Smart cities are an emerging solution to the question at the heart of converging trends in rapid urbanization and technological advances: How do we build a world ready for the future, today?
According to the United Nations, 68% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. The UN also says sustainable urbanization is the key to successful development. Cities and countries around the world will, in the years ahead, face serious challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations. As our cities grow and expand, we must improve our collective offerings in housing, transportation, energy systems and infrastructure. We must find new avenues for employment and the provision of education and health care. In preparing our world for the next generation of growth and advancement, the technologies powering the smart city movement are set to play a vital role.
Most people, when they think of smart cities, probably think of science fiction; Big Brother’s telescreens in George Orwell’s 1984, or retinal scanners in convenience stores a la Demolition Man. But the reality of the smart city in the real world is far more benign, with an emphasis on technologies that power the infrastructure of the city itself. Even today, smart infrastructure controls our power grids, our water flows and our traffic patterns.
However, somewhere soon, the smart city as we know it today will begin to take siloed systems and connect them, integrating infrastructure around us with our devices, our online data and ultimately our lives. Even at home, smart devices controlled through the internet of things (IoT) are beginning to integrate into single points of control. Imagine that at the infrastructural level.
Although centralized and multifaceted connections controlled at single points of contact may be rare today, smart cities powered by interconnected IoT are the vision of the near future.
Devices connected to the IoT can autonomously perform pre-set actions and can adjust on the fly based on real-world conditions. With smart lighting, for example, failures are automatically reported to the system, and energy production can be more closely dependent on consumption in real-time. Moreover, in our homes and offices, lights left on can automatically dim when ambient lighting is bright enough — to reduce the use of unneeded electricity.
Cities can become smarter, too, with garbage cans that alert waste management when waste-collection is warranted. With more intelligent and efficient routes, garbage collectors can visit only the waste bins that need it.
Imagine the possibilities that could come with our people-driven and interconnected devices and the self-aware objects around us. Thanks to the ever-expanding communication potential between the two, challenges like finding a parking space may become a worry of the past. Today, certain models of cars can find an open spot using ultrasonic soundwaves and drive you right to that open spot in minutes.
Cities around the world are transforming their digital capabilities to improve the environmental, financial, and social aspects of urban life. However, the changes we’re preparing for today will rely on platforms that connect IoT infrastructure and aid efficiency, help data be shared across systems and further flex IT investments tied to smart missions.
With the right digital platforms, for instance, a city could manage the entirety of its smart city operations from a single portal. It could deploy an army of employees, dispatched each day to perform their jobs by intelligent and informed technologies to drive maximum efficiency. Yet, these capabilities are limited today by a historical approach to data.
Since the advent of the graphic user interface (GUI) over 30 years ago, as made popular by Apple in 1984 and Windows not soon after, computers have remained largely the same, with silos in place between programs and information quarantined within. We have historically put this data in this bucket and that data in that bucket. It’s only today that we’re realizing the need for all our data to live in one great bucket. An interconnected future will require interconnected tools, single-source platforms for management and portability of assets.
Luckily, improvements in the area of flexibility and user-definition of need are on the horizon.
Using machine learning and AI, organizations can begin developing databases that understand the data they contain. They can understand, build and disassemble the relationships within that data in real-time based on need, use and changing requirements.
To be safe and secure, data also needs to understand who owns it, who has access to what parts and what limitations to place on its usage. This functionality allows data access from a multitude of different types of programs — for varying purposes — while reducing the potential for a data breach.
The fundamentals of software development and the concepts of user-interaction must change for end-users to gain the most significant benefit from the aforementioned data model. For our smart cities, our smart homes and our smart devices to connect — for each of us to serve as nodes in a greater digital landscape — we will soon be tasked together to build and adopt platforms for all.
The most powerful thing that you can do to see this bold vision of the future come to bear is simple: Get involved. No one organization can solve a city’s problems. Making our cities better places to live and work requires an ecosystem. If we want to build smarter cities, we need to do it together. By establishing a governance and operations model that includes everyone’s voices through public and private partnerships, we’re far more likely to accelerate adoption and ensure that, when we build systems, we do so with the intention to invest in our future — and in our best potential.
It will require tremendous product architecture to realize the full potential and power of smart data on a mega scale. But in the end, the vision we should all share for ourselves and for our world should encompass not just smart cities, but smart lives.
Delhi NCT – Fighting Against The Worst of The Emissions In The World
Currently, the global commitment is to limit the rising temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius which requires ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes’ in every urban sector, as stated by the global warming report by the IPCC. A situation where the temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius will be regarded as deadly and catastrophic, first hitting the millions of the underprivileged people.
The report predicts that India and other densely populated countries that significantly depend on agriculture and fishery will be highly affected due to the high frequency of droughts and floods, sea level rise, and heatwaves.
At present, India’s National Capital Territory of Delhi or Delhi NCT is experiencing severe climate change impact with air pollution being the worst scenario in the city. The city with a population of about 19.8 million is expected to be the most populated city in the world by 2028.
Hence, at this point in time, Delhi NCT is in the position to gain full speed against climate change while taking care of the living standards of the millions of citizens.
It is rather pivotal to see how the densely populated mega urban centre – which is also the most polluted city in India – deals with the climate change phenomenon. The challenges are in fact an opportunity to demonstrate how a city can transform into a smart city!
Showing Efforts Since 2001
In 2009, Delhi NCT began laying out an action plan to fight climate change. However, the action plan was submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in January 2019, after a span of eight years. According to sources, the delay in submission was due to lack of coordination among the city agencies.
But recently, India’s Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that India did not wait for any report to understand the threat and showed all efforts in combating climate change. (my comment – sounds like they were threatened with weather attacks).
To talk about Delhi NCT, the city has one of the world’s most successful smart initiatives to discontinue the use of diesel. Launched in 2001, the initiative focused on switching the diesel-powered public transport system in Delhi to natural gas at the direction of the Supreme Court of India. The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) was also promoting the use of ultra-low-sulphur diesel as an alternative. The initiative was led by the DTC buses which soon became the world’s largest CNG fleet operator. That said, the contribution also came from private buses, taxis and autorickshaws.
Imran Hussain, Delhi’s Environment Minister stated that the recently submitted action plan extended on how the climate over Delhi NCT could change over the next three decades. With that, it also has fixed targets for multiple departments on the goals that need to be achieved by 2030.
Furthermore, the action plan focuses on six vulnerable sectors with energy, transport and urban development predicted to be affected the most. As per sources, Delhi NCT is required to concentrate particularly on water conservation, drainage and energy.
Waste-to-energy Plant Working To Achieve The 2030 Goal
According to estimates, Delhi NCT will be generating about 15, 750 tons waste per day in 2021. This is going to impact the city’s waste-to-landfill disposition system further leading to air pollution and diseases. In fact, 60% of the city’s population is already suffering from respiratory illness due to dumpsites.
Hence, to address these issues, Delhi NCT is working towards transforming the waste management system. The initiative started with the development of Ghazipur Waste-to-energy Plant. The aim is to turn the so-called waste to energy, mitigate GHG emissions and clean the city that will eventually reduce illnesses and promote better living standards.
The Ghazipur Waste to Energy Plant is India’s state-of-the-art facility that was established in Delhi in 2011 with phase one completed in 2014. The plant is helping in creating energy out of the so-called waste and contributing to the nation’s vision to achieve 40% fossil fuel-free energy by 2030.
The facility processes more than 2,000 tons of waste every day.As a result, it generates 12 MW power and 127 tons of fuel which can be used in cement and power plants – as an alternative source. WHAT ? ? ?
The plant has hugely invested in air pollution control devices to stay in line with the European Industrial Emissions Directive. In addition, it has also deployed world-class technology from Siemens, Schneider, Keppel Segher of Belgium, SPIG, and BMH Finland among others.
As per estimates, the dumping of municipal solid waste at the Ghazipur dumpsite will reduce by 90% within 25 years. Apart from converting waste into energy the plant also works towards the betterment of the community. It supports a community centre that in turn provides support to over 200 local women who used to earn a living by picking waste with direct employment, artisan training and micro-enterprise support. PFA
The Ghazipur facility is not just contributing in reducing surface runoff but also reducing the instances of diseases such as dengue, malaria, and other eyes, skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses which are caused due to open dumping.
This waste management infrastructure is exploiting the double benefit by reducing waste and producing energy. At the same time, it is also supporting the local communities. This is a successful project that will be emulated with similar plants in Delhi and other Indian cities.
Converting Waste Into Compost And Fuel
To further speed up the reduction rates of CO2 emissions and move towards a better environment, Delhi NCT is converting municipal waste into compost and fuel.
The municipality of Delhi NCT partnered with IL&FS, Indian infrastructure development and finance company to open a plant that can process waste to produce compost and resource-driven fuel. The fuel is produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste. As of 2015, the plant managed 200 tons of waste each day.
The city has collaborated with the Indian company Mother Dairy to supply the compost to farmers. Whereas the resource-driven fuel is supplied to cement manufacturing plants, aiding in reducing the need to burn coal.
250,000 tons of waste processed at the plant each time reduces GHG emissions that are equivalent to eliminating 1 million cars from the streets of Delhi for 10 days.
Other Notable Smart Initiatives Against Climate Change
Apart from the initiatives mentioned, Delhi NCT has introduced multiple ones at the local level. These smart initiatives definitely inspire other smart cities.
- In 2017, National Green Tribunal of India directed the ban of plastic bags that are less than 50 microns in Delhi NCT. Individuals who fail to comply were to pay some of Rs 5000 (approximately 73 USD) as environmental compensation. Moreover, the city encouraged citizens to use bags made out of jute, cloth and paper.
- From 2016 to 2017, Delhi NCT ran odd and even scheme for private vehicles in the wake of increasing smog. Private vehicles were allowed on the road depending on their license plate number.
- To discourage the use of private cars, the city increased the parking fees by 3-4 times.
- Public transport is being encouraged by introduced better-equipped buses and Metro system.
- The city allows construction activities only in covered and barricaded areas.
- Recently, Delhi NCT banned the sale and bursting of conventional fireworks to reduce pollution. Green fireworks are allowed to be used between 8-10 PM.
There are many more smart initiatives that are introduced depending on air pollution levels in the city. Delhi NCT is one of the megacities in the world. Its efforts are surely going to influence other would-be smart cities in India and the world.
How Smart Homes Can Connect To Smart Cities
As we have already explored the practicability of home automation, it’s time we discuss about where exactly a smart home lies in the connected world of a smart city. The existence of smart home is not limited to the convenience and efficiency levels. Rather, it stands to grease the wheels of a smart city in the near future.
Substantially speaking, the connection between smart home and smart city involves multitudinous applications in diverse sectors. But there is one name that defines this connection unanimously and that’s ‘big data’. What’s so ‘big’ about the ‘big data’? Let’s move on to know more about it.
Smart Home For Elderly And Disabled
Before we move on to big data, it’s important to pay heed to significance of smart home in lives of elderly and disabled. Because there is a strong connection between big data and smart home for elderly and disabled.
Home automation for older adults and physically or mentally challenged people is referred as ‘assistive domotics’. Assistive domotics resembles the same technology and devices employed in home automation for security, energy conservation and entertainment. The difference is that it is tailor-made to fit the needs, safety and security of the elderly and disabled with intricacy and detailed apprehension.
There are two types of assistive home automation systems: Embedded Health Systems and Private Health Networks.
Embedded Health Systems – Microprocessors and sensors are incorporated into furniture, home appliances, and clothing which help in collecting data that is further used to analyse diagnostic diseases and identify health risks.
Private Health Networks – Wireless technology is actuated with all the connected devices to gather important data and store it in domestic health database.
Additionally, the smart home(with both systems mentioned above) for aged and people with disabilities are implemented with emergency help system, accident prevention, security systems and automated timers and alarms. All this together provides a sense of independence, confidence, and comfort to elderly and disabled. They can move around the house without anybody’s support anytime they want. They don’t have to unwillingly shift to a healthcare facility which may be expensive and not as good as home facilities. Moreover, the loved ones can take care of them 24/7 by being in contact with the household automation through their smartphones.
Due to the rising demand in assistive domotics, the industry and creators of home automation are showing considerable interest in developing a better home technology.
The Big Data
Since the genesis of intelligent technology and wireless networking, the significance of data has changed completely. Every device which operates digitally gathers data in large amount. This data is captured and amassed in the main database of a software.For example, the composite health organisations have to gather data coming from different sources on one single platform. This platform would serve them with easily accessible data whenever required. The challenge lies in picking out sensible data and transforming it into executable information which is today known as the ‘big data’.
Big data are massive data sets beyond the size of conventional database software which is used to store, handle and analyse data. The use and reference of big data depends on the sector where it is used. The big data can store information ranging from few terabytes to thousands of petabytes.
Big Data For Smart Homes
As we know that smart home is a set up of connected devices, it is understandable that these devices would gather data involving every minute detail of the house as well as the people living in. The absorption and analytics of this particular data will keep advancing as the smart home devices become more and more sophisticated. Like, the Google’s nest thermostat keeps an eye on you wherever you move in the house at what time and permanently memorises it.The future robot vacuums will know about the dimensions of the house including the flooring in every room. There are plenty of other devices arriving in future which will have the detail about every task you perform at home. All these details will accumulate together and be called big data of smart homes.
How The Smart Home Data Will Connect To Smart Cities
It is self-explanatory that a city becomes smarter when the number of smart homes increase.
At present, the use of smart home data is implemented in customer engagement by different industries. How each industry focuses on the home data solutions is given below:
The Energy Industry – This comes amongst those important sectors where big data solutions can prove to be profitable. The utilities use the smart home data to provide refined information on energy consumption and means by which they can cut down on electricity and the energy bills. This is not just important for a smart home but also for a smart city. As the city keeps gathering more information on energy consumption patterns of the smart home dwellers it is on the road to making new policies and initiatives which can conserve our natural environment, resources and provide better solutions for efficient living.
Digital Hardware Industry – The vendors of smart hardware products are showing interest in home data analytics market by providing free of cost data analytics by their devices. The best example is the Nest company offering an app to the customers(along with device) which give solutions to curb energy usage and change energy using patterns for better living. Likewise, many such devices can aid in supporting a better lifestyle in smart cities.
Health Industry –
Keeping smart home for elderly and disabled(mentioned above) in mind, the data stored at home can be used by healthcare centres to analyse any risks related to health by following the datasets of an individual. Digital health recording and real time alerts can be of great use in emergencies and other major health problems. For instance, when the hospitals have the access to a person’s data, it can send medical assistance within minutes of analysing threatening high blood pressure level in that person. With this, thousands or may be millions of lives could be saved. Conjointly, the datasets available to hospitals can keep a track on how many patients are going to visit the hospital in a given time. This gives the faculty prior arrangement facility for any kind of treatment required. Using big data for healthcare is gaining grounds in the USA while Europe is still in the midway to successfully implement the smart data analytics solutions. One more beneficial aspect is that healthcare industry can favourably become cost effective. With all points considered, the ratio of healthy population will lead to increase in healthy smart cities which is indeed first step towards progress.
Are There Any Risks Related To Big data In Smart Home?
It cannot be ignored that if the data set stored in a smart home is hacked or misused by someone it can lead to detrimental effects. The security breaches of smart home data can make the system vulnerable. For the reason, Europe has strict laws that protect consumer data. But this again prevents the utility industries from adding value services through data analytics.
Privacy and security both matters. Therefore, to fend-off possible risks related to smart home data, it is crucial for the consumers to be aware of how their data is being monitored and used. To secure your smart home use strong passwords that cannot be cracked. Reduce the exchange of sensitive information and pay attention to privacy policies.
Advantages and disadvantages in new ideas and innovations are just like two sides of a coin. But if the coin is spent carefully and wisely you’ll never have to face the disadvantages. The same thing holds good when big data is deployed to bridge the gap between smart homes and smart cities.
Clean sidewalks, safe roads, green parks, pure air. That is the dream of a city in which their inhabitants enjoy walking, jogging, commuting, sightseeing, meeting people at the boulevard. But, what happens when the cities grow at a such unstoppable speed that the dream turns into a nightmare? Why smart cities services need federated access?
Not surprisingly, the tech industry already rolled up their sleeves and today is offering a range of impressive apps, services and devices that seem to solve every possible problem. This is the promise of the smart cities. For instance, a cloud-based service can help control the lights of a large park and deliver both safety and energy savings. Citizens have heard of wonders like this and are starting to use smart cities’ services. Installing a few elegantly designed apps on their phones is easy. Signing up for these services sometimes is a hassle: creating a user, choosing a new password, or selecting an identity to use. And the reality is gloomier if you are the one building smart cities’ services: as an organization or company you must coexist with third party platforms, services or data in order to offer a valuable service. Let us explore now a few of these cases for real.
Today some cities—especially in high-income countries—have the bad reputation of consuming excessive electricity and water per capita. To mitigate this, electricity distribution companies have embraced digitalisation efforts to provide online services that empower customers to drive a change. By means of a mobile app (or the traditional browser), you can monitor and control how much energy your house is consuming. But, what if you want that other residents of your household also access these systems? Easy, with a few taps you delegate rights of using these services to anybody you wish. Now this person is helping you in saving energy, money and making your city smarter and more sustainable. What none of you knows is that in the background the electricity company deployed an identity and access management platform.
A large municipality that aims to improve waste collection has signed agreements to exchange data with two companies. The city administration teams up with two waste management companies who operate in different areas. Waste containers have embedded sensors that send relevant data to determine optimal collection time and frequency. A system integrates this data and allows operators to monitor the neighborhoods based on real-time location of collection points and trucks. The three organisations inevitably share some data among each other, but only what is strictly necessary. When their employees use an interface that shows the pickup points, behind the scenes there is a service that makes this happen. It is a federated access system, a software-based service that enables multiple independent organisations to access each others’ data based on a trust relationship. Additionally, conscious citizens could use a mobile app or a web site to report problems to the system.
In big cities and during the busiest times of the day, an ambulance might spend nearly one hour to reach its destination from the time the emergency call took place. In a smart city, the emergency services can fetch real-time information from the traffic monitoring systems in order to reduce response time. As you can imagine neither health nor emergency services are the ones who install and manage monitoring devices on the streets. Another entity such as the police or the municipality has more incentives and reasons to deploy these services. What’s more, these public services can be subcontracted from a private company. Once this system becomes operational, there will be a network of organisations accessing this information and each participant needs a subset of this data. The emergency services will have access to congestion information but not to security cameras, the police will have access to those security cameras and to speed cameras too, and the municipality might have access to a data set of their own. As things start getting complex in terms of who has access to what, these organisations, both private and public, must establish a federated network.
Technology per se is attracting millions of people to cities worldwide. Today if you are a tourist visiting a new city, you can find “free” Wi-Fi access at airports, libraries, museums, shopping centers, hotels, and even at outdoor areas such as parks and shopping alleys. But there is still an inconvenience. When you connect to any of these sites’ networks, usually each asks you a different requirement: input a one-time customer code, share your email, share your phone number, choose your favorite social media service to log in, or sometimes surprisingly nothing. This is inconsistent, uncomfortable, and it doesn’t bring users a sense of trust. What if you could register to a single identity provider (such as an Internet or mobile provider) so when you move to the next place on your journey, you do not need to authenticate again? This smooth experience (known as “single-sign on”) would bring visitors the feeling that they are walking across a modern, smart city. As in the previous scenarios, all hot spot providers must belong to a common federation. Although the EU has removed the roaming fees, this is still a challenge for a tourist. Especially if you are travelling outside of EU, or travelling within the EU without an EU mobile subscription.
The smart cities revolution brings a plethora of cases like these four (electricity, waste management, traffic monitoring systems and Wi-Fi hot spots providers), which show that smart cities will not succeed without federated access. Public services will massively benefit with federated access, but this will also create fresh opportunities for both private companies and startups. Federation will help this dream come true.
Human beings should live in places where they are most productive, and megacities,3 where information, innovation and opportunities congregate, would be the optimal choice.4 Yet, megacities in both China and the U.S. are excluding people by limiting housing supply. In the U.S., New York City has lost a net of 529,000 domestic migrants from 2010 to 2015, in large part due to its high housing costs.5 In San Francisco, housing production has long failed to match the city’s economic growth, with only 11,000 units added to its housing stock from 2009 to 2015, a period in which the city added over 123,000 new jobs.6In China both city governments in Beijing and Shanghai have reduced the supply of residential land to control population, resulting in reduced speed of population growth in Beijing and population outflow in Shanghai since 2016.7 Why, despite their many differences, is the same type of exclusion happening in these
two countries? The two countries are fundamentally different in land ownership regimes, land use regulations, and urban governance—governments in Chinese megacities monopolize land supply, manipulate land use controls, and centralize decision-making processes to promote growth. Governments in U.S. megacities, by contrast, have been taken over by decentralized local communities dominated by homeowners.
Our comparative study of the homeowner-dominated megacities of the U.S.11 and growth-dominated megacities of China12demonstrates that relying on business and political elites to provide affordable housing is a false hope. Homeowers do not generally look favorably on newcomers to a city who demand housing and public services but do not have sufficiently deep pockets to purchase an apartment. Neither do growth-oriented city governments that control resources and have the capacity to make and implement whatever policies they deem to be pro- growth. This article argues that the growth machine vs. homevoter debate shares the same incomplete framework of urban governance that gives no voice to city residents who own no property or businesses, and calls for citizen-based urban goverance to replace property-based urban governance. The article also furthers that debate by comparing land use controls and development processes in the U.S. and China.
China presents a very different picture of land use control. There, land use regulations are administratively driven.15 The general public has only nominal rights to participate in the zoning process. Land use power is concentrated at the city administration level under the command of a strong city leader. As a result, city governments can make zoning amendments quickly with little input from the public.16 However, the Chinese central government, urban planning officials, professionals, and scholars have exposed significant problems within this “efficient” system, and argued that the lack of public participation is endangering the legitimacy of zoning in China and contributing to an inefficient housing market.17 The Chinese real estate market exhibits a combination of skyrocketing prices in the country’s megacities, which results in the exclusion of middle- and low-income populations (as well as the denial of employment and social opportunities), and housing oversupply in its smaller cities, as symbolized by the numerous “ghost cities” dotting the landscape.18 In this article, we focus on housing shortages in Chinese and American megacities.
The future of the Internet of Things will be ‘EPIC’
Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT) recently released a new paper titled “Driving New Modes of IoT-Facilitated Citizen/User Engagement.” ITU News caught up with Alain Louchez, Managing Director of CDAIT, to discuss the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) for improving lives and building Smart Cities.
Project NEMO started 200 Years after the “Wealth of Nations” from Adam Smith when there were mainly trading (mercantilism) and manual work. One head was enough for 1000 hands. People had little value. Witches were beheaded, workers were less educated and the mean life expectation was around 38 Years.
“Wealth of Nations” was made in and for another Real World and Life.
Following this old paradigms and rules will direct industry and nations back to 1776.
No way to make a BMW with rules and tools designed for making a steam machine.
Project NEMO started from scratch in today’s Real World and Life. Based on present human needs and potential.
It enables new insights and decision options for enterprises and nations to create real wealth.
And it’s compatible to proven classic rules.