IoT technology can now be used to do smart farming or precision farming. The Internet of Things (IoT) is gradually transforming the agriculture sector by providing new methods and enabling farmers to contend with the challenges they face. The IoT is based on technologies such as GPS services, sensors and big data, and ICT- based support systems backed by real time data. The IOT based system gathers data, analyses it and provides appropriate responses to the information received. This can provide  information concerning various aspects of farming which was not possible previously. Such information enables the farmer and gives him a better understanding which would help to him to take smarter decisions resulting in, less wastage and maximum efficiency/productivity in farming. The Internet of Things helps in increasing crop productivity by way of managing and controlling farming activities such as the following: Water Management: Water is the basic requirement for farming and its adequate supply is crucial for crops. If water is in excess, or scarce, it could have adverse effects or practically destroy crops. Water management systems provide a solution to manage and control water supply for crop irrigation. The system is able to analyze the water requirement of the crop and controls the supply of water thus providing just the right amount and saving the precious supply of water. The irrigation system is connected with sensors and valves which operate timely without human intervention. Weather forecast systems/Climate monitoring and forecasting: Accurate and timely communication of real time data through weather forecast systems can help farmers to plan agricultural processes such as plantation, harvesting, availability and cost of labour,  well in advance. Pest management/control: Very often crops are destroyed by pests due to which farmers suffer huge monetary losses. To prevent or control pests to a large extent, the agriculture IoT has systems that monitor, scan, identify and track the environment and plant growth. There are pest control sensors that use the scanned data to predict pest Continue Reading

Smart Street light reduces power bill of Municipal Corporation

Street lighting is a very important public service provided by public authorities at the local and municipal level. Good lighting is essential for public safety, road safety, and overall ambience of a place. Street lighting ensures visibility in the dark for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, thereby reducing road accidents. Street lighting also indirectly facilitates crime prevention by increasing safety and security of people and property (private and public). Good street lighting effects can boost and add to the appeal of a city. Some problem areas However, many street lighting facilities are old and outdated and therefore not efficient. This leads to higher energy requirement and high maintenance too. For municipalities with such outdated systems, street lighting can account for around 30-50% of their entire power consumption. For example, in India most of the street lights are sodium vapour lights, metal halides, and some CFLs. An estimated 20 to 40% of the energy produced in India goes into the lighting of street lights. Although, with the rise in solar technology, solar powered streetlights are also seen in some areas now. In the current lighting situation there is no baseline data or system which provides information regarding faulty lights. Electricity theft is another problem area and as of now there is no particular method of finding out the amount of electricity consumed by each light. Thus there is no specific way to determine if there is a leak somewhere in the line. Despite electricity shortage, it has been frequently observed that street lights are working/on, even during the day. This is wastage of electricity. It could be due to human error or negligence. However, in the end, the financial burden lies on the municipal corporation. Suggested solutions Since streetlights are such an essential part of every city, supporting people and businesses with safety, security and convenience, it would be better (financially and environmentally) if we could use our street lighting network in a smarter, more intelligent way rather than the current on-off system. All parts of the world are now converting to energy-efficient LED street lighting, which is brighter and more adjustable. LED lights have two key benefits- energy efficiency and long service life. As a longer service life means considerable reductions in maintenance costs. Intelligent/smart control systems create additional savings potential as the street lighting level can be adjusted (reduced or increased) in line with requirements, thus providing substantial energy savings. Automated control and monitoring system provides better functionality and efficiency which helps in tracking energy consumption. Smart street lighting technology can provide detailed analytics that would be helpful in the execution and maintenance of street lighting. Smart street lighting solutions (IoT based analytics and remote monitoring) will empower municipal Continue Reading

Smart city- Battery operated vehicles for less pollution and other advantages

It is known that conventional vehicles produce a lot of carbon emissions that get ejected into the atmosphere. This causes severe pollution and is also one of the main causes for global warming. Smart cities need to make reforms towards energy and transport model for both, private and public alike. This would minimize environmental and acoustic impact of transport, improve air quality and thus improve citizen’s quality of life.One of the leading smart city initiatives involves controlling pollution in all its forms. This can be done by reducing the number of gasoline vehicles on the roads and replacing them with battery operated/electric vehicles. The use of Electric vehicles (EVs) or battery operated vehicles are seen by governments as an alternative to conventional vehicles and are instrumental in cutting down emissions and thereby reducing global warming.To understand how EVs are better and produce far less pollution than their gasoline counterparts we need to look into the lifecycle of vehicles (from manufacturing of the vehicle’s body and battery to its final disposal/reuse).  Each stage of the manufacturing process is linked with carbon dioxide (main cause of pollution) and other greenhouse gas emissions. But the emissions differ in gasoline powered vehicles and battery operated vehicles during the manufacturing process.The main component that distinguishes an EV from a gasoline vehicle is its battery. Since electric vehicles store power in large lithium-ion batteries which are material and energy intensive to produce, their global warming emissions at the manufacturing stage usually exceed those of conventional vehicles.These differences in emission at the production/manufacturing stage change as soon as the EV hits the road and the environmental picture starts to improve. In other words, the extra emissions associated with EV production are rapidly negated by (reduced) no emission from driving as against the gasoline powered vehicles which emit carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere.Advantages of an electric vehicle/battery operated vehicle:No gas requirement: Electric vehicles get power from batteries that are installed inside the car. The battery provides power to the motors for the vehicle to run and also for other functions like lights, wipers etc. The batteries are powered by electricity. Since these vehicles are charged by electricity you don’t need to buy expensive gas (fuel). Driving conventional fuel based cars is getting more expensive day by day as fuel prices are going up. It’s not that electricity is free but it is cheaper than gas and hence electric vehicles are cheaper to run.Size matters: Unlike the earlier versions of EVs which were only two seaters, vehicle manufacturing companies now offer 4 to 5 seater vehicles. Besides this, these vehicles also have autopilot features with good mile-range.Money smart: To save the fragile environment from further degradation, governments are now alert and aware and offering Continue Reading