Suresh Kumar KK makes a case for organisations to invest in creating infrastructure for smart cities.

Urbanization is a global trend – 50 per cent of the world today lives in cities. Traffic, Public Transport, Water, Waste, Energy, Environment and Citizen Security – are among the areas are facing tremendous challenges to cope up with the current and still increasing population. For example 30% of India lives in cities, which will increase to 40% by 2030. The average traffic speed in cities today is around 8 km/hour, air pollution levels are on the rise and even emergency assistance takes considerable amount of time.

Beyond the infrastructure development like roads, public transport, parking spaces, water distribution and solid waste management, these mega trends also drive the technology need for integration of devices, systems and services to optimize the performance, addition of services and creation of revenue models to meet the capital investment and operational expenses.

Smart Cities is a collective term for digitization of cities to make them more efficient, technologically advanced, greener, safer, and more socially equitable. Many solutions focus on urban mobility comprising of traffic, public transport and parking management targeting reduced commute time as well as emissions. Other areas of interest include security, energy, water, solid waste management and efficient administration of all resources and convenience for the citizens.

Smart Campus is a collective term for digitization of air/sea ports, large living/work places and commercial buildings to make them more efficient, effective and also complementing with smart cities for the benefits of tenants, owners, and investors.

Smart City/Campus Solutions are mega IoT solutions with sensors and cameras in the field, acquiring data, network switches/IoT gateways aggregating them, wireless or wired connectivity takes the data to the cloud and finally the software applications providing the targeted experience for the city/campus management and the end users. Of course these are some of the best use cases of IoT solutions and growth areas of the future and hence every organisation wants to be a serious player here though they will have only few ingredients to supply, build, deploy or operate these solutions.

The organisations need to be very clear about the value proposition of these ingredients while developing, acquiring or re-purposing them and also ensure alignment with the organisational culture and value proposition to be successful here for long.

The value proposition (not revenue) in the Smart City/Campus solutions in the increasing order would be:

1. Infrastructure: Civil works, Structures, Enclosures, Cabling, Installation, Wired/Wireless Connectivity, Operations and Maintenance.

2. Hardware components: Sensors, Cameras, Communication systems, In Vehicle computers, IoT gateways and Power supplies.

3. Software components: Software applications, Data/Video analytics and Platform software components.

4. Complete solution: End to End solution design, Hardware/Software selection, System integration and Solution deployment.

5. Software as service: Solution software for the recommended hardware, New features for the existing implementation and Data monetisation.

Once this is understood and established, the next step is to plan for the targets and investments for this new growth area. This is the time to figure out the possible share an organisation could get and the investment needs to be closer to the reality.

The typical share of different items in these solutions (clockwise in the picture):

1. Sensors, cameras – Occupancy and environment sensors, video cameras – 15%.

2. Information displays – On road/in vehicle displays, tablets, LED/projection/laser displays – 10%.

3. Fog computing devices – Typical edge computers in the field with the processing power of tablets/laptops – 5%.

4. Enclosures, power supplies – Enclosures for all the hardware, DC power supplies, batteries – 5%.

5. Network switch, IoT gateways – To aggregate the sensor/camera data and send it to cloud for processing – 5%.

6. Solution software and services – The applications providing targeted user experience, support and maintenance of these applications – 10%.

7. Installation and operations – Civil works, structures, cabling, installation, operations and maintenance – 10%.

8. Network connectivity – Fibre optic, WLAN, WiFi, cellular, P2P wireless connectivity from network switches/IoT gateways to cloud – 15%.

9. Data centre, command and control, operations – On prim/cloud compute/storage, video walls, monitoring and control of all resources – 25%.

If it is your own item, you have a bigger share. For example the solution software provider will have 10% share and if they have own fog computing devices too, another 5% adds to it. If you are sourcing and supplying you will have only the trading margin on those items.

It is important the organisations calibrate their share, internalise it and also be in perfect sync with the investors as the value add and share any organisation get here could be relatively small in the grand scheme of things.

Suresh Kumar KK is Head – Smart Cities/Campus, Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions. An alumnus of IIM- Bangalore, he is an end to end product/solution development and business expert with more than two decades of experience in System/Solution architecture, Hardware/Software development, System integration, Verification, Market creation and Field deployment across Defence, Automotive, Telecom, Semiconductor, Consumer and IoT domains. Suresh Kumar has worked in startup, renowned Government, European and American organisations including many short and long assignments in Germany, Canada, USA and India.

Mr. Suresh Kumar KK, Head Smart Cities/Campus in Robert Bosch Engineering and Business solutions is an end to end product/solution development and business expert with more than two decades of experience in System/Solution architecture, Hardware/Software development, System integration, Verification and Deployment across Defence, Automotive, Telecom, Semiconductor, Consumer and IoT domains

Suresh’s current responsibilities are mainly into Current responsibilities are mainly into solution architecture, specifications, eco system development, hardware/software development, business/revenue models creation, go to market and deploy projects globally.

Suresh has worked in Start up, renowned Government, Indian, European and American organizations, holds an engineering degree in Electronics and Communication from Kerala university, Software specialization from Indian Institute of Science and Business management from Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru.

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