The United Nations’ State of World Cities report in 2013 estimated that the number of urban residents around the world would grow by 60 million yearly. They also predicted that more than 60% of the world’s population would be living in smart cities by 2050. To accommodate this large influx of human beings, the world’s cities don’t necessarily need to become bigger - they just need to become smar
ter. The opportunities for engineers in the Smart City boom are immeasurable.
A book by Renata Paola Dameri named Smart City Implementation: Creating Economic and Public Value in Innovative Urban Systems defines what the smart city should aspire to in the 21st century:
“A smart city includes all the aspects of the urban life; from tourism to commerce, from industry to agriculture, including logistics, research and education. A smart city program impacts on all the urban infrastructures: public and private buildings, factories and transport facilities. A strong information and communication infrastructure should support knowledge management in the urban context and the sustainability of a smarter city could positively affect water, energy and mobility.”
The book also makes light of the fact that it is impossible for one smart city to resemble another smart city entirely. Depending on the government of the day, municipalities are looking to implement several different technologies in several different ways, based on what they have at their disposals.
Chinese standards for Smart Cities
Chinese telecoms company Huawei believe they can implement technologies to set a standard for smart cities in the future.
Huawei are working with the Indian government to potentially kick-start the Indian smart city initiative. They will target the power utilities first - the company intends to build smart grid solutions for India’s energy sector. They will do this through their Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution. Derek Hao, President of Huawei India said:
“In the past, employees had to go to households to collect meter data once a month. Problems including inaccurate metering, ineffective power theft prevention, long charging periods, and inaccurate line loss calculation often causing high O&M (operation and maintenance) utility costs.”
Huawei’s AMI solutions are an agile system that can monitor electricity usage and generate data for power utilities. Huawei uses a product they have developed known as the Hi-PLC. Smart metering of more than 10 million terminals can purportedly be done through this system. “It can greatly help a power utility company reduce electricity loss and increase meter reading efficiently,” Hao said.
The company had generated a handsome USD 75 billion as of 2016. They confirmed this year that they would be offering similar assistance to over 100 smart cities in over 40 countries.
More work to be done
Sanjay Samra, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, spoke to ZDNet saying that in their current state, cities are still falling short of the ‘smart city’ moniker. He said:
“Cities today are rather dumb. A significant portion of traffic is just drivers ‘cruising’ while they look for parking, street lights are often on when they are not needed, water systems lose upwards of 50% of the total supply to leaks and the electric grid is incapable of truly responding to new technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels. Smart parking meters, connected street lights, instrumented water supplies, and smart grids will reduce traffic, save energy, save water, and make the grid more friendly to renewables. ”
Current and future engineers will be tasked with building sustainable infrastructure that is digitally enabled, granted the funding to build the infrastructure is there. That is something that PriceWaterHouseCoopers Global Advisory Leader, Miles Everson, spoke about at the Digital Revolution Summit Mobile World Congress 2017.
Brown, Eileen. "Although Smart Cities Rely on IoT, Security Confusion Still Reigns." ZDNet. ZDNet, 25 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
Dameri, Renata Paola. Smart City Implementation: Creating Economic and Public Value in Innovative Urban Systems. Cham: Springer International, 2017. Print.
Www.ETTelecom.com. "Huawei Keen on India's Smart City Project: Official - ET Telecom." ETTelecom.com. 20 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.