Building- automation systems, dynamic electricity pricing, and mobility applications — can cut emissions by 10 to 15%
By KS Rao
Half of the world population, ~3.5 billion people, live in urban setup today and by 2050, >70% of the world population is predicted to live in urban settlements. But is our present infrastructure resilient enough to respond to the demands of such an exorbitant population surge?
Rapid urbanization is exerting immense pressure on our environment - freshwater supplies, sewage, and public health. Global cities occupy just 3% of Earth but account for ~75% of energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Smart City is the one of the most critical steps towards providing a digitally empowered, sustainable infrastructure to all citizens and households at urban level and deserves top most priority.
Cities are becoming more sustainable
The majority of cities worldwide have now recognised the importance of achieving environmental sustainability. Across the globe, nations and cities with robust and reliable digital networks have been able to establish technology ecosystems to mitigate environmental concerns:
- London is advancing towards sustainability through efficient waste management, air quality monitoring, pollution mitigation measures, and noise reduction policies.
- Electric buses are increasingly being used for public transportation in Seoul. It is also concentrating on expanding green spaces.
- Dubai uses solar energy to generate a major portion of its electricity. It uses separate drainages for grey and black water, allowing for better wastewater management. The city is also heavily investing in developing infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Indian cities can draw lessons from these cities to achieve sustainability goals. Smart city infrastructure can enable efficient ways to tackle air pollution, waste management, and energy efficiency in Indian cities.
India needs to invest more in strong connectivity infrastructure and an open-source application ecosystem. Cities must push for efficient resource usage, from installing sensors to identifying leakage to employing behavioral economics to make informed resource decisions.
Leveraging digital technology
A robust infrastructure comprising connectivity, smart technologies, and applications -- such as building-automation systems, dynamic electricity pricing, and mobility applications -- can cut emissions by 10 to 15%. Sensors with analytics can cut water losses by up to 25%.
Digital technologies like IoT and Big Data can be leveraged to disrupt and redefine sustainable living:
- Smart Grid - To ensure a reliable power supply, virtual power plants and enabling renewable energy resources, such as solar panels, can be connected to a network. On the smart grid, these plants use software-driven technology
- Smart traffic management - Emissions from vehicles lead to high concentrations of air pollutants and the negative health impact is huge. Using intelligent software solutions for transport logistics, traffic planning, and traffic management can enhance road safety and minimise the impact on the environment
- Waste Management using smart waste bins
- Sewage treatment for converting treated sewage in form of water
- Water conservation by recharging the water table through rainwater harvesting
Approach for a successful smart city model
The key focus of Smart cities is connecting infrastructure to gather better insights and improve services and quality of life.
We recommend taking the following approach while designing and developing a smart city model:
Taking this holistic approach will help cities achieve a smart transformation.
KS Rao is Group CCO, STL