More and more cities around the world are transforming into SMART CITIES
With revenue in billions of Ringgit some of these PBT/Local Authorities (LA) have the means to support initiatives such as this. I’m sure some of them have set-up their own Smart City department/unit looking into it. But, looking and doing are two different things. It’s time to take action..and the time is now!
At the same time, LAs should give local tech companies the opportunity to present their products and solutions, thus, directly supporting home-grown technology. The mentality of awarding projects or contracts to foreign tech giants or conglomerates should be minimized. Instead, full commitment to nurture local SMEs should be given top priority.
Perhaps, the Ministry of Federal Territory should set up a task force to study and recommend a framework for LAs to follow for eventual implementation. Some other agencies such as MIMOS (under MoSTI) and local Universities (under KPT) have commissioned similar studies and several Blueprints/Master plans have been produced (probably sitting on bookshelves, somewhere,collecting dust). Perhaps these agencies should get together and consolidate their findings to produce a cohesive/coherent strategic direction.
So, what is a Smart City?
According to 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. The smart city concept integrates information and communication technology (ICT), and various physical devices connected to the network (the Internet of things or IoT) to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens. Smart city technology allows city officials to interact directly with both community and city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city and how the city is evolving.
Example of a Smart City Initiative
The city of Newcastle is unveiling what it claims is the UK’s smartest street. Mosley Street was the first street in the world to pioneer electric lighting and, more than 100 years later along with connecting Neville Street, it is using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to demonstrate a range of smart city applications.
The project is part of the Great Exhibition of the North, hosted by Newcastle and Gateshead from 22 June to 9 September which aims to tell the story of the north of England through its innovators, artists, designers and businesses.
Live and historic data will be combined on the street from several sources to showcase the value of connecting data for the benefit of individuals, organisations and the city. Sources include Newcastle University’s Urban Observatory, home of the UK’s largest set of real-time urban data.
Newcastle City Council’s lead partner is Cisco, which is providing its Kinetic for Cities platform that securely connects city data from all kinds of devices, sensors, cameras, applications, and more, in an open, standard-based infrastructure. Newcastle is part of Cisco’s Lighthouse City programme, a global initiative designed to deploy next-generation technologies to impact citizens and society.
“The fact that the world’s largest networking company has selected our city for such a pioneering venture puts us firmly at the heart of modern Britain,” said Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council. “It is also testament to Newcastle’s growing skills base in digital technology and data analytics, and an example of our commitment to use innovation to help make people’s lives better.”
Other partners in the project include Connexin, which will design and build a smart infrastructure to support smart city solutions, integrating sensors and cameras onto the network, providing Newcastle with a dashboard where data can be tracked and monitored.
Smart lighting company Mayflower’s central management system will provide remote control, monitoring and energy measurement of street lighting over a wireless interface (ZigBee\GPRS). This gives asset managers the ability to monitor and report status automatically, vary light output, as well as manage energy consumption.
As the integration and artificial intelligence (AI) partner for the project, Quantela will utilise its advanced analytics platform, Atlantis, which is tailored to fit smart city requirements. Atlantis provides descriptive, predictive and proscriptive analytics for domain-specific and cross-domain use cases.
Visitors to Newcastle will be able to experience a number of applications of smart city technology. These will be available either at the smart street installation, or through data displayed on screens throughout the city and integrated with the exhibition wayfinding app.
Among the use cases being demonstrated will be:
- Solving the parking conundrum: using data trends to predict whether you’ll be able to find a parking spot on the road
- Less time idling with traffic forecasting: using historic and real-time data to interpret patterns and support traffic management by generating short and long-term traffic forecasts
- Cleaner air with pollution analysis: collecting and analysing environmental data to help find the causes of pollution, with the aim of dramatically reducing its effect in the area
- Less wastage for refuse collections: using historic data to help refuse operators manage waste disposal more productively, ensuring the streets are clean and the impact on the environment is minimised
- Lighting the way with dynamic street lighting: using predictive analytics to enable power companies to manage power consumption more effectively and improve safety with lighting
- Avoiding the pitfalls of potholes: using artificial intelligence (AI) and video analytics to predict the effect of traffic on the road surface, providing evidence for the Council to consider for preventative maintenance.
“Newcastle has innovation in its DNA, and we are thrilled to be working with Newcastle City Council and our partners to create the UK’s smartest street, and to build on the pioneering innovation which took place on Mosley Street over a century ago,” said Stu Higgins, head of smart cities and IoT, Cisco UK and Ireland.
He added: “The creation of smart places through the deployment of Internet of Things solutions brings amazing possibilities to enhance the lives of people living and working in a place. It is this type of innovation which is crucial to the UK cementing itself as a global digital leader.”