By Gaurav Pradhan
With advent of internet and technology, we are able to see innovative ways of connections. Two decades back, connecting people through was a distant dream. But now we are even talking about lifeless machines being connected with people through Internet. Internet of Things (IoT) is the birth child of this idea. So let us understand what actually IoT is, then will see its application in human life, and its perceived future in Indian scenario.
What is IoT ?
Internet of Things (IoT) encapsulates the idea of connecting any device (which has an ON/OFF switching function) with Internet. If we can imagine, that any electrical and electronic appliance can be operated by a touch from our smartphone connected to Internet; that will be called Internet of Things. This is a very simple example.
Some other examples are – connected coffee makers, lamps, wearable devices, and almost anything which can be possibly connected through internet.
Gartner, the Technology Analyst firm, believes that by 2020, over 26 billion devices will be connected with Internet, based on the current progression. This will be like a giant like the World Wide Web itself.
IoT – So what ?
Okay, We understand that IoT is big. So what ?
Let me answer that with a scenario. You have a big day at office tomorrow. You manage your calendar and your morning schedule on your smartphone. The following activities take place next morning based on your schedule fed in the smartphone.
6:00 AM – The mobile alarm wakes you up.
7:30 AM – The Coffee Machine automatically starts preparing to serve you coffee at 7:45 AM. It is programmed to for your choice of coffee recipe.
8:00 AM – The Electric Geyser automatically starts to provide you hot water for bath at 8:45 AM.
8:00 AM – Printer automatically starts printing your essential documents for the meeting which you have scheduled to print from the Cloud Drive.
8:55 AM – While you are getting ready, the car starts itself, performing diagnostic checks and loading the navigation route map, optimizing traffic real time and ensuring a timely leave from home at 9:00 AM.
I know it might be sounding a Mission Impossible or a James Bond movie, but it is not. It can actually happen when the devices are interconnected in an IoT environment. What sounding right now as a movie scenario, will become a reality in future.
This is a scenario of a single house. This can become as big as being a ‘Smart City’ which checks its own pulse and changes its life accordingly – that means based on certain parameters diagnostics, it can improve its waste management system, energy management system modules, transport systems etc.
Why India should think about it
On 1st July 2015, India was in headlines because of a big announcement by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi about India Smart Cities Challenge – the launch of 100 smart cities mega project. This came under the umbrella of ‘Digital India’ campaign which started on the same day. The cities are spread throughout the country. A big budget worth 1 lakh Crore has been approved for carrying the projects identified under Digital India campaign. IoT is going to play a major role for making this happen. Many IoT vendors have already started having conversations with India and among themselves to make this a success.
The need of Smart Cities have come up because of urbanization of rural areas and growing present day Indian cities. Indian Urban Population is presently at 33%, which is looking to cross over 50% by 2050. (Source: Worldometers)
Smart Cities will help improve the overall quality of life in a city environment. A smart city will need use of relevant technologies in identified areas to manage the dynamics of city systems & infrastructure. This can take a time of 8 – 10 years and even more based on the kind of technology and its scalability.
The major challenge which lies ahead of Indian Government is – Investing in IoT Research activities by partnering with leading IoT vendors; reducing dependencies and enhancing collaboration with their partners for making this venture a success.
Other Challenges are more over driven on the State level which would require a State & Centre partnership for fostering a successful platform to build smart cities.
Making the present city ‘Smart City’ Ready – State & Centre should look into the cities identified to find the latent issues for making it a Smart City. They should change the existing infrastructure and formulate an implementation strategy for modular construction of Smart Cities.
Proactive Decision making and Clearance provisions – State & Centre should closely monitor the project management for each and every city and execute them in phases in timely manner – Budget release, Work in Progress, Phase development, Review and payment should be monitored and released in timely manner, so that it would not hurt the overall project pace.
Progressive Financing and Resourcing – State & Centre should ensure that there is progressive financing and resourcing to Smart Cities as it will not be a one-time investment, but a progressive investment in modules which would ensure incremental increase in efficiency and cost reduction in long run. Handling multiple vendors, resourcing quality manpower, contextual research and training, building database for analytical solutions, handling multiple complex technologies are the kind of activities which will be very significant in building and measuring the success of Smart Cities.
Conclusion – IoT is the word for Smart Cities going way forward
Indian Government would definitely have to think about investing in IoT seriously, if they are going to achieve success in the Smart City Challenge. Planning & managing the identified challenges in a phase wise manner by partnering with State & IoT vendors will be the way forward. This would definitely make the cities a beautiful place to live in; bringing India as a leader in terms of country implementing technology for growth and prosperity of the Nation.
Internet of Things – Intel – Internet of Things
What is the Internet of Things – The Guardian – What is the Internet of Things
A Digital India is A Possibility Today – Cisco – A Digital India is A Possibility Today