Smart Cities are also COVID warriors

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As more than one-third of the total world population undergoes complete lockdown to fight against coronavirus pandemic, the citizens all over pledge to lead a quarantined life and maintain social distancing. The efforts double up with hopes to tackle the issues such as economic impact and survival to come out of this outbreak in the majority of developed and developing countries.

Meet the intrepid COVID-19 combatants

Nations all over the world are responding and combating the coronavirus pandemic with an unprecedented deployment of human resources – the intrepid frontline COVID warriors — right from medical practitioners to technicians, paramedics, government officials, police personnel, and volunteers. They act aggressively to ensure sanitisation and availability of groceries and other essentials. With the help of technology, various local agencies and communities are able to track, contact, quarantine, and isolate patients to slow the spread.

Though these frontline warriors are doing their jobs in the best of their capacity, the need of the hour is for enhanced capacity and updated information so that we can keep abreast with the latest technological advances.

Can smart cities be the next COVID WARRIORS?

The COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on cities all over the globe. As the infected cases increase and deaths surge governments and authorities are turning to innovative technologies like IoT, AI, 5G, and data analytics to respond.

The smart city infrastructure has become an important weapon in combating the pandemic. The smart cities have been are actively mobilising emergency services and other capabilities to maintain health and safety and ensuring availability of vital services. The use of advanced technologies enables cities to collaborate more effectively and efficiently. The smart city ecosystem operates on four capability layers – innovation, engagement, information, and technology.

The command and control centres (CCC) across 45 smart cities such as Vadodara, Bengaluru, Agra, Kakinada and Chandigarh, have transformed into war rooms to contain the spread of this pandemic. The government authorities have divided these cities into four zones — red, orange, yellow and green to deal with the pandemic.

The CCC, earlier used for monitoring various municipal functions like 24-hour water supply, property tax collection, traffic management, street lighting, bus movement and security, have now diversified

These cities have found smarter ways to manage law & order situation, food supplies, entertainment, medicine, education…almost everything!

Let us see some of the initiatives being taken by the government authorities in these smart cities to combat the virus:

  • The Vadodara district administration has installed a helium balloon attached with two cameras for surveillance on lockdown violators. The balloon also has got an integrated public addressal system
  • Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation has created a Facebook page for posting awareness videos with live chats from local experts
  • Agra administration has started E-Doctor Seva, a tele-video consultation facility, for locals  through PPP mode. AI-based analytics is used for generating an alert to help the authorities maintain social distancing norms
  • Chandigarh administration has installed a comprehensive ‘fight COVID station’ that offers facilities like thermal screening, pedestal operated hand-wash and soap dispenser, mist spray of sodium hypochlorite solution and hand dryer facility
  • Drones are being used in Varanasi to sanitise infected areas

Successful early detection and management of the virus depends upon the technological backbone of these smart cities. 

Definitely, as a nation, we are opting rational ways of tackling this pandemic. Our response to the situation is competent, and we are much hopeful and confident and have faith that whatever is being done will keep us safe and help us fight against the pandemic.

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