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Technologically empowered infrastructure solutions are key to modern smart cities

With the rising advancement of technology, a growing concentration of population towards cities, and the increasing standard of living, made possible due to newer innovations across healthcare and mobility, there has been a rising need for the creation of 21st-century smart cities. Currently, over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities, and the number is expected to rise by 2.5 billion by the year 2050. With population exploding within the already constrained space and limited space available to accommodate this problem, there is an increasing pressure to meet the growing demands of the residents. Governments continue to look for sustainable ways to build better infrastructure and reduce its negative environmental consequences.

Cities like Dubai, Amsterdam, and Barcelona have already embarked on smart city initiatives, with Shanghai taking the lead in China. As per the Prime Minister’s vision of developing ‘one hundred smart cities’, the government of India has planned to develop technologically empowered, safe, citizen-friendly and sustainable smart cities across the country.

India currently boasts an urban population of 31.6% of its total. In the open data evolution cited by the ‘IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IoT Predictions 2017’, by 2019, 40% of local and regional governments are set to leverage IoT and cloud-based technology to develop smart infrastructure for the 21st-century cities.

Smart cities: redefining urban lifestyle
Essentially, a smart city is defined as the re-development of a city using the best of information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the performance and quality of urban services such as energy, connectivity, security, transportation, utilities, and others. The development of Smart Cities across the world is touted to be the next big step in the spectrum of digital transformation. Following are key factors that will be vital to strengthen the pillars of a ‘true smart city’:

1 .Smart Urban Planning
Infrastructure continues to be one of the major challenges to build sustainable living spaces. Furthermore, building a smart city involves extensive planning, to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Surveying and Mapping of land is the first step towards the planning of a smart city. Advances in engineering have brought in superior methods of land mapping has surveying. These include fully automated total stations and other equipment which make the process fast, efficient and reliable.

2. Effective resource management
The defining factor of smart cities is the management of resources, especially water and land, in an effort to make the city more efficient. Water is simply one of the resources that define a smart city in addition to monitoring the air, soil, and other natural elements. By leveraging processes and technology that help effective and timely monitoring and management of these resources, modern cities can help create a sustainable and sufficient ecosystem of natural resources that are vital for modern civilization..

3. Smart healthcare
Even as technology empowered solutions become a part of daily modern life, concepts like IoT and ML have made their impact felt in the field of healthcare as well. With advances in microscopy and monitoring devices, fields like pharma, health sciences, medicine and genetic research across fields, have gained momentum. Additionally, this has also led to providing cost effective solutions which can directly benefit the end consumers.

4. Smart surveillance and security
Surveillance and security built over the latest technology extend beyond connected traditional security systems. According to a report by Futuresource Consulting, nearly 110 million smart home devices like drones were shipped worldwide in 2018. Drones have the ability to schedule, repeat and monitor autonomous missions while augmenting human guards and fixed cameras through detection, recognition, and deterrence in the security context.

The future of urban living
With India as the second-most populated country in the world, the need for smart cities has been realized by the government of India. A total of 100 smart cities are being developed with an estimated cost of 2,05,018 crore, with impacting a total urban population of 99,630,069. The global success of smart cities and the way they have tackled current infrastructure problems have popularised the idea of its development in India. With heavy investments, the dream of smart cities and meeting the needs of increasing population is now possible through technologically-powered infrastructure solutions which hold the key to make any city, a smart city.

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