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 Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology is the government's executive arm working to strengthen and expand the country’s technology ecosystem, according to Financial Tribune.
According to Sorena Sattari, the head of the office, there will be no smart cities unless we focus on urban innovation, transparency and public engagement, Islamic Azad University News Agency reported.
"The smart city ecosystem should be developed based on local resources and Iran’s talented young generation. The government has supported and will continue to support people with innovative ideas," he said.
The conventional enterprises and industries will soon find no choice but to join the move and upgrade their activities to conform with modern technologies, he added.
Officials in the educational sector have already started employing high-tech devices to ease the delivery of content to students.
The office's most recent move to achieve the goal was an agreement it signed with Tehran's Non-Government Schools Founders Council on Sunday, for equipping private educational centers in the capital with smart technologies.
According to the office's website, Ali Sani'ei, the head of the council, expressed hope that with the government's help, academic centers will be able to offer educational content of higher quality and appeal.
At the signing ceremony, Mohammad Hossein Sajjadi, the vice presidential office's deputy for technology development, said over 2,000 private educational centers serve over 20% of the capital’s students.
"Schools with higher technologies will act more successfully in absorbing more students and boost the quality of their education," Sajjadi said.
Ideally, a fully smart school is supposed to have smartboards, high-speed internet coverage, laptops for all the students, video projectors and other educational aid.
Smart schools are expected to offer all their services, including the process of enrolling students, teaching and conducting tests, on a digital platform.
At the international level, IoT and smart solutions have encompassed a wide spectrum of areas and are employed for offering quality services.
Smart devices connected via the internet have been installed in several cities across the world, which collect and analyze data in real-time.
For instance, by using this information, cities can map areas of high pollution, track changes and identify polluters, and if possible remove them.
The installation of online air quality monitoring systems is among measures using technologies in Tehran’s urban management.
Projects entailing the application of smart technologies have been implemented in Iran, including the replacement of old electricity meters with smart grids to help people monitor consumption. Smart power meters also digitally send meter readings to energy suppliers via the internet to undertake more accurate billing.
Currently, Tehran Municipality and Tehran Traffic Police are using automated smart surveillance systems to spot old and dilapidated cars that are the main source of air pollution in the metropolis.
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 added.
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.
Mehdi Rajaian, the head of Mashhad Municipality's ICT Organization, also focused on the need for devising smart solutions in urban waste management and treatment.
"Startups and tech firms can always submit their innovative ideas in urban management fields," he said.
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 told reporters that 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.