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Artificial Intelligence and Disruptive Technologies Can Provide Much Impetus To India’s Smart City Programs

In the modern world, we cannot cross a street, sit on a metro, train, bus or even eat at our popular eateries or restaurants without seeing hordes of people around whose eyes will be glued to their smart phones and tablets.

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Technologies and Tools, which are artificially intelligent, have the potential to effect an automatic change in an electronic device to maximize performance, which will be like humans, but not by the humans.

In the modern world, we cannot cross a street, sit on a metro, train, bus or even eat at our popular eateries or restaurants without seeing hordes of people around whose eyes will be glued to their smart phones and tablets.

It’s even more interesting to learn that mobile users constitute half of the world population, and globally over a huge two million smart phones being sold each day. What should we call it? I guess it is a total impact of technology and innovation.

Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, in one of his recent talks, invoked managers and business leaders of the world to create local opportunities and, among other important things; he emphasized the needs to use more new tools, technology and innovation.

No matter, how much an expert emphasizes, implicit or explicit, but by the end of the day we must adapt and apply them as per the recommendations, and of course in the light of our own intrinsic feeling and judgment.

On the other hand, even Sundar Pichai CEO Google Inc., has expressed similar views on technology, and has said that Google is moving towards an AI-first approach in its products, which means very soon, everything we do on Google will be powered by machine learning.

Now, coming back to Satya Nadella’s points, it would only be appropriate to discuss and understand about the future technologies and innovations what these profound experts feel will become the order of the day in future.

If, we evaluate their opinions, we find a clear hint towards, i.e., AI, Cloud, IoT, Big Data, Analytics, Robotics, Engineering Services and etc. Hence, it’ll be good if we discuss and create a basic understanding about them.

Artificial Intelligence
The modern day computers or electronic devices need human intelligence to operate and function which could be visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making or translation between languages.

On the contrary, when an electronic device which is just not solely dependent on human intelligence, or a command, or an instruction; rather than can take stand alone decisions by perceiving the environment and intangible stimuli, and apply them to automatically maximize functions and chances of success at some goal.

In other simple words, when a machine starts to mimic the cognitive functions of a human to another human being, such as learning and problem solving. We then refer these tendencies of the machine as “Artificial Intelligence”, i.e., tendencies which are like humans but not by the humans.

The application of AI might look like a science fiction, but if we look around, we find we’re already using them. In a retail shop, for example, the sensors which are installed have the inbuilt intelligence to alert you if an article is moved, stolen or misplaced.

AI is currently going through a deep of research as well, so that its use and potential can be fully tapped. It is at the heart of everything digital around us, from smart phones to making auto-driven cars.

Further ahead, there are intrinsic researches to develop and maximize the processing capabilities of CPU through specially designed ARMs chips which claim to maximize performance.

The ARM's based CPU architecture will mix multiple different processing cores in one, with each one tailored for the right software, including a dedicated processor which will be allocated for handling AI algorithms and, hence chipmakers will be able to develop CPUs with up to eight cores. The ARMs CPU will be extremely powerful and will maximize performance up to 50 times.

IoT or “Internet of Things”
In my previous article, I have already discussed about “Internet of Things”. But, it would be important to discuss it briefly again, as these are closely related terms and at times look interdependent and overlapping in meaning.

Simply put, ‘Internet of Things’ is a concept of connecting any device which has an on and off switch to the internet, and in addition if it has also been allocated an IP. You can include everything from smart phones, headphones, wearable devices, washing machines, coffee machines, fax, health devices, smart watches and almost anything that is digital.

Typically, such a scenario means a complete wired connection and an envelope of information. It will provide us seamless information across all devices to enable us with meaningful data, insights, information and inputs to carry out, or monitor our work to increase efficiency.

For example, give clues to accidents and crimes in smart cities, give a surgeon insight into information from pacemakers or bio-chips, assist a more optimized productivity across industries through predictive maintenance on machinery and equipment and etc.

Big Data
Big Data, the name itself suggests towards a huge chunk of data or a complex form of data, which in normal circumstances our data processing software programs are not able to process to give us significant insights and inferences.

Further ahead, things are not limited to deducing insights from data but capturing, storing, analyzing, searching, sharing, transferring and in keeping the privacy. I mean Big Data looks far simpler than actually it is in its real term.

Simply put, Big data is a term that is referred to a large chunk of data which could be both structured and unstructured, that floods our businesses daily. However, it’s not the amount of data that’s important for an organization. But, what we do with it is more important, in terms of application, inferences and to deduce meaningful insights which could aid the organization in making effective and strategic decisions.

Analytics is a comprehensive field where we discover, interpret, and identify crucial patterns in data which an organization gathers from multiple sources. However, these decisions and insights are deduced through the use of advanced application, statistics, computer programming and operational research mechanism.

In short, we all know in a highly complex market or modern day business, you can’t wait or have enough time to make quick decisions, but the tools of analytics have given you the opportunity to make quick decisions through the use of pre-qualified data, graphs, trends and insights. These tools aid and make your decision making ability ever stronger, and of course, in addition you can always apply your gut and experience.

Primarily, the area of analytics includes predictive and prescriptive analytics, enterprise decision management, retail analytics, store assortment, stock optimization, risks and fraud analytics. It requires massive computation, algorithms, software and the most recent tools and techniques of computer science, statistics and mathematics.

Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the mechanism to provide computer services—servers, databases, storage, networking, software, analytics and multiple other things—over the Internet, i.e., the whole range of congregated services are called “cloud”. And, the firms providing these services are called cloud providers and typically they bill you for cloud services as per your usage, i.e., like the bills and consumption of your electricity at home or it is a kind of “pay as you go mobile services”.

Robotics is the branch of technology which is a combination of multiple disciplines i.e., engineering, science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and etc. Robots are prepared using all these technologies but again it’ll take few more years before being thoroughly implemented on a much larger scale.

But, its limited use in critical areas can bring in quite significant benefits like detecting dangerous items and objects to our environment which could be hazardous chemicals, destructive devices and etc.

In digital architecture and infrastructure, robotics may even transform the whole mechanism of delivery, automation, maintenance, operation and etc. Further ahead, we already know how use of robotics has helped our scientists and astronauts in their mission and exploration of object in the space programs.

In the current time of India’s Smart City Programs – which is the most ambitious plan envisioned and championed by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of creating more than 100 smart cities, the application of these technologies can play a much faster role to realize the goals. I have earlier suggested some of the new and old IT firms which could play a critical role here, i.e., Happiest Minds, Cognizant, Wipro, Infosys, Mind Tree and others.

It will be only appropriate to mention, Happiest Minds which is a relatively newer IT firm, has got a slew of unique IT services and which has the potential to effect a quick digital turnaround through the effective use of AI, IoT, Big Data, Analytics and through the use of Engineering Services.

In a simple home, there are more than 20 electronic devices which can be synchronized and linked together to make a digitally smart home. We then can assume the benefits and potential that will be there for a digitally smart city.

It is important here to throw some lights on statistics, while we discuss the smart city programs, which are coincidentally hogging the limelight in every government departments, to turn urbanization into a positive movement.

As per McKinsey by 2030, there will be close to 600 million people who will reside in Indian cities, which will require huge infrastructure to support the ever expanding urban population, through the smart city projects. It is also estimated that there will be a need of investment worth USD 1.2 trillion as capital expenditure in its cities in the next 20 years to meet the expectation of the ambitious plan.

On the other hand, we must need to identify the areas where these technologies can help in building a more efficient smart city, aligned well with Narendra Modi’s vision. I feel and highly recommend, these technologies can help solve few of our intrinsic challenges in the cities, i.e., provide better traffic management, waste and garbage management, efficient lighting and energy solution, cyber safety and surveillance mechanism, smart connectivity and transport tracking system, quality education and library management, improvement in judicial and health services and etc.

Technology and Tools, which are artificially intelligent, undoubtedly not only can bring a positive change to our business, but have a massive potential to transform the life of the entire human race. And, last but not the least, it can further aid in building an unimaginatively stronger society, which will be digitally smart and transformed, in a real sense.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Syed S. Ahmed

The author is IT entrepreneur, writer, columnist and cricket enthusiast

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