Smart City is a term that has been increasingly used in recent years and generally refers to the application of new software and hardware technologies, as well as to the leading infrastructure in metropolitan management, with the goal of facilitating people’s lives, reducing costs and optimizing resources. The purpose of the Smart City is not only to use new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning, but also to solve or reduce real problems in urban life to meet the needs of citizens and make optimal use of available resources. A Smart City is a city where specific processes, such as management of communication and information, are interconnected and new technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence are used to improve operations. These services are often based on intelligent automation and infrastructure technologies and are designed to also manage public services such as energy management, water resources management and waste collection.
Smart City areas
With a variety of elements in an urban environment, there exist various domains in a Smart City, including smart parking, smart buildings, smart lighting, smart businesses, etc., all of which can be viewed under this broad concept. Different departments within a smart city can be categorized under the following macro groups, and through new technologies, each department can be revamped and ‘smartened up” for better all-around efficiency.
- Transportation: new software platforms, new means of transportation, parking management, traffic management and logistics management, self-driving cars, etc.
- Security: Security infrastructure, CCTV, cyber security, smart police and so on.
- Economy:, innovative new businesses, smart tourism, smart retail, industrial IoT, optimization of production, smart tourism, smart financial and commercial exchanges, etc.
- Governance: open data, e-government, smart meters, developed infrastructure, energy management and smart grid.
- Community: smart health, entertainment, education, etc.
- Green and clean: smart homes, smart streets lighting, water consumption management, environmental resource management such as parks, waste management, etc.
NOBKA activities in the field of Smart City
With a focus on new technologies, in 2016 Nobka Company established its strategy targeting the development of Smart City and IoT technology in Iran. The fundamental approach of the management team of the company from the start has been to develop and localize new hardware and software technologies. Nobka has achieved this goal by primarily investing in mature startups in those technologies as well as providing financial and commercial support to other leading startups. Alongside these investments, the Company has also developed its technical team to meet these needs. In the last few years, the company has been able to participate in various areas of activity of a Smart City and has succeeded in implementing diverse projects in the field. These include the manufacture and production of smart building products based on IoT wireless technology (smart lighting, smart switches and sockets and relays, smart home appliances, smart air conditioning), smart parking on the IoT platform (smart mechanical locks and IoT sensors), Intelligent irrigation systems (sensors and actuators), waste management, and intelligent lighting of roads and streets. Some of these projects have been the first of their kind in the country.
Nobka’s mission is to provide the necessary technologies and infrastructure to make cities smarter and improve the quality of life by applying cutting-edge know-how and by supporting creative ideas and local startups. The goal is to have an impact on economic development and have an effective presence in domestic and international markets. Nobka, relies on their knowledge-based and creative sub-groups to enable cities and organizations expand their vision of Smart Cities by developing sustainable solutions, and through using best practices and custom solutions. Nobka’s team uses the latest technologies and designs in in building Smart Cities. Nobka’s vision is to create modern cities and build the necessary framework to achieve the desired quality of life for citizens and integrated businesses, as well as promote a clean and sustainable environment with optimal use of resources to preserve it for future generations.
Smart City requirements
The success of smartening cities primarily requires the existence of well-codified and macro-governance programs, the support of governments, municipalities and the existence of necessary infrastructure. All planning steps should be carefully worked out with experienced consultants, both at the management level and at the technology level based on the needs and priorities of each city. Required infrastructure and solutions should be identified for each project. After creating and establishing the infrastructure and arranging the necessary facilities, the comprehensive program is divided into executive sub-sections and the service providers and manufacturers each complete a part of this puzzle. All projects and sub-projects must be in accordance with this macro program in terms of purpose, function and technology.
Smart City implementation in Iran
In Iran, smart urban planning projects have not yet been pursued and implemented in an integrated and coherent manner despite the existence of technological potentials and real-life challenges. In metropolitan cities such as Tehran, units and working groups have been established under the Municipal Information and Communication Technology Organization which have taken steps to provide electronic services to citizens. Among the topics of the Smart Cities, smart parking has also received a lot of attention and multiple projects have been implemented regionally, which are mainly related to payment methods. Also, some practical steps have been taken in open data for the operation of companies and the participation of citizens in solving urban problems. But this amount of movement is still small compared to developed countries and the scope of change is still very limited.
Due to the problem of water shortage in Iran, smart agriculture and smart irrigation systems need more attention and support from related institutions. In tourism too, considering the potentials of Iran, the capacity seems to be very ready and available. Also, with respect to urban issues, areas that can be pursued with higher priority and speed are reducing traffic, parking management, as well as smartening buildings and offices to save energy and reduce waste of resources . No doubt, as mentioned, all these projects must be devised and guided based on careful planning for which obviously a suitable infrastructure is required.