By Aurindam Bhattacharya, C-DOT representative in Government Departments
Back in 2015, the Government of India launched the Smart Cities Mission program with the ultimate goal of developing 100 smart cities by 2022. The aim is to create cities that provide essential infrastructure, provide a decent standard of living for its citizens, and create a sustainable environment through smart solutions.
The Government of India’s planned investment of $7.5 billion for 100 smart cities has been a key enabler for IoT adoption across industries such as utilities, manufacturing, automotive and transportation, and logistics. Presenting a golden opportunity for local governments to adopt a more convenient, safer, and smarter way of operating, interoperability between Internet of Things (IoT) devices is crucial to develop a unique, performing, and reliable network that will support any kind of application over the same infrastructure.
While emerging vendors are working towards full interoperability that will allow applications to share information, this remains a challenge for mass consumerization. This means the Indian IoT ecosystem will never reach its full potential if a standardized IoT framework isn’t in place. Selecting a horizontal IoT platform will eliminate vendor lock-in and ensures smart city deployments are highly scalable and cost-effective as it continues to gain pace across the globe.
Each city will have its own smart priorities and vision; therefore, deployment strategies will differ. With this in mind, the Government of India aims to focus on implementing innovative digital technologies — under its Smart City Mission — by providing solutions and projects related to e-governance, mobility, integrated traffic management, and waste management. Bringing a new wave of digitalized operation, this also creates new challenges concerning the cost and logistics surrounding implementation.
However, the transition to smart services across India won’t happen overnight, as India began its IoT journey much later than more economically developed countries. In the area of waste management, for example, where the sanitation and emptying of bins can be managed through remote connectivity, it may take several procurement cycles to install connected bins in public-arenas, on streets, and around recreational spaces. Through competitive bidding and public procurement rules, not everything would be upgraded at once as different vendors would supply waste bins. But, as with anything in life, opportunities don’t come without their challenges.
Today, vertically siloed application vendors make up a large percentage of the IoT application environment in India. This is especially the case in the smart city ecosystem and, following the announcement of the Government of India’s smart city vision, proprietary platform providers are continuing to fill the smart cities space.
A horizontal approach
Due to the rising demand for more savvy and efficient city services from urbanization, the Government of India launched its Smart City Mission intending to make cities more citizen-friendly and sustainable. As India is on the cusp of its own IoT revolution, this digital transformation will provide India with smart solutions for infrastructure and other government services. However, none of this is possible without a standardized approach.
oneM2M, the global standardization body, was established to create a body of maximally reusable standards to enable IoT applications across different verticals. This is especially important in the smart city ecosystem and is why IoT standards are critical to unlocking the full potential of interworked applications, which will, in turn, create harmonized smart city environments.
With adoption and investment continuing to grow at an exponential rate, oneM2M is also being considered as the national IoT standard for India as part of its smart cities vision – highlighting that now, more than ever, standards are critical to the success of smart cities.
Sealing the promise of smart cities is oneM2M’s upcoming Release 4 standard, which will further build on interoperability between IoT devices by enabling vertical interoperability, best-in-class security, and interworking with legacy IoT standards.
Addressing tomorrow’s needs today
With the impact of IoT already far-reaching, the technology’s full potential is yet to be fully realized. As city authorities look to monetize on the growing IoT market, they all share a common goal — which is to identify as many cost savings as they can on their smart city journey.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to smart city deployments, as each city will have their reasons for a particular path, Whatsmore, the primary aim of oneM2M is to standardize the common services necessary to deploy and operationally support IoT applications across multiple verticals. oneM2M is currently working with its partner TSDSI and the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), to raise awareness of the benefits of a standardized IoT framework for a smart city approach worldwide.
A digital environment across India will not only leverage the smart city concept, but it will pave the way for new features, new ways to manage, govern and live in the city of tomorrow. By using oneM2M, cities will not be locked into proprietary ecosystems that limit technology choices and increase costs over time. They will be able to mix and match solutions from multiple vendors according to their specific needs as they arise.