Technology Is The Backbone Of Smart Cities: Yael Shatzky, Head of Product & Solution Marketing, Amdocs Optima & Intelligent Operations

Yael Shatzky, Head of Product and Solution Marketing, Amdocs Optima and Intelligent Operations, in an exclusive interaction with Sarabjeet Kaur, BW CIOWORLD speaks about the crucial and essential role of technology in building smarter and safer cities in India.

Yael Shatzky, Head of Product and Solution Marketing, Amdocs Optima and Intelligent Operations

Cities across the world today are experiencing rapid growth. By 2050, about 68% of the world’s population will be living in cities, compared to 30% in 1950. In India alone, some 416 million people are expected to take part in this migration. All these people are competing for limited resources such as housing and transportation. Although not everyone will be able to live in the city, many will choose to work there. This trend puts extra strain on the already-stretched resources as well as transportation and commuter options. Given the circumstances, Yael Shatzky, Head of Product and Solution Marketing, Amdocs Optima and Intelligent Operations, tells Sarabjeet Kaur, BW CIOWORLD about how technology can help address these issues to build smarter and safer cities in India. Excerpts:

BW CIO: What is the significance of technology in a smart city project? Can technology enable smart living?

I believe that technology, in particular, is the backbone of smart city or any modern society. From re-routing traffic to insuring that it flows properly, to managing traffic lights to implementing sensors and data for turning street lights on and off to conserve energy, to implementing low emission zones to reduce inner-city traffic and improve air quality, and much more. Anything and everything that happens in a smart city at present will require communications, data analysis, and artificial intelligence to manage and improve the lives of the city dwellers.

BW CIO: What are the common challenges faced by cities today which can easily be taken care of by applying relevant technology solutions? 

Back in 2011, 73% of the world’s population spent over 90 minutes a day commuting. Smart solutions for this primary necessity are being sought after across the world. Adding to that, air pollution, waste management and the expectations of all services to become digitalized and easily available to everyone gives a broad idea of the extent of the technology and the amount of effort that goes into undertaking this enormous challenge.  

BW CIO: Can deployment of artificial intelligence and machine learning be a key driver of smarter cities?

Absolutely, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning are key components in reaping the benefits of living in a smart city. Otherwise, the experience will be fragmented. Data management and analytics will also be the key components. Every sensor deployed and managed is part of a grid, and benefits can only be gained by having a holistic view of the entire ecosystem of the smart city. 

BW CIO: How can 5G and IoT devices enhance mobility? 

In a “connected everything” environment, IoT cannot be overlooked. Imagine IoT SIMs inserted into everything. There are autonomous car engines to let you know when it is time to change your oil, or the car driving itself to the shop while you are asleep. There are garbage cans informing the waste disposal systems when they are ready to be emptied, and reports on how much recycling you have been doing to reduce your city taxes. These all require an IoT platform that must manage the communications of all these entities, mostly in real time.

I believe there are multiple options to increase data availability in India with minimal investment including utilizing self-optimizing network solutions that will increase utilization of available capacity. Naturally, there is a limit to that and the planned rollout of 5G networks is expected to improve connectivity as well. 

BW CIO: What are Amdocs’ solutions for smart cities in India?

Amdocs is a provider of software and services to enable the digital transformation of telecommunications, media and entertainment companies of all sizes. With over 35 years of experience serving service providers around the world, including the leading service providers in India, we believe that communications is the backbone of modern society. We bring our expertise to every domain mentioned above – network, IoT, digital experience, and partner platforms to create an ecosystem and the optimal way to monetize it and to afford the massive investment required to roll out smart cities. 

BW CIO: India still lags behind in terms of street lighting. How can intelligent lighting solutions become a reality here? 

By implementing a smart lighting system like the one in the GIFT city, India’s first smart city, which was built from the ground up. Street lights with sun panels on them to recharge during the day with sensors that indicate if there are people on the street and turn themselves off to conserve energy when the streets are empty. In the second largest city in the world, New Delhi, it might take more time to implement, but it is a goal to strive for. 

BW CIO: How can Indian streets become cleaner with the help of AI? Can AI help manage waste disposal across India? 

Today, only 83% of the daily waste is collected in India, and the amount of waste produced is expected to be more than double over the next 10 years. IoT can be implemented into garbage disposals and connected into the city controls to let city waste management know when they are ready to be picked up. This can optimize the collection, put forth less effort and result into a collection of more waste. The by-product is cleaner streets. 

BW CIO: What are the technologies that can help clean India’s air quality and resolve the pollution issue? Does Amdocs have any solution in this area?

9 out of 10 people in the world breathe polluted air. Yet not all pollution is generated from transportation as that is only an estimated 50%. Amdocs has been working with municipalities across the world to enable low emission zones that would limit the entrance of polluting vehicles to city centers. This way of operation is very well accepted throughout the world, further enhancing the importance of the mobility and its impact on life in the smart city. In addition, there are various social-based solutions such as shared rides and applications that promote efficiencies and optimized use of public transportation to reduce the need to use private cars. The accumulative influence of all of these things can have a significant effect on air pollution and subsequently an improvement in the quality of life and health of city dwellers. 


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