Smart Cities Are the Need of the Hour
By Jacob A. Thomas,
Smart technology is challenging, convincing and converting the human ecosystem in a million different ways. Let’s go back a century, technology was emerging to support us, provide aid and thus follow us. Soon an altered technology started walking along with us and not long-ago technology has started ruling our lives. Smart technology today drives Smartphones, Smart TVs, Smart Cars, Smart Grids, Smart Homes and now Smart Infrastructure as well.
A smart city is the development of a region or a city using information and communication technologies to enhance the performance and quality of urban services such as energy, connectivity, transportation, utilities, and others. A smart city is developed when ‘smart’ technologies are installed to change the nature and economics of the surrounding infrastructure. The cloud-based applications collect and manage data in real-time to help the enterprises and residents make better decisions that improve the quality of life.
Building a smart city requires massive investments; it is, however, one of the best possible changes that can be brought into one’s lifestyle. The smart cities are designed for optimum usage of space and resources along with the optimal distribution of benefits. Schools, roads, hospitals, and other public properties improve significantly. Smart city technologies tackle severances of the system saving both money and time. An advancing technology helps one realize and acknowledge their needs to develop their lifestyles and adapt to everyday demands.
Since there existed a scope wherein technology could be incorporated in our daily lives beyond smart tools, today technology is being injected into our lives directly with the growth of smart cities across the globe. The existence of smart cities has improved the quality of life, a level or two higher than what it was earlier. The first idea of a smart city that pops up is a city with smart infrastructure, but a smart city is indeed smarter with the constant influence of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Cities in 2019 can be compared to living entities they grow while becoming more complex over time. While the cities are growing in terms of intelligence, in terms of technology yet the most pressing issue the need for utility improvements and monitoring of crimes fail to be the same. An alarming rate of criminal offences adds on to the urgency to build up a smart city.
With safety and security one of the key worries, building up a ‘safe city’ is the need of the hour, security cameras would not only keep criminals at bay but would work efficiently in managing traffic, tracking the pedestrian flow while informing planning decisions.
An intelligent layer of technological backbone would not only promise security and safety but assure electricity supply, adequate water supply, solid waste management, sanitation and citizens’ participation for good governance forms the base of a smart city. Smart cities are preoccupied with the ability to integrate multiple types of data originating from heterogeneous sources along with voice, video, data, and sensors communication interfaces.
Taking examples from the existing smart cities, it is quite evident that smart cities pose as potential job creators. New-age profiles witness higher growth mostly ICT, e-Governance and Data & Analytics sectors. Whether data is being used for the prevention of crimes, intelligence gathering, public health, surveys or investigations; surveillance will hold a lot of importance for citizens.
Smart cities comprise of IIMS (Integrated Infrastructure Management System) which further includes communication network across the city, optimization of workforces, converged logical & physical inventory, power sources management, citizen sources management as well as Fire management.
A proactive awareness and adoption of security solutions have to be achieved for a successful set up of smart cities. Highly advanced security solutions are advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications, and market viability.
Smart cities are planned to be environment-friendly, there exists a presence of smart devices which can track the purity of air, along with other health-related and environmental factors. A smart city shall therefore only reach a good position if it proves itself against the social and psychological needs of the population.
The Indian economy has witnessed remarkable growth in areas of surveillance. With the emergence of opportunities multiple challenges come along, effective use of data and technology providing the only way forward. Smart cities aim to improve infrastructure while reducing costs, in order to foster innovation to enhance the quality of life.
(Disclaimer: The author is Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Athenta Technologies and the views expressed herein are his own)