Convergence of IoT and BPM for Smarter Cities

By: Virender Jeet – Sr. VP Technology, Newgen Software

A report published by the United Nations suggests that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. The fast-growing, worldwide urbanization has taken government agencies by storm. The unprecedented population growth in the urban areas pose various challenges towards successful development of these areas.

The Smart City initiative promises citizens a better livelihood and advanced infrastructure through optimized resource utilization, enhanced quality of life and efficient service delivery. With urbanization gaining momentum, it presents a strong case for government agencies to leverage the modern, cutting-edge technologies and realize citizens’ dream of a smart city.

Make Way for a Smart Lifestyle

Talking of smart cities, some of the features that citizens will witness are round-the-clock video surveillance, driverless public transit systems, smart parking, and others. To deliver all of the above and more, it is technology that will spearhead this initiative. Technologies from fixed broadband networks offering gigabit connections, mobile networks facilitating 4G and 5G internet networks to Internet of Things (IOT) will form the foundational infrastructure of smart cities. Smart Cities are set to offer host of benefits with smarter services such as:

  • Waste Management – Realize cleaner cities with sensor-fitted waste containers. The sensors would detect the capacity of the container and collect waste accordingly, preventing waste spillage and deposition on roads
  • Disaster Management – Detect changing weather conditions and deliver pre-alert to citizens in case of emergency situations such as flood, tsunami, and others. Capture information from various authorized sources and publish across various platforms such as Social Media, SMS, WhatsApp, etc.
  • Transport & Traffic Management – In case of a road accident, the sensors send an update to the traffic control department. The department then sends a pre-alert to the commuters, avoiding unnecessary congestions
  • Water Management – Immediately detect any water leakages in the water distribution system and request for pipeline maintenance, ensuring optimum utilization of resources
  • e-Municipality – Enable Municipal departments to optimize multiple processes such as Building Plan approval, Certificate issuance, Scheme and Policy management, etc. Enhance service delivery by offering services through different modes such as online portal, mobile apps, and Kiosks.

Laying the Infrastructure for Smarter Cities

With internet-connected devices and smart objects spread across the entire city, it stands to offer a lot more. In a city with over thousand of sensors, the amount of data generated would be humongous. The key is to leverage the data in the right context and make sense of it. IoT definitely plays a critical role but, to truly unleash the potential of a smart city, the generated data needs to be aligned with the processes.

Leveraging internet-connected devices and a business process management (BPM) system together can transform every aspect of a city’s daily tasks by automating processes and optimizing outcomes. Here’s how BPM helps build smarter cities:

  • Enhanced e-Governance: Smart cities will allow for seamless collaboration between citizens and government agencies by creating a strong interconnection through secure information flow. With sensors generating mammoth amount of data, the system would empower government departments to easily access this data, archive and analyze with smart content analytics to extract contextual information. The information can then be used to improve citizens’ quality of life by offering responsiveness services, and detecting opportunities and threats through past trend analysis
  • Breaking the silos: Implementing different technologies at state level results in siloed information and systems. For a smart city framework to efficiently work, it is vital to break the silos and allow systems to seamlessly collaborate. Leveraging BPM’s extensive integration capabilities enable smooth transactions and secure information flow across these systems. It enables effective decision making by ensuring that all key decision makers and stakeholders gain easy access to the information, resulting in optimal outcomes
  • Real-time Processing: From street lights, transport fleet to waste-collecting trucks, every object would initiate an event. The key is to effectively capture and track these events, comprehend data and initiate the workflow in real-time. BPM allows you to capture events from IoT devices, sensors and external applications and triggers associated actions in real-time. The platform assesses trends in real-time, and fast-tracks service delivery, fostering operational intelligence and business responsiveness
  • Rapidly adapt to change- Evolving needs of tech-savvy citizens demand agencies to embrace change and deliver high citizen experience. Consequentially, a smart city will constantly evolve depending on the citizens’ needs, industry best practices, economic climate, socio-political and technological advancements. This demands for systems which allow cities to optimize and continuously improve implemented processes. With BPM as the underlying platform, these processes can be easily and cost-effectively adapted and optimized

Increasing urbanization and digitization are paving way for a Digital Society. And, this society demands for smarter cities build on collaborative digital platforms. With BPM and IoT working hand-in-hand, it forms a robust foundation for smarter cities. BPM with its intelligent engine supports definition, subscription and handling of all internal and external events triggered by sensors, devices or external applications. It offers capabilities to manage process exceptions and trigger actions associated with every event, allowing responsive and enhanced service delivery.

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