The ability to ‘connect to the internet’ is sufficient for any device to be defined as a Smart Device. So what would this mean, in terms of a Smart City? Provision for every citizen in the city to connect to high speed internet? Availability of city services on the internet? Internet does play a very important role for Smart Cities to flourish. But is the criteria of connectivity alone, enough for a city to be Smart?
Many people have this concept of a Smart City where they visualize self driving cars, drones, smart homes, robots etc and it is true that some of this is integrated in daily life in certain parts of the world. The top 10 smart cities around the world focus on the following areas – Internet Speed, Public Transport, Innovation, Smart Parking, Green Initiatives, Citizen Participation, Sanitation, Safety, Education, Healthcare, Services for Senior Citizens etc.
Internet of Things is a term that one hears a lot, when it comes to Smart Cities. Smart Bins, Smart Parking, Smart Homes, Street Lighting, Traffic Lights etc are areas where IoT based sensors are used. These sensors measure certain parameters and notify interested parties to take necessary actions based on data collected. Over time, this data can be used for predictive analytics and subsequently for planning better.
So the general idea of a Smart City is to make life of it’s dwellers more convenient, efficient, healthier, accessible, safer and meaningful. And while doing so, making the city sustainable for future generations. This statement presents a very holistic goal, but to attain this we need specific guidelines.
Here is a good image that classifies Smart Solutions for cities into six broad categories:
And even though the guidelines are a good start, every city in itself has it’s own assets, set of issues, uniqueness, geographical and political landscapes giving it a very distinct personality.
Smart City Definition by the Government of India: The Mission Statement and Guidelines acknowledge that there is ‘no universally accepted definition of a Smart City’. Each city is expected to craft its own vision, goals of a ‘smart city’ from a citizen driven planning process.