At the recent CityNext 2017 – Automation and ICT in Smart Cities symposium in Bangalore, India, the theme was automation, information, and communication technologies that play a vital role in the development of smart city solutions. It featured next-generation technologies and solutions for the effective and efficient management of city infrastructure such as water and waste, energy, mobility, and environment.
Some of the futuristic smart city technologies that were highlighted in the event were IQ Street Lights by Current, a subsidiary of GE, and video analytics software by AllGoVision. IQ Street Lights are streetlights that are fitted with several sensors and cameras on the streetlight poles that help ensure uninterrupted monitoring of city operations as well as offer various features such as vibration and motion sensing, audio and video recording. The data collected from these smart streetlights help the administering body monitor the crowd and traffic flow, detect parking vacancy, and improve weather analytics effectively, thereby improving the operational activities of the city as a whole. At present, GE is installing approximately 14,000 IQ Street Light systems (comprising tens of thousands of cameras, sensors, and microphones) in San Diego for optimizing its traffic management and parking guidance. However, the major factor hindering the installation of these IQ Street Lights is the potential of raising privacy concerns among the urban population.
Next-generation video analytics software provided by AllGoVision – a video analytic solution provider – for smart cities helps the governing bodies locate suspected and missing individuals, detect traffic violations, pre-empt terrorist attacks, identify incursions, and detect unruly crowd behaviors, to list a few. The functional benefits of using video analytics software are high accuracy, fully automated process, minimized human interruption, smoke and fire detection (thermal imaging), and faster facial detection. Taking into account the privacy implications of such technologies for the public, video analytics software offers enhanced privacy features for the people under surveillance – that is, it provides only masked video for evidence export and monitoring, but unmasked video in case of emergency.
According to the symposium panel experts, smart city market in India is expected to reach $40 billion by the end of 2030, owing chiefly to the rapidly growing population and the requirement of smart traffic management technologies to cope with the ever-increasing traffic in urban areas. Panelists also pointed out that the country loses close to $430 billion a year to traffic congestion, including fuel wastage. All these factors make it essential for the government and its administering bodies to consider embracing smart technologies for the efficient and effective management of the city infrastructure. This would further lead to an increase in capital investment in latest smart city technologies and the creation of a large number of employment opportunities within the country.
CityNext 2017 India was the first national symposium conducted in India by International Society of Automation (ISA), a nonprofit professional association that sets standards for companies that apply technology and engineering to improve the safety, management, and cybersecurity of their automation and control systems. ARC advisory group personnel and over 200 other delegates attended.