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IoT Smart-City Solutions Offer New Opportunities for SIs

IoT smart city

Picture a stalled escalator in an airport. How often have you stopped and reported the problem to the right authorities? In the time that maintenance personnel find and fix the issue, that minor inconvenience might cascade into a series of headaches for transit management.

The damaged escalator is a stand-in for larger challenges cities face every day.

Systems, however small, break often. There are not enough eyes to alert the right personnel before these minor issues escalate into bigger problems and cost cities money. “There is a large physical space that relies on people-based intervention, which means we are depending on an individual’s expertise and training. This leads to added costs, time lags, and impacts the user experience,” says Ashish Khare, General Manager and Global Practice Head for IoT and Smart Cities at Wipro Technologies, a provider of comprehensive IT/OT solutions and services.

IoT-based intelligence helps solve these problems and reduce operational costs. Cities need a centralized IoT platform, Khare says, “To connect the physical and the virtual world, to manage operations centrally, and automate intelligently with minimal human intervention.”

An IoT-enabled smart city need not depend on people to report a broken escalator or elevator or traffic signal. Facility managers can exercise digital control over a physical world, know of the problem even before it happens, and fix it proactively.

AI Offers Digital Insights

Data derived with the help of computer vision and IoT feed machine learning & AI algorithms. When combined with managed lifecycle services, such algorithms can increase revenue opportunities and reduce operational costs for a wide range of markets—from cities to retail to healthcare.

Before these technologies can contribute, though, they must frequently navigate barriers. There is the problem of heterogeneous communication protocols—not all devices speak the same language, which complicates the job of harnessing data and gathering insights.

Reliable internet connectivity to access and act on insights at the edge is another challenge. After all, bridging the physical OT and digital IT worlds does not count for much if you cannot access insights in real time at the edge.

Finally, an ad hoc approach has led to data silos. “Multiple locations, multiple systems, and multiple tracks have been solved by fringe solutions with different technology players,” Khare says. “Such splintered IoT deployments are difficult to manage.”

A central open-architecture solution like Wipro’s Smart i-Connect platform can help solve these challenges. The platform and managed services fall under operating expenditures, so cities need not break budgets with steep upfront capex costs.

Wipro’s Smart i-Connect platform leverages distributed computing with assured and secured communication, which enables cities to undertake IoT-based automations at scale.

Wipro Smart i-Connect also enables cities to adopt a modular approach to implementation and scale their ambitions gradually: They bite off only what they can chew.

In an #IoT #SmartCity, sensors on escalators will keep an eye on temperature and vibration profiles to alert maintenance staff when one is about to go out of service. @wipro via @insightdottech

A Smooth Takeoff for City Airports

Take the case of an airport where, among other achievements, Wipro’s Smart i-Connect solution optimized staffing and improved the traveler experience.

It is not news that passengers hate waiting in long security lines before they fly. What a few may not realize is that airport management does not like those lines either. After all, the more time passengers spend in security, the less time they have, and the less money they spend at airport stores and restaurants.

Wipro uses booking data and flight schedules and the flow of passengers to determine peak times during the day. Knowing the ebb and flow patterns of passengers helped management staff security areas for faster service. IoT-driven image analytics and proximity sensors help everything from queue management to offering restaurant deals to customers based on location.

Wipro works with systems integrators to provide the stand-alone Wipro Smart i-Connect platform or integrate it with in-house managed services. Intel® technology underlies the high-performance edge systems required for real-time analytics. And the Intel® OpenVINO Toolkit facilitates edge AI and computer vision-based applications from IoT-derived data.

IoT Tech Delivers ROI Across Industries

Using IoT to drive efficiencies need not apply to airports alone. Complete water lifecycle management for parched cities or optimizing the customer experience so the public will use public transit more often–these are just a few of the many ways IoT can help industries achieve desired outcomes.

The return on investment becomes apparent over time with costs and operational efficiencies easy to measure. An improved customer (or traveler) experience will show up as increased revenue.

In airports, there is an indirect long-term impact from a frictionless travel experience: better ratings for airports, which in turn can drive traffic. “Travelers do choose their transit hubs based on how easy their experience is,” Khare says.

Khare predicts IoT deployment will become ubiquitous just like the mobile phone. “Everything will become increasingly connected,” Khare says. “Intelligence and control for efficiencies will always be required.” Expect a future where smart engineered IoT is woven into the very fabric of our lives.

As for that broken escalator in the airport? You might not find one too often. In an IoT smart city, sensors on escalators will keep an eye on temperature and vibration profiles to alert maintenance staff when one is about to go out of service.

The next time you pass through an airport, expect fewer glitches and more time for a snack before boarding your flight.


This article was edited by Georganne Benesch, Associate Editorial Director for

About the Author

Poornima Apte is a trained engineer turned technology writer. Her specialties run a gamut of technical topics from engineering, AI, IoT, to automation, robotics, 5G, and cybersecurity. Poornima's original reporting on Indian Americans moving to India in the wake of the country's economic boom won her an award from the South Asian Journalists’ Association. Follow her on LinkedIn.

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