The need to build an intelligent city is key. And creating an infrastructural framework around it, is the way ahead. Here’s why:
A ‘smart city’ is the right combination of technology intervention paired with infrastructure. The idea is to utilise the latest IoT (Internet of Things) technology for implementing connected or smart cities, living in which is both, comfortable and enjoyable for the citizens. The end objective of a smart city is to have an intelligent infrastructure that corrects itself, improves on its own and increases the level of automation, thereby making living in cities very convenient and comfortable.
How can we empower the existing systems with IoT?
Energy management: IoT enables the possibility of capturing real-time information from the assets in the energy value chain, right from generation, transmission, distribution and consumption, to achieve higher efficiency and reduce losses of energy distribution. This will resolve issues such as grid security, failure in the distribution network, line losses and overloading and help curb losses, save energy and create an efficient power infrastructure.
LED lighting: The purpose of smart streetlights is to operate when needed and switch-off when not needed, for instance, when the area is empty.
Environment: IoT technology is one of the key enablers for achieving clean environment objectives in smart cities. An estimated 1.59 million premature deaths and a large population with respiratory diseases, are linked to air pollution, every year in India, as per IEA. Cities across the world, are fast deploying IoT-based air quality solutions to monitor and measure the environment to identify the root causes and corresponding mitigation plans.
Architecture: IoT provides integrated solutions to maintain good structural health of buildings. Vibration and deformation sensors, atmospheric agent sensors and temperature and humidity sensors, collectively monitor building stress, pollution levels and environmental conditions.
Safety and security: IoT-driven smart home solutions will make our homes secure from potential intrusion. The technology will also crosscheck the identity of visitors and automatically send alerts to residents and police forces when an intruder is detected. They will also receive a notification at the onset of a gas leakage, fire hazard, water logging or any other disaster.
Traffic management: An intelligent transportation system creates a centralised system from the data collected from traffic cameras, mobile phones, GPS of the vehicles and sensors installed on the roads. With the help of satellite and telemetry data, applications can now help you find the most efficient routes, schedule information of trains, track real-time traffic, enable smart parking and monitor traffic light timings.
Waste management: The simple static garbage collection system will be converted into a two-way communication-enabled waste management system. The sensor-enabled trash containers will send real-time information about the filling level to the collection system. The local authorities can then plan their collection and pick up routes accordingly. This will enhance the efficiency of the waste management system.
Health and wellness: Common citizens, healthcare professionals and patients can avail different services such as lifestyle education, fitness and public health surveillance. They can monitor key parameters like oxygen levels in the blood, heart rate and perspiration without going to a healthcare centre. IoT ensures affordable, accessible and quality healthcare for all. The cities today, suffer from a skewed ratio of healthcare professionals to patients, thus leading to long queues, inadequate attention to each patient and potential fatigue of the doctors. IoT-enabled healthcare systems are now capable of collecting health data from the patients without the presence of doctors.
In conclusion, IoT as an enabler, has the potential to be a gamechanger, create new jobs, and help India leapfrog into the category of developed nations. Also, the benefits can bring about a faster and greater return on investment, thus creating a vibrant and an intelligent economy for future citizens.