Trends That Will Define Smart Cities In 2020

Saily Lad, Director, Volksara Pvt Ltd and Krystal Group of Companies Saily is best known for her work on the Smart City Project in India that won the Best Safe City in India (Nasik, Kumbh Mela)

The Smart Cities Mission(SCM)in India began in 2018, with an aim to develop 100 cities across the country and to provide technology led solutions for the citizens living there. This urban renewal and retrofitting project incorporates technological solutions towards the basic infrastructure and operations of the city, in order to provide smarter solutions and ease-of-convenience for those living there. These operations include Smart Mobility Management, Smart Public Safety, Smart Healthcare, Smart Building, Smart Utilities, Smart Security, Smart Education, among others. At the start of this new decade, the trends that will dominate the Smart City developments are as follows:

The Age of 5G and WiFi6
As internet penetration continues on its upward trajectory in India, we can see how this has become a commodity for everyone businesses, governmental organisations and citizens. 5G technology is the next generation of wireless technology for digital cellular networks, which first made its appearance in 2019. In the year 2020, this technology will be more widespread connecting people and organisations faster, with better service. This will be aided by the use of Wi-Fi 6 technology, which has been built in response to the growing number of devices used. Better and faster connectivity will mean lesser time lost in operations, which will help the smart cities become more efficient.

AI and Machine Learning
While AI (Artificial Intelligence)and ML(Machine Learning) are not new
concepts, they will be used in a larger capacity in smartcity operations throughout the country. There is a lot of data generated in a city, and using AI and machine learning to analyse this data, can result in better understanding and identification of problems zeroing in on opportunities, and finding of solutions.The technology in concern is currently being manufactured in India and exported to global associates, but through the SCM there is better scope of institutionalising the use of AI and Machine Learning in the country.

In the year 2020, this technology will be more widespread, connecting people and organisations faster, with better service

Electric Vehicles and Sharing
Public transport is a very important part of every city, and smart cities have the opportunity to start from the ground-up and provide more efficient service. In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint from vehicles, smart cities in India will look towards car and motorbike sharing services and incorporate public transport run on electricity. This will help in reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, and cut down on the pollution within city limits.

Security and Surveillance
Security is amongst the biggest current concerns in the modern society. As the spread of technology has advanced greatly, modern techniques that include AI driven surveillance methods and ML based security systems are the new trends in the reinforcement of urban cities. In the coming year, there will be a greater advancement in these technologies, with a wider, public network of CCTV’s installed and incorporation of drones for surveillance of areas at the border of city limits.

Urban Modelling and Digital Twin Concept
According to a whitepaper published by ABI Research, one of the biggest trends that will be incorporated in the smart cities project is the use of urban modelling and digital twin concepts. Digital twin is a concept in which a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity is built. This is created using computer aided engineering and is integrated with the Internet of Things, machine learning and Big Data analytics. It can monitor, analyse and improve the performance of the digital model opening the floor for efficient changes to be made in the real world.Urban models, on the other hand, are computer based simulations, used for testing theories about spatial location and interaction between land uses and related activities. By using them smartcity planners can use digital environments for testing the consequences of physical planning policies on the future form of cities. Through use of these technologies, planners can test out their plans for the city and virtually execute them, to get a better understanding of what would work better for the city's population.