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Leveraging Emerging Technologies For Efficient Smart Cities

While many cities are still working on improving their infrastructure, the more advanced smart cities are using technologies such as AI, ML, IoT, and big data to support sustainable development, meet residents' rising expectations and improve resilience

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Technology and data are the building blocks of a smart city. It utilises these to improve outcomes across every aspect of operations to ultimately offer a better quality of life to its residents. The key to a smart city is to unlock the potential of data and influence decision-making. 

 While many cities are still working on improving their infrastructure, the more advanced smart cities are using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of things (IoT), and big data to support sustainable development, meet residents' rising expectations and improve resilience. 

With this in mind, there are some key areas where technology and data are making a tremendous difference to life in a smart city. 

Smart Waste Management 

Mature smart cities are leveraging IoT for efficient waste management. By connecting bins across the city through IoT sensors, information such as which bins are full or overflowing with garbage is sent to the authorities or the agencies involved so that the garbage can be collected on time. This helps in many ways, the most visible one is getting rid of an unhygienic environment. This information also helps the workers to plan their pick-up route better and more efficiently. 

Moreover, by collecting data from these bins more patterns can be unlocked that can help in taking a more informed decision. For example,  depending on how soon bins around certain localities are filling up, authorities can decide to deploy more bins or make appropriate changes in the waste collection time schedules in order to minimise the environmental impacts. 

In addition, over a period of time, this can also help in understanding the lifestyles, consumption patterns, and attitudinal behavior of people. Overall, IoT-based waste management helps in improving the standard of living by enhancing governance, cutting down costs, and improving energy efficiency. 


A smart city sustainability initiative is considered one of the best strategies to tackle various challenges posed by rapid urbanisation. Big data, IoT, cloud technology, and smart grids can enable the sustainable cities of tomorrow. For example, voltage fluctuations and power outages are quite common in India.  

Smart grids can play a crucial role in alleviating such issues and can also help in turning cities into smart and sustainable cities. A Smart grid is an electrical grid with automation, communication, and IT systems that can monitor power flow from points of generation to points of consumption and control the power flow or curtail the load to match generation in real-time or near real-time. 

Increasing visibility, predictability, and even control of generation and demand bring flexibility to both generation and consumption of energy and therefore help the city become more energy efficient. Capturing and analyzing data helps in unlocking patterns that ultimately enable the system to predict so that the agencies or the governing bodies can take more informed decisions and actions. 

Data and Storage 

Data is fundamental to IoT devices that provide foundations for various smart city use cases. Big data collected from various sources is analyzed to inform decisions and policies to improve the quality of life. This data must be captured and stored so that it can be analyzed. Therefore, storage becomes extremely important for smart cities, but different types of storage are needed depending on the requirement. 

India is working aggressively toward the smart city initiative to offer a better life to the residents. Smart cities are also being developed rapidly to accommodate the expansion of urbanization and to face the challenges posed by it. Data and data-driven technologies are crucial for smart cities to become smarter and more sustainable. Therefore, the importance of storage technologies will continue to grow.

(About the author: Khalid Wani is Senior Director – Sales, India, Western Digital)

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.

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Khalid Wani

Director, Sales - India, Western Digital

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