A smart city needs better water facility

Cities around the world are growing exponentially in terms of population. This growth is linked with increasing demand for better amenities/conveniences and services from governments and utilities to ensure a high quality life for residents. This is where smart cities come into play. Governments and private sectors are investing huge amounts of money for the cities infrastructure such as smart water, smart mobility, smart buildings (energy efficient), smart energy through smart meters and grids, smart public services and smart integration of systems. However there are enormous challenges to be overcome in the existing scenario when it comes to modernization of age-old systems. It is therefore important to improve the critical systems and infrastructure at a fundamental level while integrating advanced technology. Water being the most critical system of any city, needs to be addressed smartly. It is inevitable that water consumption will go up as the population increases and hence smart water systems are needed to manage this precious resource efficiently. Some Smart water Solutions……. Smart water Network: Since potable water is limited we have to find ways and means of harnessing this resource more efficiently. It is therefore very important that a city’s water system (distribution and management) be sound and capable of being monitored and networked. A smart water Network caters to automated process control and is capable of processing data in real time to harvest information that can be further utilized. Every water management actively creates data, whether it is gathering, treating, or distributing water. This data can reveal valuable information and business insight. The enhanced/automated system controls process in real time which helps to save water and reduces labour cost and controlling water theft, leading to good customer service. Online network optimization: An online network system combined with SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems enable network monitoring. We understand an online network system, but what is SCADA? SCADA is an industrial automation control system which is the foundation of modern industries. SCADA systems deploy numerous hardware and software elements that allow organizations to: Gather, monitor and process data Collaborate with control machines and devices like motors, valves, pumps which are connected through HMI (human-machine interface) software Records events in log file With the use of such systems, proactive decisions can be taken with regards to water quality, leakages and other operational status. This would help cut down electricity bills and increase operational efficiency.   Energy Optimization system for wastewater treatment: Wastewater treatment is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater. The treatment consists of a combination of physical, chemical and biological processes and operations to remove solids and Continue Reading

Mobility- a driver of smart cities

In all cities, every day, people need to travel from their homes to their places of work and back. This is called mobility. The ease and convenience of this travel is one of the objectives of a smart city. Increasing population density in cities is a major obstacle to mobility. We need to apply more sustainable solutions to move people to their various destinations while overcoming the critical problems of traffic congestion and air pollution. Governments, private organizations, big and small business houses are putting their heads together to find long term solutions to overcome these problems/issues. Traffic problems in India are complex primarily because of population density, vehicular density, limited amount of land for development and inadequate transport infrastructure. This problem is compounded by narrow streets, unlawful expansion of shops leading to encroachment on the roads, wayside vendors and hutments/slums. To ensure smooth and comfortable mobility for all, cities need to develop a comprehensive urban transport strategy. Urban mobility or the ease of being able to move from one place to another is at the core of a smart city. In this context the government of India has set up a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) with a vision for desirable accessibility and mobility pattern for people and goods in the urban cluster. It promotes better use of existing infrastructure (i.e. improvement of public transport, pedestrian and non-motorized transport (NMT) facilities) which leads to unification of transport and land use and is vital to building smart cities. This is achievable, with the combined efforts of key stakeholders of the city. The main players being the Development Authority, Municipal Corporation, RTO, and ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) etc. Some of the alternative modes of transport are mentioned below. Metro-systems, trams, trains In March this year, The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) laid the groundwork to roll out India’s first personal rapid transit (PRT) network. The pilot project will connect Delhi to Gurgaon. (Inputs from TOI) A PRT is a pod taxi network made up of small automated vehicles running at close intervals on a guideway with docking stations for passengers to get on the cars and disembark. Metrino-PRT is a new and different form of public transport system. These small, fully automatic, driverless vehicles called pods travel independently. The pods are suspended from an overhead rail and can carry upto 5 passengers. The average speed of the pod is 60 around kilometres per hour. Estimated cost of building a kilometre of Metro costs at least rupees 250 crore and of monorail rupees 200 crore. While a Metrino system can be built with rupees 70 crore. The carriages are light and powered by electric motors and therefore require less energy to run. The financial advantage of having such a system translates into drastic reduction in energy requirement, maintenance and Continue Reading

Harnessing the power of open data for the growth of smart cities

New studies on applications of modern technology suggest that excellence in technology combined with human effort will help create better places to live (smart cities) and this is centred on the effective use of open data. Open data is data that can be accessed, used and shared by anyone. The data could be from governments, organizations, companies, research institutes and big data analytics vendors. Data and data management are crucial and this is where smart cities and the Internet of Things can be merged for inflow of information. Take for example an IoT (Internet of Things) enabled car; the car has sophisticated sensors and chips/components such as GPS, pollution monitors, traffic build up monitors-each transmitting valuable data. If this data is shared/provided to the city, it would help to develop enhanced traffic management and pollution control systems. As against open data, private data comes with its own drawbacks and threats. One threat lies in sharing of   this private data. Therefore a balance needs to be struck between privacy and open data. How do we ensure privacy/security of the individual while using data provided by the individual/consumer devices-such as information given by the car in question. There needs to be some standard agreements between the cities and individuals so that the city can use the data while the individual’s privacy and security are maintained. Leeds, an industrial and commercial city in England is using monitors for aging people so that they can stay at home instead of transferring them to hospitals or care centres. The health service in Leeds is able to monitor people in their own homes through remote sensors. In this way many more aged people can be looked after with the same resources. This is a smart city with smart solutions of connected mobile health. This is yet another example of the use of open data. In Scotland, Glasgow city has created an innovative city data hub. It has unlocked numerable data sources and opened up access to this data. This has been done by encouraging organizations all over Glasgow to provide non-sensitive and non-personal data through the internet. This open access to data has empowered the public, voluntary organizations, private sectors, and academicians alike.  They have fused Open Data and technology to make their streets safer, to generate and save energy and to make people active and improve their health making Glasgow a better place to live and work. Open data is a global movement and it provides new economic opportunities. Many organizations like the European Union Open Data Portal, the British Government’s-Opening up Government and the Global Open Data Index have made large amounts of data about education, health, employment and industry available. The availability of open data helps organizations and governments in addressing societal problems. The number of businesses built on open data is growing at a phenomenal rate. Groups, Continue Reading

Smart villages make smart cities

The concept of building new smart cities and restructuring existing ones has been accepted as a means of growth and economic development for countries. The ideal smart city would be a place that is self-sustaining, environmentally friendly and technologically advanced. India has a huge population and a majority of this number (around 68% as per Census of India statistics) live in rural areas. Constant efforts must be made to bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas. Rural development is crucial, after all cities are an extension of villages. Rural development implies economic betterment of people and therefore is needed for social transformation. This can be achieved if we make our villages smart. To make ‘smart villages’ it is necessary to involve rural people in development programmes. Mahatma’s vision: Mahatma Gandhi had visualized smart villages a long time ago. He believed that a village should be self-sustaining and have everything from food, water, education, sanitation, cloth, electricity, roads, and places of worship, health care, transport, houses, industries and employment. While smart villages hold plenty of promise, challenges go hand in hand. Smart-village solutions would have to be customized according to requirements and strengthened to deal with problems to make them viable. To be able to do so we need to actually look into the various problems of most villages. Some of them are lack of funds, housing, sanitation, electricity, potable water, pastures for grazing cattle, primary and secondary schools, lack of employment, roads and lack of technology. Information regarding government policies has not been adequately disseminated to the rural youth for them to be able to actually utilize the facilities provided by the government.   Few steps in this direction As a solution to the above mentioned issues India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has taken quite a few strides in this direction and has initiated special schemes and allocated funds for the various schemes that will assist in the making of smart cities and smart villages. The information and broadcasting department has planned to increase FM radio coverage from the current 45% to 65% approximately in the next couple of years (around 2.5 to 3 years). This will be achieved by using the existing cell towers and installing digital FM transmitters. A smart move in the right direction. An example of smart solution customized to the scale and requirements of the place. India being largely an agrarian economy can take advantage of foreign direct investment (FDI). According to the announcement made by the government, 100% (FDI) will be allowed through the Foreign Investment Promotion Board route for marketing of food products that are produced and manufactured in India. When productivity in agriculture increases and surplus is accumulated it opens up the prospects of manufacturing and food processing. If the rural Continue Reading