EghtesadOnline: Iran’s ministries of ICT and energy have signed a joint plan of action to exploit information and communication technologies to address the dire water shortage and widespread electricity outages that in recent weeks have disrupted life and business in the sweltering summer heat.
A step toward smart management of energy and water resources was taken on Tuesday when ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi and Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian forged the action plan which aims to utilize modern technologies for managing the national water and electricity distribution networks, hoping to enhance the quality of services.
Under the plan, a framework is to be introduced within which the two state bodies can collaborate and draw on one another’s resources.
According to Azari-Jahromi, the plan will also open up investment opportunities to the private sector, which are to be detailed by the deputies of the two ministries, Financial Tribune reported.
He further said, “In the first phase, a workshop will be held among those active in the electricity, ICT and Internet of Things (IoT) sectors to elaborate on the specifics of a road map.”
IoT is the network of physical objects or things embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.
The minister also called on private investors to deploy their resources to help carry out the action plan. He further noted that “we will allocate a segment of our resources in the communications and Post Bank sectors for the implementation of the plan that aims to help the Energy Ministry achieve its objective of applying smart technologies.”
Established in 2006, the state-owned Post Bank is managed by the ICT Ministry.
Ardakanian and Azari-Jahromi’s efforts come at a crucial point as widespread blackouts threaten to paralyze the country’s economy.
Frequent power outages and water shortage in Iran have adversely affected industrial units and frustrated the public who put up with hours of disconnected electricity and water every single day in the stifling summer heat.
Information and communications technologies have been used by developed and developing countries for managing natural resources for decades. Seemingly the worsening state of affairs has finally goaded Iranian officialdom to take action and follow the global trend.
Recognizing the urgency for taking action, Azari-Jahromi said employment of information and communication technologies to the energy and power sector is a must which can assist authorities in reorganizing the poorly organized sector.
According to the plan’s timetable, a pilot phase will be carried out within a year and the plan will go into full swing in three years’ time.
During recent weeks, the ICT Ministry has tried to introduce measures to help alleviate the power shortage in the country. For instance, Azari-Jahromi earlier announced that Iran’s communications network’s source of power has switched to diesel generators for two weeks. The move has helped remove some strain from the national electricity network.
Internet of Things
Tackling urban and rural problems by application of smart technologies to various aspects of life, with a special focus on IoT, has been on top of the ICT Ministry’s agenda.
In March, Tehran Municipality collaborated with the ICT Ministry to hold the first round of Smart Tehran Congress, dedicated to plans and ideas to transform the metropolis into a smart city.
With the ministry’s assistance, major Iranian mobile operator MTN-Irancell and the National Iranian Gas Company have launched a “smart gas meter” project which makes use of NB-IoT technology.
According to the latest reports, 5,000 smart gas meters have been installed in the northeastern shrine city of Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province.
The technology used in the project, Narrow Band Internet of Things, is a low-power wide-area network radio technology standard which focuses on low cost, long battery life and enables firms to simultaneously monitor a large number of connected devices. Using the technology will help authorities better manage natural resources.
Application of IoT is gaining momentum in Iran. For instance, 40% of the Province of Yazd’s agricultural water wells have been equipped with smart water meters.
IoT has been brightening up business prospects across the world and bringing new capabilities to companies to stay competitive. Azari-Jahromi said the action plan will create job opportunities as well.