Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Connecting people to their Universe

Eco friendly cities will link up inhabitants to smart devices, businesses, public sector and knowledge institutions.

Unprecedented migration from rural to urban areas has necessitated the creation of smart cities. Their development is perhaps the only solution to the problem of unplanned urbanisation. The new government’s 100 smart cities, for which ` 7060 crore was allocated in this year’s budget, is part of this vision. According to a report by Resurgent India titled Smart Cities, by 2050, about 70% of the population will be living in cities. India will need about 500 new cities to accommodate the influx and smart cities offer a practical tool box to deal with unprecedented urbanisation.

Key Takeaways:
Around 26 global cities and more than 90 sustainable cities are to developed by 2025.
2.) Around 50% of these smart cities will be from North America and Europe.
3.) The smart city market will be valued at $1.5 trillion in 2020.
4.) Out of this share, 38% of projects is likely to be in the smart governance and smart security segments.

What is a smart city?
It's an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate communications and market viability. It's a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents. According to Frost & Sullivan, adoption of the at least five of the eight smart parameters make a city smart. These include: energy, building, mobility, healthcare, infrastructure, technology, governance, education and citizen - all smart.

The Challenges:
Longer time frames should be kept in mind, such that buildings and infrastructure are adaptable, ecological sensitive and intelligent.
2.) A smart city can take 8 to 10 years to build and perhaps even more time to attract businesses and people. Such a long term initiative requires commitment on part of the government.
3.) The success of the cities depends on residents, entrepreneurs and visitors becoming actively involved in energy saving and implementation of new technologies.

What are the parameters of a smart city?
1.) Smart Governance:
Includes policies and digital services from the government that help adopt green and intelligent solutions through incentives, subsidies, etc.
2.) Smart Technology: Connects the home, office, mobile phone, and car on a single wireless IT platform. It includes adoption of a smart grid system, smart home solutions, a high speed broadband connection, and 4G technology.
3.) Smart Citizen: Must embrace smart and green solutions in daily activities. Be proactive in adopting smart concepts and smart products and lifestyle choices.
4.) Smart Energy: Uses digital technology through advanced metre infrastructure(AMI), distribution grid management and high-voltage transmission systems, and for intelligent and integrated transmission and distribution of power.

Smart Mobility: Enables intelligent mobility through innovative and integrated technologies and solutions, such as low emission cars and multimodal transport systems.

Smart Healthcare: Uses e-health and m-health systems and intelligent connected medical devices. Policies encourage health, wellness, and well-being for citizens and health monitoring and diagnostics as opposed to treatment.

Smart Buildings:
Are green, energy efficient, and intelligent, with advanced automated infrastructure that control and manage lighting, temperature, security, and energy consumption independently.

Smart Infrastructure:
Has intelligent and automated systems to manage, communicate with, integrate into intelligent infrastructure: energy grids, transportation networks, water/waste management systems, telecommunications.

“Urban migration and the physical expansion of cities and metropolitan areas are adding immense pressure on energy resources, environment, infrastructure, sanitation, health, public funds and other basic utilities. Cities, world over, are facing issues of congestion and pollution, while steep real estate prices and a lack of access to affordable housing are leading to the creation of a sense of instability. In developing and growing cities, governments are struggling to match the city infrastructure to accommodate the rapidly growing population.

Smart Tag Claimants:
Cities with a declining rate of growth and consequently declining tax revenues are forced to deal with obsolete infrastructure and systems. Therefore, it has become imperative that this issue of urbanisation is tackled keeping in mind the futuristic trends that technology and society are veering towards,” explain Archana Vidyasekar, team leader and Archana Amarnath, programme manager, Visionary Innovation Research Group, Frost & Sullivan. Perceptions of smart cities vary.
2.) Many cities claim the ‘smart’ tag even though most of their initiatives center around green concepts. Cities also launch initiatives to cover all areas with high fibre optic broadband network to become smarter. However, even though all of the above improve things, it is not an exact definition of smartness. There are many sustainable and green initiatives taking place across the globe but cities implementing the changes are often failing to leverage information and communications technology(ICT).
3.) What makes a smart city different from sustainable cities or ECO cities is its emphasis is on creating connections and systems, not only between millions of smart devices present in modern day cities, but also between businesses, public sector, knowledge institutions, and inhabitants of the city.

The Business Models: Build own operate or the BOO model is based on a smart city planner independently building the city infrastructure and delivering smart city services. The operation and maintenance of the services is completely under the planner’s control.

Build Operate Transfer: This model requires the planner to appoint a trusted partner to build the city infrastructure and provide smart city services for a particular area within a time period. After completion the operation is handed over to the smart city planner.

Build Operate Manage: The planner appoints a trusted partner to develop the city infrastructure and services. This partner also operates and manages the smart city services. The city planner has no further role. Most of the public-private partnerships are built on this model. Most of Indian smart cities will be built on this model.

Open Business Model: The planner allows any qualified company or business organization to build city infrastructure and provide city services. Some regulatory obligations are also imposed by the planner.

Funding Mechanisms:
1.) Most services are financed by central governments or cities. However, funding comes via specific funds for urban development/smart city initiatives.
2.) Public-private partnerships are funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies.

City Budgets:
Where smart city projects are self-financed from public budgets in collaboration with central governments or state governments.

Private Investment:
Whereby financing is done through commercial stakeholders, service providers, private investors and venture capitalists.

Source: HT Estates, Nov 29, 2014, Page 08

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