Connecting the world, the IoT way
DIGIMONDO’s successful use of the Internet of Things (IoT) has made them one of the sought-after companies for smart cities. DIGIMONDO enables the IoT by helping customers’ bridge the physical and digital worlds with unmatched technologies that solve real-life problems and make the world smarter, healthier, greener and safer. “IoT is not only sensors talking to each other but talking to us humans too. We have designed and developed our solutions in a way everyone can understand and use services enabled by IoT, not just the technical folk,” says CEO of DIGIMONDO Christopher Rath. “The company’s objective from every IoT project is to simplify and remove complexity from the work process.” Christopher Rath has played a key role in implementing IoT within the company and has always remained at the helm of things spearheading major strategy, sales and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services. Further detailing about how IoT can benefit in Smart Cities, Christopher notes usability and accessibility are two of the highest priority factors for the company, in their solution design phase, which is also of utmost importance in any smart city project. “All city residents can gain from their city becoming smarter and from the availability of new services.”
IoT to Shape Future Smart Cities
Smart cities are the future. With the recent surge in urbanization, an estimated 68 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050, according to a recent report by the United Nations. The Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled smart communities are laying the foundation for a sustainable, prosperous future and giving rise to smart cities. These evolving cities are focused on creating a sustainable environment, thus helping citizens and businesses to thrive. A smart, sustainable environment would ensure people can live safer, healthier lives and can work more efficiently. Cities that have deployed IoT-enabled technologies have made radical improvements to public service efficiencies and environmental sustainability. Whether it is through the deployment of smart lighting, smart water metering or smart waste management, or embracing green initiatives that help save energy and reduce urban congestion, smart cities will have a positive impact on people’s lives. With the spending on smart cities expected to reach $158 billion by 2022 (according to IDC forecasts), this level of investment is poised to make notable changes in the way smart cities will be shaped. Sprint, a leader in the IoT space, is advancing the evolution of cities into smart cities through its leading-edge Curiosity™ IoT solutions. Smart community test-bed programs, like that at Peachtree Corners, Georgia, ensure that connected device solutions will take advantage of the next-generation 5G network.
IoT is rapidly changing the business landscape, enabling companies and people to be more connected than ever before. And this trend is set to increase with experts predicting that there will be an estimated 41.6 billion connected IoT devices by the year 2025. Navigating their way through this ever-evolving IT backdrop is Hyrde BV – a portfolio company of the VolkerWessels Telecom Group. The VolkerWessels Group comprises of 140 diverse companies, all of whom are independent, with well-defined regional markets, expertises and identity. Through control and support at the division level, VolkwerWessels pool resources to offer integrated solutions and provide the best possible service to their clients. The newly formed Hyrde company has been making significant strides through its comprehensive ecosystem of IoT solutions. Credits go out to Gerard van den Houten -Managing Director of Hyrde BV – who has been the driving force behind the successes the company has enjoyed so far. While recounting his personal career journey in IT, Houten highlights the challenges he has faced in this fast paced and dynamic environment and shares his philosophy on building a winning team. Excerpts from the interaction:
The Innovative Blend
In an era where technology has shaped the major part of the smart city innovation, companies now have endless opportunities to design new and improved solutions and stay ahead of the competition curve. “However, with great power, comes great responsibility! Innovation and technology should be applied correctly to make an immediate impact and huge differences in the industry. Too often, we see shiny objects with no immediate impact or value,” notes Navin Nageli, President & CEO, Navjoy. Being a passionate innovator, it is Nageli’s vision to transform the smart city industry by empowering companies to exponentially improve transportation operations through his technology firm, Navjoy. The Problem and the Solution: Today, there is an immense amount of technology involved with transportation and a great deal of reliance on IT and public safety for operations of the transportation network. Even so, the major challenges with regards to data and information silos have adversely affected the growth of the industry. “Oftentimes, data resides in silos within agencies across the sectors which can be actionable intelligence to operate the transportation network. Also, there is a lack of information about data and assets that hinders the operators from generating analytics in real-time,” says Nageli.
Envisaging IoT to Bolster Smart Cities
During the late ’90s, when the internet was still known to the few, a leader had envisaged how the same is going to whip up a storm globally. Maher Elfadel Aboukadir, Chief Executive Officer of Vision Valley, set up the firm as a systems integration company, diversified into telecommunications, networking and information technology industries in Dubai in 2002. Prior to starting Vision Valley, Maher worked with a major telecom operator in the region, building the internet infrastructure and services in the UAE. “The project started in 1994; the same time the commercial internet was at its infancy stage. Since we had no means to do research on the internet, we built a small lab and initiated self-learning on the internet. After establishing internet services in the UAE, the same was extended to other regions like APAC, Europe and USA’s East and West Coasts.” Simultaneously, Maher was also educating the public on the usage of the internet. Maher’s launch of his startup ‘Vision Valley’ demonstrated his bold decision to quit his established corporate life to venture out on his own. “Having only two full-time staff and growing organically to over 300 engineers with operations in three continents to become one of the most successful ICT providers in EMEA was indeed a feat,” notes Maher.
Revolutionizing Real-Time Parking Management
Let’s admit it. Most of us living in cities face parking issues almost every other day. Be it a busy street or a mall or at a supermarket, there’s always that precious time consumed searching for a parking spot. In fact, a survey says that 70 percent of the drivers in cities note that parking is a key component in their choice of travel destination. Now imagine a company that can undo the parking problems using smart solutions. Yes, you heard it right! Wisesight, an Israeli-based firm, has come up with an intelligent parking technology for real-time automatic parking management. This technology, not only enables proper and efficient management of parking spots but, also ensures proper statistical analysis and increases revenues using automatic and efficient payments. Wisesight Founder and CEO, Akiva Armon says, it was the frustration of not finding parking regularly that ignited this idea. “Basically, it all began from a personal experience of not able to find a parking spot and eventually, rooted in a desire to harvest the technology to offer an advanced solution to it.” Adds this technology enthusiast that from a market point of view, the parking mechanism hasn’t undergone any change since the early ’50s. “We have noticed that cities, malls, amusement parks, etc, lack information about their parking resources and their decisions are not data-driven.
The third pillar of a smart city – Development of social infrastructure
Imagine a city has everything that it takes to be called as a smart city; the basic amenities, physical infrastructure, well-planned governance institution and all. Can the city be still termed as a smart city? A city needs a better social engagement. It indicates a development planning of social infrastructure. People’s participation creates a wider scope for smart city development process. Let’s take a closer look at the sectors that create the threshold of social infrastructure; without which no city can be developed as a smart city. Education – In order to improve the student’s level of education and understanding, the concept of smart classroom has become extremely important. Nowadays the classrooms are designed to provide adequate information and knowledge. It is built in such a way that students gather and finds it extremely interesting and engaging. If teachers wish to monitor in real-time the level of their student’s interest, they can collect on the class, department and university. It will help the teachers to monitor and respond to the class level of interest. The various aspects in the classroom will help department or university to understand how various are correlated with the level of attention.
Smart City and its growing impact
The idea of a smart city has become extremely important when it comes to the context of defining the strength, performance, facility, demography and urban economy. How a smart city would perform? In what ways we can identify a smart city? When it comes to understanding a city in terms of scientific growth and implementing important policies with the right quotient of strategies, it has a tremendous impact on the socio-economic growth of the place and worldwide. Several reports and research studies indicated there will be a continuous rise in the population living in the urban city. Under this circumstance, the present Government needs to tighten the loose ends. The first important aspects are to make all the resources easily available for the people to utilize. Not just basic resources, but when it comes to luxurious resources, the people living in the urban city have first access to it. A person’s mind is extremely inquisitive; they search for the technology that makes their life extremely easy and convenient. In a way, this contributes to the economic and social growth in a city but gives their poor environmental sustainability.
The fourth pillar of a smart city – Development of economic infrastructure
To develop an ideal city that will the future filled with opportunities, it requires a basic economic infrastructure. There are two fundamental goals that any smart city would try to achieve. The first fundamental goal is to create a high-quality living environment with the right investment and planning. And the second objective is to make sure that the development is sustainable based on all integrated models like economic, social, transport, energy, environmental, and more. An objective of a smart city is to provide a modern quality of life that would include the use of innovative technologies to provide cost-effective and environmentally friendly city-life support systems. The growth plan includes making your city the industrial cities with science, innovation, and technology parks, slowly gaining control over the accommodation, people, environment, economy, and mobility. To study the features of socio-economic development, the service sector in the urban economy has created a framework of research on the synergetic paradigm of modern science. They consider the conceptual results of evolutionary and institutional economics, the theory of economic transformation, strategic management theory, and social economy theory.
The second pillar of a smart city – Development of physical infrastructure
When all focus is on building your smart city, how can we negate the role of the development of physical infrastructure? The purpose of physical infrastructure towards the development of a smart city is essential and critical. It provides the base foundation upon which a smart city is developed. Due to an increase in population and pollution, our Earth is going through a series of environmental changes. Our world is open to countless challenges every day. To have a smart city, developing smart physical infrastructure is vital. It is fundamentally essential because technology should be intelligently used. Today, some of the critical information technology (IT) companies have provided solutions for a sustainable planet and city, and by far the technology plays an important role in achieving this. Smart physical infrastructure is making our world a better place to live. An excellent physical infrastructure integrated with intelligent technology provides a strong resistance to certain environmental imbalance and shock. When your city is equipped with the latest and modern technology, your strong infrastructure can withstand natural calamities or environmental changes. You take a step ahead to set an example for the people who haven’t thought of the solution before.
The first pillar of a smart city – Institutional development
The concept of the smart city differs from person to person. For some, a city flourishes with its institutional growth, and for some, an excellent infrastructural development is a definition of a progressive city. To understand the sustainability and transition of a smart city, we must first trace the organic growth in its socio-technical system, which means that there is a need for a noticeable change in the institutional-material structures of the smart city. – “Regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive elements that, together with associated activities and resources, provide stability and meaning to social life” (Scott, 1995) The three prominent dimensions that need to be carefully considered to order to determine the development of a city as a smart city are as follows: Regulative – A city requires explicit regulatory processes, such as formal rules, laws, policies, protocols, and standards to constitute a developed city. In case if a city fails to comply with these rules, there may have more profound implications in terms of legal sanctions. When we try and analyze how a city can develop based on the above points, we have a fair idea and understanding that the institutional analysis of smart city initiatives would elaborate on the formal dimensions of these initiatives. This should be done in such a way in which they are deep-rooted in urban, regional, national, or even international policy initiatives for urban development.