The Government of India launched the 100 Smart City Mission in June 2016 focusing on the sustainable development of infrastructure and services benefiting the citizens. One of the focus areas in Smart Cities Mission is to provide reliable power supply, minimise distribution loss, and have effective means of managing power distribution in the city. Recognising that sustainable electrical solutions lie at the core of a smart city’s infrastructure – for power, water, transportation, and industrial needs, the industry has witnessed a remarkable development through economic and industrial changes, with a seven-year high growth of 12.8 per cent in 2017-18.

High demand for sustainable and smart offerings

While commenting on why smart cities are a golden opportunity for the Indian electrical equipment industry, C P Vyas, President – Electrification business, ABB India said, “Smart cities will call for a complete transformation of the industrial landscape, with intelligent factories and sustainable solutions increase the efficiency and productivity of businesses across the country. In this regard, the electrical equipment industry will witness a high demand for its sustainable and smart offerings. This will, therefore, contribute greatly to India’s growth as it embraces a transformed lifestyle, built on smart electrical technologies and sustainability.”

ABB products and solutions are a crucial part of a city’s critical infrastructure, which is relied upon for everything from the supply of power, water and heat, to the automation of the factories and buildings. “With companies like ours constantly innovating and providing intelligent and efficient technologies, we can expect great things for India’s smart cities,” adds Vyas.

Cable manufacturing firms are reaping the benefits

“The union government’s focus on smart cities and leveraging digital solutions for transforming urban living has come as a breath of fresh air to the Indian electrical equipment industry. Cable manufacturing firms are reaping the benefits of increased demand in optical fibre – which acts as a backbone of any smart solution,” said Jayant Kohale, Business Head – Smart Infra, KEC International Ltd. The government’s focus on connecting Gram panchayats with the high-speed Internet through the BharatNet initiative has added to this demand. Traditional transformers are now being upgraded with the added capability of IoT sensors that capture multiple external and internal data points and provide a real-time update to the end-user.

Push for e-mobility
A niche industry that is gaining ground due to the push towards smart living is the EV charging industry. EV chargers need to be as accessible as petrol pumps to ensure that the transition from fossil fuel-based vehicles to electric or hybrid vehicles is effective, opines Kohale of KEC. He adds, “Renewable energy is another priority area for the government. From large-scale rooftop solar projects in urban areas to Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) in urban slums or villages, the market has opened for all players.”

Quality electrical equipment in demand
Sameer Saxena, Director Marketing, Legrand (Group) India says: “Smart cities were undertaken as a sustainable housing solution to meet the rising demand in urbanisation in the country. It aims to digitalise the communication and technology used therein to optimise the usage of resources such as energy, water, and roads and infrastructure and improve governance, transportation, and waste management.”

As per the Smart Cities Council, the data that is collected from sensors – electricity, gas, water, traffic and other government analytics, is carefully compiled and integrated into a smart grid and then fed into computers that can focus on making the city as efficient as possible. To this effect, smart cities have been a golden opportunity for companies in the Indian electrical equipment sector.

“The smart cities programme is expected to push the demand for quality electrical equipment and lead to massive growth opportunities for electrical equipment manufacturers,” informs Saxena. “It has also led to demand creation of in the electrical components likes switches, smart switchgear, ACBs, MCBs and demand creation in power supply,” he says.

Efficient power management is a building block
“From a power sector perspective, a smart city is a city with smart systems that can make power usage efficient, reliable and sustainable,” observes Anil Kadam, General Manager – Business Development, Solution Architect – Smart Grid / Smart Cities, Schneider Electric India. “Efficient power management is foundational and a building block of any city. As smart cities are redefining the benchmark for energy efficiency with better transmission and distribution system, special emphasis is being laid on developing an efficient distribution network for optimal utilisation with zero possibility of an outage. Also, integration of the smart grid technology in the smart cities project will provide a unique opportunity to deliver quality and reliable 24X7                                                                   electricity to consumers.”

Focus on productivity

Smart city has a mission to build infrastructure which fits the environment, opines Milind Thakkar, Marketing Head, Megger India. It has infrastructure that includes provision for 24X7 water and power supply, underground ducting of electrical or data cables with electrical smart metering, modernisation of existing traffic management and mobility to name few. According to Milind, to cater to these requirements and to maintain them, utility companies will require advanced quality electrical equipment to increase productivity. This is going to be the requirement of most smart city projects and that makes it a golden opportunity for the electrical industry, he said.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities

In the core domain of smart cities, KEC has been awarded two projects – Bidkin Smart City and Aurangabad Smart City. Bidkin Smart City, part of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Development Corridor, is a greenfield project where KEC is implementing the complete Information Communication and Technology (ICT) stack including setting up the fibre backbone, core networking, data centre, command and control centre, surveillance, Wi-Fi and other IoT sensors.

The Aurangabad Smart City project is a brownfield project including the pan city components like surveillance, core networking, data centre, integrated command

and control centre and operation command centre, Wi-Fi, solid waste management and IoT sensors. The IT systems being set up will be used both by the Aurangabad Police and the municipal corporation of Aurangabad. In the domain of communication, KEC is L1 in the project for setting up the fibre infrastructure for one package of Himachal Pradesh.

“In our segment of smart utilities, we are implementing a first-of-a-kind R&D project of energy storage at Puducherry involving grid integrated energy storage,” informs Kohale. KEC has executed a pilot with the Ludhiana Smart City and set up a Smart Pole under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The indigenously developed smart pole is a one-stop solar-powered solution that encompasses all benefits of smart lighting, variable message display, public address system, environmental sensors and EV charging. “It is safe to say that by investing in R&D, both traditionally large players, as well as small niche players of the electrical industry, stand to gain in this rising tide of digitisation and smart living,” asserts Kohale.

Intelligent Solutions

ABB’s products are relied upon for the enhanced experience of how we work, live, and move, offering intelligent solutions for communication, power, water, transport, buildings, and heating and cooling. Therefore, ABB’s portfolio is multi-dimensional, serving all the needs of a smart city, claims C P Vyas.

ABB has recently collaborated with IIT Roorkee to construct an operational Smart Electricity Distribution Network and Management System (SDNMS) in its campus. The company has also partnered with the Surat Municipal Corporation to deploy a more scalable and sustainable model, by upgrading the existing manual flowmeters to digitally-enabled devices that manage                                               the city’s water more efficiently.

Control & Command Center 

Legrand is already working with all smart city development authorities at various locations like New Raipur, Amravati, Bhopal to name a few. They have completed projects in New Raipur (cable management solutions, UPS, energy distribution and digital infrastructure).

The areas of expertise where Legrand is participating are residential, offices, transport, and EV charging infrastructure. The heart of all smart cities will be at the control and command centre. Legrand has the capabilities to provide an end-to-end solution to this command centre with – energy distributions, environmental sensors, surveillance, city administration etc.

Fault location instruments

The cable fault location process has multiple steps and it’s vital that it’s completed as quickly and safely as possible to minimise the time that customers are without supply. Megger manufactures a wide range of fault location instruments that have been developed to be easy to use.

IoT enabled operating solution
Schneider Electric offers EcoStruxure for smart cities which is an innovative IoT enabled operating solution that helps cities to become more efficient, resilient and sustainable. The EcoStruxure for smart cities further comprises of EcoStruxure Grid, Building and Water and Wastewater. The EcoStruxure Grid helps to increase grid efficiency for sustainable networks bridging the gap between energy demand and supply. EcoStruxure Building brings engineering efficiency combined with asset and energy performance  services. It enables lifetime efficiency of buildings ensuring productivity and comfort for occupants. And finally, EcoStruxure for water and wastewater helps smart cities to enhance key processes and application across the water cycle.

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By Subhajit Roy, Group Editor

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