These are the challenges India needs to address while building environmentally sustainable cities that thrive on IT.
It’s been a couple of years since the Government of India announced the smart cities mission aka Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for transforming 100 cities into smart cities. The government has approved Rs 98,000 crore for the transformation project and chosen 20 cities, mostly Tier 2 cities, for the project, which will be competitively funded based on the improvements they show across various parameters. The government is expecting to see the results of transformation by 2022. The tasks for the government and city administration are well cut out and they can emulate other smart cities around the world that are deploying IT for smarter management of public utilities and urban infrastructure. Here are a few solutions the smart cities initiative can consider.
Intelligent traffic management
Indian cities are getting increasingly crowded and few cities have developed traffic management systems that are data driven and ensure a smooth traffic flow. Cities like Copenhagen in Denmark are experimenting with traffic management systems that will have the capability to reduce pollution. Considering the deteriorating air quality in our cities, this might be the way to go.
Deploying analytics to reduce carbon footprint
Commercial establishments and factories in Indian cities are major power consumers and contribute to almost 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Getting actionable insights into energy use of these establishments through prescriptive analytics can help reduce power consumption considerably.
IoT and sensors for more efficient waste management
Swachh Bharat is a major government initiative, but garbage collection and waste management in most Indian cities is still primitive. It’s only lately that city corporations have started learning to separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. By deploying sensors and IoT solutions across waste collection areas corporations can gather and analyse data for more efficient and cost effective waste management.
A smart grid for utilities
Creating a smart grid for utilities like water supply and electricity will help city administrations leverage big data to analyse usage patterns and prevent leakage. Considering that power theft and water wastage is rampant in Indian cities, this is one area that will benefit immensely from the use of IT.
Public safety and security
Many Indian cities today already have CCTV camera based surveillance. But the police is using these only reactively, mostly for detection after a crime or violation has taken place. Analysing and identifying areas more prone to crime and improving surveillance and enforcement in those areas can significantly contribute to public safety and crime prevention.
Building laws need to change so that both residential and commercial buildings incorporate smart systems that could include sensors, M2M technology driven smart power meters, waste management sensors and IoT systems among others.