Global solutions to make cities smart

The two most repeated words in recent times are ‘Smart Cities’. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned these, there has been a buzz about the concept of ‘smart cities’. On one hand is the vision of city planners which is challenging new heights of architectural dreams and on the other are the dreams of Indians to experience ‘quality living’ in their homeland.

Wouldn’t you want to live in a place where there is 99.99 per cent electricity and water supply and the roads never face traffic congestion?

“A smart city should be a city first,” says Aniruddha Hajare, assistant vice president-marketing, Lavasa Corporation Limited at the ‘Smart Cities India 2015’ expo, held recently at Pragati Maidan. His statement at the second edition of the exposition becomes a crucial point of discussion as various players exhibit their ideas for the smart cities.

Hajare adds, “Smart planning, smart implementation and smart management are the primary requirement requisites of smart cities. When we started working on Lavasa in 2005, the word ‘smart city’ wasn’t known much and now everybody is talking about it.” No wonder students pursuing higher-education in different parts of the world visit this city near Pune, to observe and study its planning.

It is known that Manesar, near Delhi, is being developed as one of the 100 smart cities. But for the National Capital to become a smart city, proper allocation of electricity is crucial. “We have developed a software for Advance Distribution Management System to provide reliable quality power supply 24X7,” says Maneesh Tevatia, solution architect - smart grid at Schneider.  

During their research, the company found that the 99.99 power supply is available in Singapore and “to our surprise, Mumbai comes second in the list. Power cuts in Mumbai are almost nil and typically back in 30 seconds. The average power cut in Mumbai is less than 10 minutes and not more than three times a year,” informs Tevatia identifying that in Delhi, there is less-generation of electricity.

“Our software keeps the same in mind and once installed, it analyses the network and monitors everything. One fine day, it will provide a network reconfigur­a-
­tion that will help balance overloading and shortage of power. To add to this, it will also control voltage. Nobody at this point is talking about quality of power because there is shortage of supply; in Europe, if there is a voltage fluctuation more than the permitted five per cent, the power company has to replace any loss of electrical appliances.”

The talk of smart cities is incomplete without incorporating discussion on transport. “In a place like Delhi, what we have seen is the unavailability of options for last mile connectivity,” says Anil Arora, country head of Clean Motion that is all set to roll electrical autos – ZBee on Delhi’s roads.

Arora explains the clusters that his team has chalked from Malviya Nagar Metro Station to DLF Mall in Saket. “Once charged, these e-autos can run for six to eight hours and a full charge requires just 20 minutes. Also, we are providing the option to pay for the ride and availability of a vehicle, through a smartpho­ne app,” says Arora as one recalls the green e-rickshaws that were introduced on the same lines and added to the traffic congestion rather than reducing it! 

In between the basic amenities, there was also a display of ‘Fire Retardant Paint’.
“When fire breaks, the top coat of any structure is the first to catch fire. We have come up with different paints for different surfaces which inflate like a balloon when brought in contact with fire and buys time for people to vacate the area,” informs Sudipto Mukherjee, senior business development manager at Berger.

While the interior and exterior is taken care of, there comes the need for smart technology for digital purposes. This is approached in a mechanical way by Wacom tablets and computer screens – capable of converting handwriting into type-format.
Vikas Jaiswal, regional sales manager – north, Wacom shows a quick demo and adds, “Our signature tablets are already being used by the Land and Revenue Department in West Bengal and at Delhi High Court.” This comes across as an initiative of the government to adapt to changing times.

If so advanced are the technological developments then why not dream big?   

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