The launch of the Smart Cities Mission has helped scale up the installation of towers, fibre, smart poles, etc. in cities and has led to the increased uptake of smart applications such as Wi-Fi, video surveillance and security, smart mobility and smart urban infrastructure management. Agra and Pimpri Chinchwad smart cities have been actively working to scale up digital applications in their regions to enable better service delivery. The scope of work for the Agra smart city involves the development of a safety and security surveillance system; an intelligent traffic management system (ITMS); an adaptive traffic control system (ATCS); a solid waste management system; enterprise and city GIS and environmental sensors; network connectivity; artificial intelligence; deep learning and edge analytics; a data centre, a disaster recovery (DR) centre; and an integrated command and control centre (ICCC). As per the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, the core and aggregation rings in the network architecture for Pimpri Chinchwad has 96 fibre cores while the access ring has 48 fibre cores. Moreover, the length of rings in the core, aggregation and access points is 57 km, 129 km and 399 km respectively.
Elements of smart cities
Data centre and DR centre
The data centre is where all the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure as well as the network infrastructure are installed. It hosts all the software applications for various smart city components. Further, the DR centre is a mirror image of all the applications hosted at the data centre. In case of non-availability of the data centre, the DR centre can operate all the applications for the smart city components.
It is the backbone for smart city data and applications. All surveillance and video data is stored here for a long time and attribute-based analytics can be performed on live and stored videos. All types of unauthorised access can be prevented in ICCCs by using sophisticated data security technology.
This system would be used to monitor and control traffic signals, including signalised pedestrian crossings, using a traffic responsive strategy based on real-time detector data. All signal controllers under ATCS would be provided with inputs from non-intrusive vehicle detection sensors for detecting the state of traffic. These inputs are used for communicating demand data to the central ATCS server and for receiving instructions on the control strategy in near-real time.
An intelligent transportation system is an advanced application which can provide innovative services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management, and enable users to be better informed and make safer, more coordinated, and “smarter” use of transport networks.
Smart environment sensors gather data about pollution, ambient conditions (light, noise, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure), weather conditions (rain), levels of gases in the city (pollution) and any other events on an hourly and subsequently daily basis.
Public address system
Public address systems are available at intersections, public places, market places or those critical locations as identified by the purchaser to make important announcements for the public. These are useful for improving public security and making them ready for any type of situation and act on critical conditions.
Emergency call box system or panic box
It has a single button which when pressed shall connect to the ICCC over the existing network infrastructure set up for the CCTV surveillance system. It provides a pre-programmed push button communication link for a person needing emergency assistance or information.
Variable message signboard
VaMS is used to communicate information about traffic, diversions, etc. to the citizens/public on the road. These systems can also be used for showing emergency/disaster-related messages as and when required.
Learnings from the Smart Cities Mission
The challenges associated with networks and communication expansion in smart city projects include dependency on various technologies such as optical fibre cable (OFC), Wi-Fi, radio frequency, long range (LORA), 4G, narrowband internet of things; inconsistency in network availability and network speed; major recurring expenses (around 40 per cent of project cost) for leased fibre network; upfront big capex requirements for own network; and progress impact due to fibre cuts.
Expectations and opportunities
Smart city planners expect lesser initiation investment (capex) and lesser maintenance cost for owned networks; lesser leasing charges for leased network along with assured and consistent bandwidth. These would ensure next level penetration of ICT solutions in smart cities. Going forward, there is a need to replicate the successful smart city models in other Tier 2 cities. Further, smart homes, connected cars and smart highways would be the next technological game changers. Special purpose vehicles (SPVs) can collaborate with the private sector and start-ups to implement these innovative applications in smart cities.
Based on presentations by Anand Menon K., Vice-President, Agra Smart City Limited, and Nilkanth Dhondiram Poman, Joint CEO and Chief Information Technology Officer, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation