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How to unlock potential of smart cities? Visualisation solutions have an answer

With a geographic spread that spans across 3.287 million km, the fragmented public information system is a real challenge for the government, service providers, and other parties involved.

Rajiv Bhalla   New Delhi     Last Updated: January 16, 2019  | 09:28 IST
How to unlock potential of smart cities? Visualisation solutions have an answer

Smart city in India is no more a buzzword as we have already seen live implementations across the country. Close on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 100 smart cities vision, we have multiple examples across the country today from Park Street in Kolkata, which is completely wi-fi enabled, to Bhubaneshwar, showcasing a rapid urbanisation of infrastructure and even the President's Estate, which is completely a connected smart community in itself. India is progressing rapidly in making its cities smart and secure.

What defines a smart city? Typically, it is a connected community wherein there is a real-time data sharing to effectively manage things from traffic, water supply, street lighting to much more. With rapid urbanisation, multiple new cities are likely to come up, and smarter solutions will be deployed to turn these new urban centres into smart and well-connected communities. However, one key aspect of this entire ecosystem is the importance of visualisation solutions, which is at the core of managing such a complex and connected community, with petaflops of data getting exchanged between these connected systems.  These cities will enable automation and real-time integrated city monitoring and management through a network of sensors, cameras, and wireless devices and data centres that are exchanging data 24X7.  

With a geographic spread that spans across 3.287 million km, the fragmented public information system is a real challenge for the government, service providers, and other parties involved. The answer lies in the adoption of smart visualization solutions.

Examples of how visualisation solutions can help!

Consider a scenario - you are driving in Delhi's Connaught Place and struggling to find a parking space. In a smart city environment, this would not be the case. You would be connected to Delhi's traffic management control room through an application, and the operators in the control room could easily direct you to the nearest available parking space.

Imagine a similar situation with respect to power consumption. A couple of years back, Delhi witnessed major power outages. Connected visualisation solutions can play a major role in predicting, minimising and solving Delhi's power woes. Control room operators can give minute details using connected visualisation technologies about the city's power consumption patterns. This information can, in turn, be used to identify areas high on power usage  to forecast patterns down to even individual households and make required changes.

Another example could be of better network utilisation. Through connected visualisation solutions, it will be easier to understand regions and individuals using higher bandwidths, and accordingly optimize networks.

Command and control room is the nerve-centre

Having a state-of-the-art command and control room is critical for any smart city and is the nerve-centre. For example, the centralised control centre of the emergency response system of Uttar Pradesh, located in the state's capital Lucknow is one of the most cutting-edge control centres in the world. This control centre is responsible for providing emergency response services to more than 204 million people. It routes information from calls and texts to the nearest police stations and response units so that they can deliver aid in around 15 minutes. Through this centre, the UP 100 police emergency system provides instantaneous relief to people in urban, rural and remote areas of one of the world's most populous areas. To make this possible, the service's central contact centre in Lucknow is now equipped with four video wall arrays that provide police and emergency responders with all necessary information.

To sum up, connected visualisation solutions have a key role to play across every technical aspect of smart cities. The 21st century is an exciting time for India and as we move forward, there will be major technological advancements. India today has the opportunity to become a technology powerhouse and lead by example. And as we move forward, service providers, urban planners, policymakers and the government at large will have to work in tandem to enable true scenarios of digital supremacy.

(The writer is managing director at Barco India)

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