Connected Smart Cities, Empowered Citizens


Comprehensive city-wide sensor and telemetry network

SUMMARY
As cities continue upgrading their infrastructures to incorporate an ever increasing array of distinct sensor platforms (smart objects such as utility meters, parking meters, cameras, street lights…), Proximetry’s AirSync provides tangible cost savings and enables innovative new features by virtue of converging all telemetry onto a single, scalable common platform.
Leveraging a two-way, feedback-based, converged telemetry platform saves an ever increasing amount of costs, as more smart devices proliferate in the infrastructure, by eliminating the need to invest and maintain distinct telemetry systems for each sensor platform. The unified telemetry platform provides integration opportunities that were not previously available. This enables cities to provide new services that can enhance public safety, intelligently influence and control resource consumption based on dynamic conditions, and also provides new revenue opportunities to offer premium services.
AirSync 5 is Proximetry’s integrated device management platform that caters to the needs of performance critical embedded computing devices. Designed to address networks’ extensibility, the AirSync family of applications is built to scale to enable tens of millions of device. The platform addresses communication requirements of heavy industrial settings. AirSync 5 is unique in its ability to manage the most “critical things” in this new world of the Internet of Things (“IoT”).

PROBLEM
Advances in technology have elevated consumer expectations and changed consumer behavior in a way that requires cities to develop more intelligent infrastructure to keep pace. As more and more smart devices proliferate it becomes clear that intelligent telemetry systems must evolve to support them. The ever expanding array of sensor devices includes electric, gas and water utility meters, streetlights, traffic signals, parking meters, and surveillance systems to name a few.
Today, the electricity generation status cannot be reported to the consumers in real-time to avoid brown outs, water leaks are not known to city till a citizen reports it, undue delay in dealing with natural and man-made emergencies and city/utilities services partitioned in silos result in frustrated consumers. Advances in technology and awareness of consumers have raised expectations on the level of service expected from the cities. A connected consumer can inform the world of an outage in utilities (electricity/water/gas) or incidents (brown outs / water main leaks) over social media in this connected world but cannot have a real-time 2-way communication with the city/utility that provides such services. Instead of a proactive response, the city is always left with responding to events ‘after’ their occurrence is known continents away; worse, in many cases, the city is ‘informed’ by the public or the media about the occurrence of an event within the city/utility service territory.

SOLUTION
The solution consists of two components: (1) A comprehensive city-wide sensor and telemetry network that enables 2-way communication between the resources that need to be measured and managed (electric meters, water/gas meters, leak detectors etc.). (2) A user facing application for the citizen/customer to monitor their own usage of these resources, get messaging from the city about the real-time status of the city’s services, a platform to report an issue with a water leak, street light failure that is as easy as posting to social media networks and finally a platform for getting incentives to reduce energy consumption in times when the generation cannot keep pace with demand.
The city-wide sensor and telemetry network will be deployed using standards-based technologies and protocols to achieve maximum affordability. This comprehensive network will cover all essential city services: electric meters, water meters, gas meters, street lights, traffic systems, water leak detectors, emergency shutoff valves, etc. The sheer number of such sensing nodes, even for a medium size city, will make this a very large network to deploy and manage. To reduce cost, meet scale and realize additional integration benefits, it is imperative to converge disparate sensor platforms onto a common, cohesive telemetry platform.
Proximetry and its partners offer a comprehensive solution that solves the challenges described above via Proximetry's prodcut, AirSync5.

IMPACT ON ECONOMY
The proposed solution allows for monitoring resource supply and consumption and intelligently managing consumption patterns with respect to resource supply and other real time feedback. For example, the solution enables smarter decision making in the electric utility in starting up a backup generating facility at the ‘right time’ to match the increase in peak demand as opposed to doing the same based on guesswork. Similarly, the solution allows for condition based monitoring of the city assets including streetlights. The city can save money by dimming the streetlights at times when they are used the least and also be aware of when those lights are nearing failure. 
The federation of the entire utility domain (E, G, W) into a single unified network infrastructure saves the utilities money because they don’t need to invest in separate stovepipe management/telemetry infrastructures.
AirSync sensor instrumentation records granular electricity, gas and water consumption patterns on an individual (per-meter basis) at device-appropriate intervals. This stored data provides the basis for time-of-use analysis which can be used to incentivize consumers in near real time to minimize usage during targeted events (peak usage windows, emergencies). This can provide measurable cost savings, especially as utilities phase in time-of-use pricing. Historical customer consumption patterns can be integrated into larger incentive/reward systems to increase customer participation.

IMPACT ON CULTURE
The system empowers consumers with feedback that helps promote a culture of environmental stewardship. This positive cultural impact can be expanded by creating group incentives and contests to increase participation in smart energy management which can lead to increased individual satisfaction and a greater sense of civic pride.
By engaging the tax payer and the consumers of city services, the showcase will enable a higher degree of trust between then and the city. This showcase enables a 2-way dialog between the city and the citizens. By providing a summary of their usage of gas/water/electricity vs time, and comparing the same with their neighbors in the same district and across districts, the consumers can be made aware of where they stand with respect to their peers. This showcase will also enable new pricing events and discounts for shifting usage to non-peak times to be communicated to the citizens to influence their usage patterns. 
It introduces tangible, and previously unavailable benefits. For example, looking for extended periods of non-zero gas/water usage serves to rapidly and automatically detect/alert customers and/or utilities to respond to probable resource leaks. This time stamped data can pinpoint the onset of the condition which could even be correlated with major emergency events (earthquake, etc.) to help first responders proactively react to larger scale resource leaks. This carries financial rewards (cost savings) and public safety benefits.

IMPACT ON ECOLOGY
Today, the environmentally conscious customers of the city’s energy (gas/electricity) and services have no way to take action to conserve energy even if they wanted to, due to a lack of a mechanism for the city to communicate with the customer and provide real-time status on the energy generation and consumption.
The Showcase empowers such a custoemr with granular feedback about consumption patterns that empower consumer to use energy efficiently and minimize resource waste.
By influencing citizens to shift non-essential usage to non-peak times, the variance in usage can be made more even thus reducing the times for peak demand. This normalization of load will allow the city higher margins in managing peak demand. By reducing the frequency of usage of the backup generation facilities, the wastage and pollution associated with the source of that generation facility can be reduced.

IMPACT ON POLITICS
With e-governance models being implemented across countries, the local taxpayers are demanding better and more efficient service delivery and lower costs. Citizens demand that the street lights be replaced as soon as they burn out (for safety reasons) but at the same time, the city government has no visibility into the performance, burn-out time etc. of the streetlights or even the fact that the light is out before somebody reports it.
The Showcase will allow for bi-directional communication between the city and citizens thus enabling better governance. Instead of complaining about the outage or non-availability of city services on social media, the citizens now have an option to communicate with the city with same or less effort.
AirSync5 can help utility management do a better job predicting resource consumption based on historical usage patterns, and working in conjunction with civic leadership craft more intelligent usage policies and incentives.