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How smart city technology improves resilience and sustainability
Smart cities are helping improve infrastructure resilience and shape a more sustainable future by enhancing the quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services and reducing costs and resource consumption, says Rashesh Mody, Head of Monitoring & Control for AVEVA.
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A city’s economic resilience is increasingly tied to the quality of its digital infrastructure. As a result, cities that place innovative technology at the heart of their investment programs will be one the ones that thrive in an increasingly data-centric world.
Smart city innovation is often wrongly viewed as a form of futuristic metropolitan planning, predominantly focused on new build opportunities. The reality is far more exciting – smart city technology has the capacity to pool aging infrastructure into a solution that can address the burdens of intensified urbanization, which many metropolises are currently finding hard to overcome.
Unlock critical insights from data
Transforming existing infrastructure into something smarter enables cities to connect, collect, analyze, and act on data from disparate sources. These data-powered insights, enabled by cloud computing and AI technologies, can be used to improve city operations and citizens’ lives by enhancing the quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services and resources – in addition to facilitating economic growth.
Once unified under the auspices of a smart city hub, these types of data-driven approaches can deliver in other ways. The ability to predict and resolve problems before they happen enhances resilience and supports more sustainable ways of living – including reducing the consumption and cost of amenities such as water, gas, and electricity – by optimizing the efficiency of city operations and services.
An integrated command-and-control center – or “City in a Box”
The complexity of combining disparate data silos and multi-vendor system architectures, along with the number of citizens it will support, can make the development of a smart city hub seem overwhelming. The solution lies in implementing an integrated command-and-control center (ICCC).
Known at AVEVA as a “City in a Box,” an ICCC enables you to monitor and control city-wide operations, from utilities and telecommunication through to transport and health, all from one centralized platform.
AVEVA’s ICCC, entitled the Unified Operations Center (UOC) for Smart Cities, is based on an integrative “system of systems” approach. This unites Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) into a single interface that offers granular insights into city operations and services.
A cloud-first approach
Cloud computing sits at the heart of smart city technology. This is because its agile, flexible nature makes it the perfect place to store a smart city’s data, plus it provides the necessary computing power to operate an increasing number of systems and connect users wherever they’re based.
AVEVA has implemented a cloud-first strategy, which focuses on providing core services in the cloud. This has shown itself to be particularly valuable during the pandemic, which highlighted cloud computing’s ability to ensure high uptime and availability and respond to ever-evolving challenges.
Together with Microsoft, we’re currently helping customers explore new ways of leveraging the value of cloud technologies and hybrid deployment, as well as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and big data analytics.
Improving resilience and efficiencies
Resilience, in particular, has come into focus due to the impact of Covid-19, which has highlighted digital transformation’s role in ensuring continuity of operations during times of crisis. Fortunately, smart infrastructure has helped cities to manage the challenges caused by the pandemic by making it easier for authorities to communicate with citizens.
But beyond resiliency, smart city infrastructure has a huge role to play in improving efficiencies and the integration of sites, systems, and resources. For example, when the City of Bremen needed to improve the energy efficiency of its portfolio of buildings, it saw the potential to implement a new building management system (BMS) that would bring greater control and provide far-reaching sustainability benefits.
The city leaders unified operations for over 160 properties into a single BMS, which resulted in a reduction of energy consumption by up to 18% annually.
Shape a more sustainable future
As technology advances, cities will become smarter and offer their citizens an improved quality of life. A data-based smart infrastructure will help provide key insights and identify where improvements need to, or could be made.
It’s important to always work with suppliers that have specialist knowledge and experience, and AVEVA is a global leader in industrial software for a sustainable future. We help everyone from megacities to smaller municipalities deliver safer, more reliable services through digital transformation of existing and new infrastructure.
Bringing the latest technology into a converged platform enables city operators to maximize performance, minimize costs and delays, and ensure efficient organizational operations. This in turn reduces energy usage and cuts emissions both outright, using smart models, and as a by-product of reducing the need for emergency flaring and rework, helping shape a more sustainable future for citizens.