Data connectivity: How IoT can make Indian cities smart

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October 29, 2018 4:45 AM

With cheaper data plans and higher mobile penetration, many more services will be provided through cloud sourcing or a mobile-first strategy.

WinAMR measures power consumption trends in Telangana with its smart meters

Indian cities and villages are set to witness a massive change. Data will be a major catalyst in driving the economy by creating experiences that surpass products and services. The result of such a shift will be smart cities and a smart economy. Connectivity is synonymous to smart cities and the technology that will bring all the services and entities in a city together is Internet of Things (IoT). A number of companies are using IoT in innovative ways to create and implement utility services such as mobility, buildings, watersupply, power, and much more.

“Citizen services are going to see a huge improvement in smart cities. Devices are getting intelligent by the day. To provide some context, day-to-day scenarios such as traffic congestion, parking problems, waste management—from how much waste we dump to how much of it is recycled, and everything else can be tracked, analysed and improved,” explains Keerti Melkote, co-founder and president, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. Aruba’s partnership with the government of Rajasthan in India has led to Rajasthan Sampark, an e-governance platform, to provide transparent and accountable grievance redressal services.

At the recent IoT Congress India conference in Bengaluru, a number of start-ups showcased their IoT work in India. Ali Hosseini, CEO, SenRa, a LoRaWAN network operator for IoT, believes that by using LoRaWAN—a protocol for low-powered devices to communicate to internet platforms—a number of services in existing cities and smart cities can be improved. Hosseini points at his project in Maharashtra where his team deployed 50 water meters during Diwali which clearly showed a three-time increase in water consumption during the holidays. The water management board could then supply the demand and also find where the demand was more and how it fluctuated. His company is working on river water management, offshore communication, traffic decongestion, waste management and driving revenues by monitoring public parking using sensors. Says Hosseini says,“Sensors can be used to track hazards and monitor the health of infrastructure.”

Working with the government of Telangana is WinAMR, a smart electrical metering solutions provider, led by its CMD, JT Rao. “By deploying smart meters we don’t just monitor power consumption remotely but also analyse how our grids can be used optimally,” says Rao. There are around 5000 smart meters in operation in the state of Telangana already.

While many firms are focusing on making the basic amenities smart, there are those which hope to take the vision of smart cities to a different level. Unlimit, a Reliance company for IoT services, envisions connected cars and exclusive curated content streaming services in those cars when technologies like 5G rolls out and mobile penetration multifolds. Juergen Hase, CEO, Unlimit, says, “The services we can provide with data collected through connected devices blur the lines between connectivity, entertainment, safety, security and many such fronts. IoT can drive GDP at a much faster pace.” He also suggests a major shift in manufacturing and logistics by deploying IoT—to make workflows faster, products better and to realise industry 4.0.

What lies ahead for the people of India will be interesting to see, says Santanu Ghose, Aruba’s country head for India. With over 250,000 villages expected to be connected with Wi-Fi, the country is going to be ‘data rich’, he says. Data will create a lot more domestic and overseas services and the services economy will proliferate in the next 10 years. With cheaper data plans and mobile penetration that India has never seen before, most of the jobs will get done through ‘cloud sourcing’ or by being ‘mobile first.’ Individual income levels and GDP will see a significant increase. “So now, the task is nothing but fast and well connected networks throughout the country,” he says, bringing things into perspective for the infrastructure providers.

-Srinath Srinivasan

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