The business of Smart Cities


Smart cities are luring India Inc to create and deliver smart solutions where a government investment of over Rs 1.45 lakh crore is already estimated.

Smart city is one of the key initiatives announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, under which the government is aiming to transform the urban landscape of the country by making cities more livable and inclusive and drive sustainable economic growth.

The government’s plan to make 100 smart cities with a total proposed investment of Rs 1.45 lakh crore. As many as 60 smart cities are announced so far and India Inc. is looks to unlock the potential of the 100-Smart City movement. According to industry body Nasscom, IT sector is expected to witness business opportunity to the tune of $30-40 billion over the next 5-10 years due to smart cities programme. Here we’ll discuss the emerging opportunities for some of the key contributing industries like building automation, mobility, building materials, lighting and HVAC.

Smart Infra Management
The smart cities program presents a collaborative opportunities to provide cutting-edge technologies and services in core infrastructure services such as adequate clean water supply, sanitation and sold waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transportation, affordable housing, power supply, robust IT connectivity, governance, particularly e-governance and citizen participation. “As smart cities have a strong and equal play of operational technology (OT) along with information technology (IT), Data Centers, connectivity, Intelligent Building Management Systems and Data Center Infrastructure Management solutions are some of the important focus areas for us,” says Kanwaljeet Kukreja, Business Development, Energy & Smart Cities, Schneider Electric India. “Energy optimisation, analytics and citizen service improvement for smart cities are also on our radar.”

Schneider Electric offers products and solutions across the smart cities value chain starting from building automation, industrial automation, OT and IT.

Smart Mobility
The government’s smart city initiative will fuel the need for smart and efficient technologies to support urban growth. According to Sebi Joseph, President, Otis India, this growth is the result of a trend Otis has been watching for years: Urbanisation is driving increased need for housing, and the elevator industry plays an important role in supporting that growth. 340 million people, or 30 percent of the country’s population, currently live in cities.

According to a recent McKinsey report, by 2030 it is expected that cities will house 590 million people or 40 per cent of the population, and that India will have 68 cities with populations of more than 1 million. Future cities and developing economies hold a lot of potential for infrastructure growth and therefore, urbanisation is a major driver for the elevator segment in India.

Otis is working with leading technology providers to transform our business, and our industry, with innovation that better connects our people, products and customers to one another. AT&T will be the primary mobility provider for Otis field operations and will provide technology to aggregate data from multiple cell networks creating “conduit” to an Otis data cloud. Microsoft will provide its cloud technology, data analytics and a CRM system. Combined, these two new partners will provide the connectivity to create data, a place to store the data and the capability to analyse the data. The results will provide benefits to Otis engineers, mechanics and customers, with the goal of increased unit running time. “Our next generation approach is more than just new technology or a single piece of equipment – it represents a commitment by the entire Otis team to combine movement and connectivity in new and exciting ways, and it aligns with the goals of the smart cities initiative,” informs Joseph.

Otis India is positioned to deliver to this growing segment with its expanded facility in Bengaluru, which has tripled in size and doubled in manufacturing capacity. The facility includes a new elevator test tower, standing at a height of 51.2 metres with the ability to test up to five elevators at a time. Co-located with the factory is Otis’ R&D centre in India that has also significantly expanded its engineering capacity in recent years.

The elevators manufactured at the facility are from the Otis Gen2 line and are specifically designed to meet the needs of India’s buildings and cities.

Elevator technologies are keys in ensuring sustainability in smart cities of the future, believes Bharat Vishnani, Managing Director, Thyssenkrupp Elevator (India) Pvt Ltd. He said, “With buildings responsible for 40 per cent of the world’s energy consumption, of which up to 10 per cent of the buildings electrical consumption is attributed to elevators alone, new elevator technologies are crucial in securing significant energy savings.”

In India, as urbanisation drives the increased need for housing, the elevator industry plays an important role in supporting that growth. As for the Indian government’s smart city initiative, it will fuel the need for smart and efficient technologies to support urban growth.

Thyssenkrupp has introduced following advanced elevator systems:
• TWIN: This elevator system consists of two cabs that operate in the same shaft independent of each other. Both cabs operate under the same intelligent group control system and are equipped with an innovative quadruple redundancy safety system. It uses less energy while transporting up to 40 per cent more passengers than conventional elevators, Thyssenkrupp claims.
• MAX: A game-changing predictive and pre-emptive service solution that extends remote monitoring capabilities to dramatically increase current availability levels of existing and new elevators. Utilising the power of Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) technology, MAX makes it possible for an elevator to “tell” service technicians its real needs, including real-time identification of repairs, component replacements, and proactive system maintenance.
• ACCEL: The unique transportation system offers high capacities and high speeds for short distances, with no waiting times for passengers and low implementation costs. Passengers step onto the ACCEL at normal walking speeds, accelerate smoothly up to 7.2 km/h, or even 12 km/h for passengers who continue walking on the pallet band, and then decelerate to normal speed when leaving the system. ACCEL generates time savings of 70 per cent.
• MULTI: Claims to be the world’s first rope-free elevator that moves multiple cars in a single shaft vertically and horizontally, and reduces elevators’ footprint by up to 50 per cent while increasing passenger throughput by at least much.

Smart HVAC
According to the National Statistical Organisation (NSO) of India, the energy consumption by the building sector is expected to increase to 76 per cent in 2040 to 40 per cent in 2011-12. The residential building sector is already one of the largest consumers of electricity in India and by 2020 the country is projected to become the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China.

However Gurmeet Singh, Managing Director of Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd reveals that the government’s initiative towards green buildings and smart cities is giving an added impetus to the current Indian HVAC&R industry to develop not only smart and energy efficient but also affordable HVAC solutions. He adds, “In order to satiate the ever increasing demands, more and more global and local players are shifting their attention to India, thus making the country a true global manufacturing hub for HVAC equipment.”

Hitachi understands that the smart city concept is a success only when the smart technology is not only making the lives of its consumers comfortable but it is also easy on their pockets. The company is constantly working on new cutting-edge technology in its product categories which comprises of room AC, VRF, chillers and other commercial air-conditioners. “With growing emphasis on energy efficient and eco-friendly HVAC solutions in order to decrease the overall carbon footprint of any building, we are constantly innovating and customising our products to fulfil the needs of our consumers,” Gurmeet said.

For the residential segment, Hitachi’s Room ACs are designed with I-Care philosophy at its heart. The products come enabled with technologies that ensure efficient performance and optimised cooling which suit and fulfil the needs of customers. “Our inverter ACs range uses R-410A refrigerant which is eco-friendly and ensures minimum ozone layer depletion. We also offer ACs with WIFI Technology which enables the user of AC to control it from anywhere in the world,” informs Gurmeet.

For the commercial building segment, Johnson Controls-Hitachi offers VRF systems and water cooled screw chillers. Designed keeping in mind the needs of Architects and HVAC Consultants, Hitachi’s SET-FREE Kyosho Range of VRF air conditioning offers a holistic approach to air conditioning in modern offices. These units are capable of cooling and heating, offers flexibility of installation, operates at impressively low noise levels and adapts to the varied temperature requirements of different rooms within a building. Its DC Inverter driven compressor saves energy and is cost effective. It comes enabled with an air-conditioning management system that makes it easier for users to have simple, effective control of their air-conditioning units to avoid unnecessary energy wastage, including overheating, overcooling and unattended operation. And with R-410A refrigerant, it is eco-friendly as well.

For commercial and industrial requirements, the company’s water cooled screw chillers offer highly efficient cooling solution. With R134A eco-friendly refrigerant, it delivers superior performance and flawless functioning. With its precise and continuous capacity control technology, user friendly LCD touch panel and high performance twin screw compressor, it provides cooling with low noise and low vibrations which is ideal for industrial and commercial purposes.

According to Sanjeev Sseth, Country Leader HVAC and Transport – India and SAARC Markets, Asia Pacific, Ingersoll Rand said, “Smart cities are evaluated in myriad dimension to garnish business opportunities. Ingersoll Rand business interest would vest in the energy side of infrastructure and mobile air-conditioning, refrigeration in transportation space which supports ‘smart’ solutions for the ‘smart cities’.”

He adds, “There is enough scope for efficient and green buildings in the infra space with both new and retrofit air-conditioning requirements. With government announcing the smart cities project these green initiatives will be become common place and more sustainable.”

The products by Ingersoll Rand are innovative, customer focused and designed to benefit a gamut of industries including commercial real estate, healthcare, hospitality, industrial and infrastructure. Existing R123 refrigerant used chillers and future engineered conversion are sustainable and good for environment. The Sintesis chiller which is part of the Ingersoll Rand Eco Wise portfolio increases energy efficiency and reduce the greenhouse gas emission. EcoWise products are designed to lower environmental impact with next-gen low-GWP refrigerants and high-efficiency operation.

Smart Building Materials
Slag cement and GGBFS can be used in almost all concrete applications. It has been observed that when cement and ground-granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS) is replaced with ground granulated blast furnace slag, the durability and long term compressive strength of concrete increases.

“Use of slag cement and GGBFS in concrete reduces the environmental impact of concrete by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating about 0.85 tonnes of carbon dioxide for each tonne of portland cement replaced. It also requires less energy than to produce PSC cement as compared to OPC cement,” said Lopamudra Sengupta, Technical Service Head, JSW Cement.
Slag cement and GGBFS usually decreases water demand by 1 per cent to 10 per cent, depending on dosage of slag. Mass concrete design often takes advantage of the delayed strength gain of pozzolans as these structures are often not put into full service immediately. Slow early strength gain resulting from the use of these supplementary cementitious materials is an advantage in hot weather construction, as it allows more time to place and finish the concrete.
Lopamudra further opines that GGBFS can also be combined separately with OPC in site batching plant or in ready-mix plants to make concrete. While using GGBS in concrete the percentage of replacement of clinker is much greater with respect to flyash-based concrete or PPC concrete. “With flyash up to 35 per cent of replacement possible whereas with slag replacement levels are as high as 70 per cent. By using the PSC and GGBS in construction the user can get their construction certified as green building,” she adds.

Smart Lighting
Sustainable, energy efficient and IoT-enabled public infrastructure being one of the focus areas for any smart city movement is opening up tremendous opportunities for companies involved in public lighting and buildings.

Bajaj Electricals has recently embarked on digital journey across all its Business Units to provide solutions that not only meet current needs but are futuristic, evolving with time and sustainable to make world a better and smarter place for generations to come, informed the company’s Executive President & Country Head for Luminaires Segment, R. Sundararajan.

With this philosophy, Bajaj Electricals has come up with various IoT enabled digital offerings for smart city including but not limited to: Smart outdoor lighting and smart poles; and Smart indoor lighting and integrated building management system.

Smart outdoor lighting and smart poles enable urban rural municipal or local governing bodies, industrial areas and large campuses alike to leverage internet of things technology for making all types of their outdoor lighting smart with latest range of LED luminaires fitted with sensors which can be programmed to work automatically as desired.
“Smart indoor lighting along with our integrated building management solution covering building management system, fire detection system, gas suppression system, access control system, surveillance system etc. provides a single ceiling IoT enabled cloud based solution for making entire buildings or campuses smart,” said Sundararajan.

Lighting plays a major role in shaping a smart city. LEDs will provide the long life and the quality factor, that will be beneficial to these kind of cites and areas, said Rambo Zhang, India Head, Opple Lighting.

Opple Lighting has launched a set of innovative lights that fit the smart cities. It has also pioneered revolutionary products with features like flicker-free light to avoid headache, migraine, dizziness, impaired intellectual and visual performance and anti-glare luminaire design to reduce the effect of glare. Along with the above mentioned ones, the brand has also worked on the multi-shadow while preserving high optical efficiency, high illumination uniformity and low unified glare rating.

Smart Fenestration
Fenestration plays a key role in making a city smart. Lingel Windows & Doors Technologies Pvt Ltd is one of the leading players in this domain. Commenting on the business opportunities out of smart city movement, the company’s Managing Director Mario Schmidt said, “For the 100 announced smart cities Pan India, I personally see a huge demand for uPVC windows. But for the affordable low-end housing segment, pricing will be still a big challenge.” He further adds, “Considering all the inputs on special raw materials, we do not see currently any scope of reduction in prices without lowering of purchase cost of materials such as PVC or reinforcement EPDM and glass.”

uPVC is being considered as a sustainable product for smart cities as it has a long life span and once installed one need not worry about it for the rest of their life. The product is also safe for consumers as it is environment friendly. Lingel provides complete profile, technology as well as service to its customers.

According to Schmidt, another innovation that will help smart cities will be the introduction of Smart Li which will connect all devices and make life easy and convenient. “All details related to weather, doors being open, security and even air purifier these amazing features and information can be received on the mobile. These innovative offerings by Lingel will surely help this segment,” Schmidt claims.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *