top of page

Building "the" Smart City on Earth

August 16, 2018

Part 1 Humans have evolved and adapted over thousands of years. We have survived and thrived, because of our intelligence and of course, we developed opposable thumbs. Imagine how our lives would be without an opposable thumb.. You couldn't swipe or pinch on your mobile!

(Read more on how Project Soli is succeeding, just because we have opposable thumbs)

On a serious note, I would like to put down my thoughts on how we could build "the" Smart City on Earth.

As I said, human intelligence is unique and superior, compared to any other creature on Earth. But still I wonder, why is there such mismanagement of abundant resources, that leads to poverty, diseases and unnecessary death. What if we can have a structured, defined and set process that can lead to optimal usage of resources wiping out corruption, pain and poverty.

Some may argue, "We don't want to be robots doing what is told. We thrive because we are creative and free to think".

Well, that is all fine, but look at the state we are in. Is this all our creative minds can think of ? A society that is drowning in corruption across most parts of the world. An environment that we leave behind, where we cannot imagine how our children would live and survive. Industrialization has in one way pushed us to becoming robots, doing the same repetitive tasks in your job every day.

Change is necessary. Change is, and should be, the only thing constant.

A lot of new technologies can now enable us to build a new "smart" city. A city, that can sustain by itself with minimal intervention from humans. This leads to transparent and safe environment for all of us. Let us see what and how these technologies can integrate and make a smart city.

First, a definition of "smart" city, as described in Wikipedia.

"A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services."

To build the smart city, the backbone is Internet and applications run on top of this platform. We now see Governments investing billions of dollars, to setup the IT Infrastructure across countries. Be it the NBN in Australia, or 5G services slated to be supported across all countries including India, USA, Europe and China by 2020.

With the backbone in place, that can carry data of 10 to 20GB per second, there will be an excellent infrastructure to support billions of devices including computers, mobile, IoT devices and so on. This surely opens up innumerable opportunities, that was until now not possible. A smart city will be capable of

  • collect data from different and billions of devices

  • advertising and providing the services

  • services talking to other services via common language, enabled by machine to machine interaction

  • continuously monitor and automatically fix any issues on own

  • ensuring 100% uptime of services

Let's start with some of these opportunities. 1. Government services We have the concept of a Government, where a miniscule set of elected or nominated persons represent the public and try to manage a country having millions of residents and hundreds of services. Obviously, this whole concept is fragile and breaks down all the time. An ideal smart city would have the Government provided services digitised, and all services can be managed electronically.

Some of the services and how it can interact with each other. a. Utility Services Imagine a city where, electricity connection goes down. The following happens: i. The IoT sensors situated across the city at a distance of 1km apart, will trigger out events that says, there are two points where electricity is not received. ii. An alert is immediately lodged and an incident raised in the Incident management tool. A CCTV located in the region starts showing live feed, as well as scans through the previous data to find out what happened in that area that caused the outage. Is it because of a tree falling over the lines or someone cut the underground cables while digging the roads. iii. Steps to automatically resolve the issue kicks in via Robotic Process Automation(RPA). This can be a set of drones and robots air dropped on the scene, that goes about cutting down the tree and removing the tree parts out of the incident. iv. If RPA is not able to resolve the issue, next level of support requiring human intervention is triggered. The support person is called in via mobile or messaging app and given information on what has been done to fix the issue.

To be continued ...

5 views0 comments


bottom of page