The recent World Cities Summit, Singapore presented a plethora of technologies for building smart cities. World Cities Summit is a biennial meet held at Singapore. It is an exclusive platform to discuss liveable and sustainable city challenges, display integrated urban solutions and create opportunities for forging new partnerships. Primarily, this summit helps government representatives and corporate decision makers understand and explore the latest trends on Smart Cities.
This year summit consisted of several key sections like Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Lecture & Forum, Mayors Forum, Young Leaders Symposium, Plenary Sessions and Thematic Tracks etc. The event hosted many established corporate representatives, startup spokespersons, academic researchers and of course delegates from many government departments.
Reflecting on the prime theme of the summit, ‘collaboration’ was touted as the catalyst for creating smart and liveable cities. Several parallel sessions were held and each of them had its own priority agenda to discuss challenges, find solutions and explore possibilities of developing partnerships.
Every country on the world map is looking at intelligent ways and means for urban planning and sustainability. At the Summit, all the countries showcased several innovative ideas, which included solutions for a single building to cities to a country at its widest end. Some of the ideas took the centre stage at the Summit and were highly brilliant and much beyond the highest mark of excellence that we find in practice around the globe today.
Dassault Systèmes, the creator of the virtual 3D model of the city of Singapore- 3DEXPERIENCity had its presence in the Summit in a big way. During the plenary session on July 9, Mr. Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO of Dassault Systèmes stressed on the need for innovation through collaboration, he explained in detail how digital platforms enable sustainable urban development, and why cities must embrace innovative ideas & solutions for making them more livable and sustainable.
The Indian sub-continent was represented by several representatives from leading corporates and state governments. This increased representation from India reflects the country’s aspirations to build Smart Cities. However, mere acquiring technologies are not enough; each technology must be evaluated for its effectiveness to support the smart city initiatives in an integrated way.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh has an ambitious plan to build a smart city across its new capital Amaravati. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu also addressed the audience in the plenary session of the Summit, and he participated in one of the panel discussions. He revealed his earnest desire to convert Amaravati into a smart city soon.
Although many people may think that Indian cities are not fully equipped to venture for Smart Cities, it is inevitable at this juncture.. We need to build wonderful, smart cities in different pockets of our sub-continent as soon as possible. Why not Amaravati to show the smart way!
Smart city building
A smart city builds around a combination of multiple smart approaches pursued around (for example) ensuring seamless water supply, 24X7 quality power supply, efficient design & planning, robust infrastructure, sound traffic management, modern building management, good connectivity, fail-safe design of safety & security systems and so on. Thus, it is evident that such a holistic plan cannot be made in silos. The challenge comes from matching, fitting and tracking several best practices, and when that co-ordination fails, the sum of the best efforts leads to a complete collapse.
Many Indian states are now keen to develop smart cities, literally, some are thinking of replicating Singapore. Thus, under Indian circumstances as on date, the dazzling question is ‘how to’ in front of the burning desire ‘to do.’ There is one and only one solution to translate the Indian smart city aspirants’ thoughts into achievements and that is called ‘collaboration’ – collaboration between the government departments, corporates and even with the investors and citizens through social media.
Dassault Systèmes was recognized this year as the world’s most sustainable company, in part for the sustainability value of our 3DEXPERIENCE platform on domains like cities. Making urban innovation social, the virtual world extends and improves the real world. Mobility, for example, is no longer confined to the automotive sector. Innovative ecosystems bringing together local authorities, industrial firms, tradespeople, and citizens are digitally inventing smart new transport solutions. 3DEXPERIENCity lets these ecosystems collaboratively see and evaluate the ‘what-ifs’ of where they live, work and commute, before committing any resources to create the future. This is the new reality.”
At the Summit the constant thought was how we can align Dassault Systèmes’ support with the goal of India’s journey towards developing smart cities. How we can accelerate the momentum based on our priorities, which may create cities even better than Singapore.
The strongest forte of our support to the state governments lies in our ability to build the entire city in a virtual 3D environment – including all its components like buildings, bridges, car parks, public parks, railway stations and so on. Contextually, some people may argue that even a simple animation can do it. On the contrary to that, what we do is much more vast, flexible and artful to accommodate several new ideas through collaboration. A simple animation gives the look that – what a city will look like, but we put intelligent information in the data environment. More clearly, when we build a virtual infrastructure, our dataset captures all the bills of materials of each and every component that goes into the structure. We also simulate the design for all possible odd situations like earthquake, cyclone and so on. The simulation is not only for assessing impacts of the unwholesome elements but also for the comfort of the citizens. For example, during building design, we care for the entry of natural air, light etc. We build virtual data first to create public utilities – after understanding the land acquisition prospect and considering the permissions required to commission the project. Then we design the project collaborating with multiple authorities like power department, water department, PWD department etc.
Dassault Systèmes as a partner
The Summit showcased many innovative concepts on electric mobility, renewable energy generation & storage, water supply et al. All these are good concepts when existed as isolated systems, but in a smart city they will all have to work together to yield the most optimized result. How to ensure that optimization? Yes, we have the solution to that answer.
Each such system whether it is for power supply, traffic control or crowd management, home or road safety – we can simulate that in advance and review as per a smart city’s unique requirement.
Once the design is optimized and the construction permit is delivered, we can support the government agency or corporate to monitor the progress of the project before making payments, using the techniques like satellite or drone monitoring, which helps in accelerating the progress of the project.
In a developing country like India, where resources are limited and cost control is the most prevalent priority, our open option for simulating materials used in construction offers a good opportunity to optimize material costs for any project. At the same time, close monitoring helps in eliminating the cost escalation due to delay.
The World Cities Summit, Singapore turned out to be a great platform to showcase knowledge and make us walk through the corridors of emerging technologies and concepts. For us in Dassault Systèmes, it was an appropriate opportunity to show the world how we can help them in turning all the smart city dreams into reality.
However, in India, we have to adopt those available concepts in an integrated manner. India’s smart city aspiration will see success if and only if the best technologies are adopted and used in innovative ways. Capacity planning through skill development for smart cities will make sure that the workforce of the future will be able to deliver. India has a great opportunity, to become the global leader, considering the talent we have – and the opportunity in the identified cities included under the smart cities programme.