After the personal computer and mobile phone, the major market driver for electronics and semiconductor industry is going to be the smart city. IOT is clearly the path towards that big opportunity. A smart city, kind of enforces smartness in every device or everything which is part of the city. The physical equivalent for the smartness is the semiconductor devices such as processor memory, sensor and other interface chips.
In an email interview Sapna Mongia, Head Technical Marketing and Application- Industrial and Power Discrete Group Business, STMicroelectronics India, provides more of a descriptive answers and ST's product solutions for these below questions on Smart city:
Q1. Can you define what is smartcity? What are technologies required to turn a normal city into smartcity?
Sapna Mongia: Smart City is a domestic, urban, or industrial environment that uses devices and sensors installed in various locations or objects as part of a coherently and cohesively-managed network. In a Smart City, data coming from the various ‘urban’ nodes can be used for efficient energy management, reduced environmental footprint, and improved maintenance ofpublic infrastructure and buildings.
Today, the “smart home” will continue to provide access to an ever-increasing range of entertainment, information and communication services. It is also playing a far greater role in many other aspects of our lives, including in health and wellness, domestic security and, particularly important, the need to use energy more efficiently. This efficiency helps minimize energy costs and contributes to developing a sustainable energy strategy to address climate change.
To convert a city to a smart city you need an IoT network comprising MCUs, sensors, Communication ICs, and power ICs, with extensive software. The total solution also comprises an integrated wireless sensor network platform that can monitor, control, and deliver Smart-City information and services. The platform can also be interfaced to motion, environmental sensing, and proximity sensor boards. The use of integrated technology platforms that are easily accessible across various devices provides access, transparency, speed and participation to public services. Conceptually, the Smart City will provide access to a range of networks offering applications that will provide exceptional efficiency for services.
Smart Cities will offer-
• Smart public lighting, smart power and gas metering, smart sensor nodes, smart buildings, smart parking, E- mobility, smart health care and smart garbage to efficiently improve smart city convenience and quality of life.
• Cutting-edge sensors and video authentication technology using RFID and Wireless sensor networks for advanced authentication.
• Continuously authentication of data acquired by sensors via location and condition validity checks. Since the amount of urban authentication data in a Smart City can be enormous, advanced NEC authentication technologies renowned for high-speed processing and precision are being employed to ensure genuine real-time authentication.
• Monitoring the normalcy of sensing, authentication, control and other conditions, so that alerts can be reported in real time to the required locations upon detection of anomalies.
• Cloud computing
2. What are the areas where smartcity concept can be leveraged (implemented) faster?
Sapna Mongia: Information Technology is changing the evolution of cities. The notion of “growing” cities based on implementing appropriate urban planning is being expanded to include the idea of making a city “smart.” The Internet is enabling planners to consider the physical planning of a city as well as using Information Technology to make the economy, environment, mobility and governance more efficient and effective.
When considering the implementation of a smart ICT plan for a city, the first step for any policymaker is to foster the development of a rich environment of broadband networks that support digital applications, ensuring that these networks are available throughout the city and to all citizens. In addition to wired broadband networks, wireless broadband is becoming even more in demand, especially with the popularity of mobile applications, smartphones, the connectivity of smart devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the increasing adoption of sensors and radio frequency identification (RFID). The use of Smart Devices and Agents and the accessibility of Data are essential for cities looking to become smart
Another example: Today’s smart solutions are enabling city leaders to reduce energy consumption and save money by upgrading municipal street lighting. LEDs are more efficient than incandescent, low-pressure sodium, and high-intensity discharge streetlights. In conjunction with a smart power supply, LED street lamps become intelligent devices that can gradually increase their brightness as daylight fades and automatically dim as the sun rises. They communicate with the smart grid and illuminate the path to the smart city. Digitally-controlled lighting is key to saving energy in outdoor lighting installations. ST’s plug-and-play solution can support power line modem and wireless modules for connectivity with the smart grid. As a result, many cities around the world are progressively adopting LED technology. For example Boston, Massachusetts had converted 40% of its electric streetlamps to LEDs and by the end of 2012 was already seeing annual electricity costs saving that were equivalent to 35% of that expense.
3. What present infrastructure is smartcity-ready and what type of present IT infrastructure does not support smartcity and requires replacement?
Sapna Mongia: Smart City development is typically not so easy. Roads, lights, parking lots, water supplies, and a whole range of Smart City applications need sensors, processing, and access to information. The pathways to this information, often don’t exist and need to be enabled—often through wireless channels. Similarly, the sensors, control mechanisms and power often aren’t in place, so fortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of smart city infrastructure that has to be replaced, though often it must be supplemented or installed.
4. And also, what personal devices should citizens own to access smart city facilities? Does these present smart phones or simple mobile phones smart enough for smart cities?
Sapna Mongia: Today, telecommunication systems play a very important role in the infrastructure of smart cities. A plethora of networked devices interact to provide safe, convenient and environmentally conscious new services. Residents in smart cities can enjoy their lives using these services, seamlessly and without even being aware of the existence of the networks. For people to enjoy the full benefit of smart cities, some kind of communication system must connect all manner of smart things, including people to each other, man to-machine, and machine-to-machine connections. Smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices today allow citizens to easily connect to many devices to get real-time data.
5. Can you share a good example of smart city enabling energy saving and reducing pollution? and any example on preventing disaster/fire etc..?
Sapna Mongia: ST’s offering includes solutions for smart street lighting, smart driving, smart parking, smart metering, smart garbage collection and smart homes. Our platform-ready solutions and ecosystem simplify and accelerate product development and reduce time-to-market. Our broad portfolio is enabling Smart Cities that improve residents’ quality of life by letting them do things while consuming less energy.
An example: unlike traditional streetlights, LED lighting is fully dimmable. So simply by adding, low-cost sensors and controllers, streetlights can automatically adjust their brightness to account for a range of dynamic conditions, including cloud cover, moonlight, vehicular traffic, and even the presence or absence of pedestrians. As the city of Boston found, when it replaced its HID streetlights with smart lighting, the associated energy and cost savings from this sort of "smart lighting" can be dramatic.
A prime example of ST’s commitment to Smart Cities is our STLUX line of digital controllers. These are the industry's first programmable controllers designed specifically for lighting applications. They combine low-cost with high functionality, and can easily be designed into new lighting products or retrofitted into existing lines. STLUX controllers represented such an advance in energy-efficient lighting that they received the prestigious CES Innovation Award for 2014.
Earlier this year at the Smart City Summit & Expo in Taipei, Tatung, Taiwan’s leading electronics company for smart home, building, and city solutions, showcased its Universal Developer Kit (UDK-21). It is a universal platform for smart home and building applications, such as electric-vehicle charging management, smart LED lighting, smart-grid, and home monitoring. It is powered by ST’s STreamPlug ST2100 system on chip (SoC).
6. How user-friendly is smart city concept to lesser educated people?
Sapna Mongia: In all of its various components—Smart Lighting, Smart Buildings, Smart Parking, Smart Energy--the Smart City concept is aimed squarely at increasing convenience, safety and economy. It is enormously user-friendly and any elements that fail the user-friendly test are the result of bad government or more likely, bad implementation.
7. What it takes to extend smart city concept to smart-town and smart-village? Can agriculture/farming benefit from such smart implementation?
Sapna Mongia: The beauty of Smart Things is that they can find value everywhere information can be transmitted and used to make things better. Whether that is in the home, in the car, in the office or factory, on land, on the ocean or in space. We are already involved in multiple farming applications, including a very interesting one to help eliminate the problem of the bee hive collapse.
8. Finally when it comes electronics and semiconductors? What are the technologies enabling smart city concept?
Sapna Mongia: The Smart City is an application of Internet of Things technologies. The elements that enable the IoT are processing and control, security, sensing, power, and communications. ST is unique in its ability to address all of these areas. We have all the hardware, software and tools that are necessary to make Smart Things, for Smart Cities and for other application areas:
- Sensors and micro-actuators sense and act
- Ultra-low power microcontrollers and security process information
- Ultra-low power communication modules connectivity makes the link
- Analog and mixed signal components translate the information
- Power and energy-management modules keep the system running in the most energy-efficient way
- Our broad portfolio will enable Smart Cities to improve our quality of life by doing smarter things while consuming less energy.
9. While smart city is designed to ensure safety of its citizen, security of smart-city tech itself is a big concern, what are the latest developments in security related aspects of smart city?
Sapna Mongia: With its leadership in Secure Microcontrollers and its expertise in various secure technologies, including its contribution to the latest and most secure SHA-3 algorithm, selected by the US National Institute of Science and Technology, ST is well placed to help ensure security in Smart City applications. The challenges are large, and every stage of the applications needs to be protected, but we’re working to make the products and tools available to do this. One example is our recently launched STSafe authentication and brand protection secure solution, which can act as a secure element for Smart Things
10. Can you give example of smart city implementation in Europe and elsewhere and what are the technologies ST is offering to such implementation?
Sapna Mongia: ST participated to Expo Milano 2015 with its partner ENEL to demonstrate innovative digital technologies. A “smart city” model was developed by means of innovative communication technologies, services and energy efficiency to show how these contribute to a better environment and quality of life. The Expo site is a “digital smart city”, whose citizens are the visitors. They can combine real and virtual experiences by participating actively in the exhibition and receiving detailed information on topics of interest, via their smart phones.
ST also participated in European Utility Week in Vienna in November2015 where we demonstrated how to deliver smart solutions for power and energy management for Smart cities. At our booth we demonstrated Future-Proof Smart-Grid Solutions with our STCOMET Power Line Communication Platform, which integrates three cores (power-line communication, microprocessor and metering function) plus a security engine that function together and can be programmed to satisfy local market requirements. This modular approach has enabled us to develop four products for Smart Grid programs since we launched STCOMET product at EUW last year. We have also obtained new standard certification extending the bandwidth to 500 kHz for Prime and G3, generating strong interest. STCOMET is being implemented in France in a program called SOGRID with ERDF / SAGEMCOM and NEXANS in the city of Toulouse. Successful experiments have been made passing communication signals over the medium voltage of the GRID. This project attracted a lot of interest in Vienna, and many customers are interested in the capabilities offered by our solution. The G3 Alliance, the Prime Alliance and the Meters & More Alliance were all displaying our STCOMET boards European Utility Week covers all major value streams from transmission to the end-user. ST and our partner A.P. Systems showed solutions in smart metering and smart lighting. ST’s technology allows A.P. Systems to keep the cutting-edge technology role that is well recognized by the market and ensures reduced time-to-market, highest quality and increased reliability in the available solutions.
At the Smart City Exhibition from October2015 in Bologna, we showed how our continuously evolving products and platforms enable efficient and sustainable electric smart grids and cutting-edge technology. Smart cities combine protection of the environment, energy efficiency and economic sustainability in a single urban model to improve quality of life and create new services for residents and local authorities. Our Smart City solutions enable the most modern network management and control systems, smart grids, electricity, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, climate monitoring, parking, traffic, waste management, and smart street lighting. These main nodes monitor and communicate environmental changes and incidents to big data management systems. Each city can build its own management system displayed on a single dashboard.
ST shares a vision with Tatung, Taiwan’s leading electronics company for smart home, building and city solutions. Internet of Things (IoT) allows people to transform regular systems into smart objects and systems. Leveraging the strength of both companies, Tatung and ST are developing a range of products from gateways to sensors to OEM modules to fuel the growth in smart buildings and grids. And by leveraging HomePlug AV/GP power line communication, we can create an overlay infrastructure with wireless sensor hubs that can almost instantly transform regular infrastructures into smart systems. The government is actively promoting the construction of smart cities throughout Taiwan. Today more than 1,000 smart city projects are underway. The Universal Developer Kit (UDK-21) launched by Tatung and ST was showcased at the exhibition. It is a universal platform for smart home and building applications like electric vehicle charging management, smart LED lighting, smart grid and home monitoring. It is powered by our STreamPlug ST2100 system on chip (SoC).
The Smart Grid end-to-end program in Toulouse, France includes, smart meters, energy sensors, renewable energy, electric vehicles and demand control management where real-time data is communicated through G3-PLC using our STCOMET over ERDF power grid.
Pic above: Sapna Mongia