India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is set to become a global superpower soon. The rapid development of the India’s economy has resulted in majority of it’s young population migrating to cities putting huge pressure on the existing urban infrastructure. To address this the Government of India has launched the Smart City Mission – an urban renewal and retrofitting program that aims to develop 100+ cities across the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable.
Smart City, by definition, is a set of communities that are building infrastructure to continuously improve the life of their residents by harnessing the growing data revolution. A smart city is considered smart due to its inherent intelligence in dealing with its resources and environment by harnessing the potential of Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).
While in India most of our towns and cities have grown haphazardly, we still have opportunities for implementing new technologies to make appropriate amenities available to city dwellers making urban living convenient, cost effective and environment-friendly. IoT is already being used to develop smart parking solutions, smart street lighting systems and smart environment sensors. These areas are likely to witness rapid growth in 2019.
As more and more people move to cities, parking- which is already a massive problem is only going to get worse adding to traffic woes and pollution. Fortunately, using IoT we can equip parking spaces with sensors that will help government and Users track parking occupancy and availability of parking spot in a particular designated parking area. All the parking lots of the city can be further connected with the city navigation system which can help drivers find the nearest parking location.
The smart parking system works for both on-street, off-street and covered parking spaces. It comes with prepaid or post-paid payment options and allows variable and demand-based parking fees. Some Indian smart cities like Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Bhopal, Kanpur, Rajkot and Nashik have already started implementing the smart parking system. In 2019, we will see many more cities following the cue to establish IoT enabled smart parking system.
This smart parking system optimizes usage of the available parking space and enhances the overall functioning of streets in the city. The system employs IT as the backbone to facilitate greater transparency and efficiency in the collection of parking fees and making parking operations in the cities more organized. This also increases the revenue potential for the municipalities. Users pay for parking their cars on designated Municipal corporation land, and in turn get the convenience of citywide parking app for advance online reservation, route guidance to available parking areas& spots and hassle-free correct digital billing options through credit/debit card, pre-paid city cards, e-wallets.
Smart lighting system & smart poles
Street Lighting is critical to any city however the traditional system is high on maintenance and energy consumption. IoT enabled smart lighting systems are a huge improvement over the traditional system allowing lighting failures to be automatically reported back to the system. Smart Street lights can be retro-fitted and require no wiring. Lights automatically dim depending on the time of the day or lit up on detecting human presence, ensuring efficient use of energy and much lower CO2 emission.
Smart pole is a concept being introduced for the first time in India to make the street light poles as multi-utility poles. They have a highly secure system that prevents and alerts thefts. There are multiple cutouts on the pole enabling the third-party equipment to be hosted on the pole. Smart poles also offer flexible networking option for equipment enabling the use of different mobile networks. These poles have automatic temperature management within the enclosure and the enclosure can be placed either on the ground or under the ground. The Smart Luminaires on the Smart Pole can use existing Smart Lighting network infrastructure or its own network for communication to the Command Centre. These devices can be located on various map sources including Google maps with hierarchical browsing. Smart poles will contribute for major revenue for municipalities while providing better street lighting for cities.
Under the smart city mission, Bhopal has launched one of its kind public private partnership (PPP) based smart poles and intelligent street lights project. We anticipate a huge demand for smart lighting solutions in the future.
Smart Environmental sensor systems
Environment Pollution is taking a toll on city dwellers in India. Smart environmental sensors can be placed around the city to continuously monitor critical environmental parameters like temperature, CO, CO2, O3, NO2, SO2, PM, toxic gases, electromagnetic field, UV Energy, noise, Rainfall, Wind Speed, combustion gases to detect fire and so on. Analysis of this data can give insight to critical environmental conditions for a city administration to react immediately.
The Central Environmental Monitoring Server collects sensor data from multiple locations and displays it on multiple remote multi-line LCD display unit. This helps the citizens to know the pollution levels in their area. The sensor data can be backed up and stored forever so that all the logged historical data can be accessed and analyzed to predict future trend. It calculates and displays IND-AQI, as described by CPCD, and generates multiple graphs to show the trends. It can be configured to send alerts and notifications to the registered users whenever any measured parameters cross the threshold.
In conclusion, it is time for us to leverage IoT, AI and other technological tools to build new smart cities and transform the existing ones to unleash their true potential, and more importantly to improve the living standards of city dwellers. Connected technologies like smart sensor networks, smart poles, smart parking and IoT are crucial to smart city living and are likely to witness wide-scale implementation in the coming years.