EghtesadOnline: Transforming megacities into more sustainable and livable places with the help of smart technologies and the internet of things has gained momentum in Iran, as the government has invested heavily in smart city projects.
The latest efforts have been made in the central province of Isfahan.
On Sunday, Isfahan Municipality and a tech center, Isfahan Hub, signed an agreement to boost synergy and utilize the expertise of knowledge-based companies and startups to gradually link technology with urban management and materialize a smart city, IMNA reported.
During the signing ceremony, Alireza Sadeqian, the municipality’s deputy for planning and human resource development, said acquiring the know-how linked to smart city development, establishing workshops and think tanks, and using the potentials of innovative companies are envisaged by the plan.
This will help the municipality realize the goal of Isfahan to become a smart city, he added.
To accelerate the work, Sadeqian said, Isfahan Municipality has called on startups and knowledge-based companies to present smart solutions and innovative ideas for transforming urban management.
“The municipality and Isfahan Hub will soon start reviewing the ideas, developed by the teams and helping them to put their plans to work,” he said.
Hashem Kiani, the deputy head of Isfahan Hub, said converting Isfahan into a smart city is a comprehensive project that will not be realized without extensive cooperation between various stakeholders.
Also present at the meeting, Mehdi Abtahi, dean of the Isfahan University of Technology and the head of Isfahan Hub, said the initiative will not deliver the desired results unless all stakeholders back the plan, and help transform Isfahan into a smart city.
Mehran Karami, a senior official of Isfahan Hub, also said the center has been accelerating and investing in the fledgling tech teams since its inception in 2017.
“The center is already focused on nurturing tech teams in the fields of smart city, internet of things and tourism,” he said.
In line with the agreement, the center will boost acceleration and investment in the high potential tech teams to make them more efficient.
Functioning as an innovation factory and startup accelerator, Isfahan Hub is the result of a joint venture between the Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran, Isfahan University of Technology and Isfahan Science and Technology Town.
The application of smart solutions and the internet of things technology in urban management first became a priority of urban managers years ago in the capital city of Tehran.
Since then, projects entailing the application of smart technologies have been implemented in Iran, including the replacement of old electricity meters with smart grids to increase the accuracy of monitoring consumption.
Smart power meters digitally send meter readings to energy suppliers via the internet to undertake more accurate billing.
Currently, TM and Tehran Traffic Police are using automated smart surveillance systems to identify old and dilapidated cars that are the main source of air pollution in the metropolis.
The installation of online air quality monitoring systems across the capital is one of the technologies used widely since past many years.
Smart parking meters have been installed and activated in Tehran's District 2 in the north-central part of the city. It enables drivers to reserve roadside parking spots and pay online via a smartphone application.
TM's ICT Organization ran a pilot project in Sorkheh Hesar National Park on the eastern flank of the capital in January 2019 to convert it into the country's first smart park.
The initiative envisaged equipping the park with smart security cameras, smart parking lots and a smart watering system which, unlike traditional irrigation controllers that operate on a preset schedule and timers, controls weather monitor, soil conditions, evaporation and plant water use to automatically adjust the watering schedule to site conditions.
TM has welcomed collaboration with companies and individuals whose products and services can help alleviate problems such as air pollution and traffic congestion.
Speaking of cutting-edge technologies, Tehran is not the only megacity taking steps to become a smart city.
Urban experts in Shiraz, the provincial center of Fars, are making efforts to utilize smart technologies in different fields such as security, economy, energy consumption, transportation and emergency mitigation.
According to Leila Doudman, a member of Shiraz City Council, the Information Technology Organization of Iran has agreed to help Shiraz Municipality establish a comprehensive urban data center.
"A data center is a major prerequisite for developing other smart urban services," she earlier told the media.
Officials in the holy city of Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi Province have focused on promoting transparency and anti-corruption trends in bureaucratic processes and believe that the use of high-tech equipment and smart management strategies can improve the conventional way of doing things.
Mashhad Municipality's ICT Organization is also focused on the need for devising smart solutions in urban waste management and treatment.
Mehdi Rajaian, the head of the organization, said, "Startups and tech firms can always submit their innovative ideas in urban management fields.”
As a commercial transit hub in southern Iran, Bushehr Province also has the potential to employ tech-based solutions.
According to Bushehr Governor General Abdolkarim Garavand, expanding tech infrastructures in the region can help reduce road transit costs and increase driving safety.
Experts in different fields believe harnessing smart solutions and IoT technology can help resolve chronic problems facing metropolises, particularly air pollution and traffic congestion, and make life easier for residents.