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JUSCO leverages IoT across an array of civic services

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The IoT implementation will provide real time information about the civic services being delivered and will empower JUSCO to take preemptive action to avert any untoward incident. Ashish Mathur, Managing Director, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), shares more details

Jamshedpur is India’s first planned industrial city. The genesis of the city was laid by Jamshedji Tata. During the times of establishing a greenfield integrated steel plant in Jamshedpur, Jamshedji Tata always spoke about a city and never a company township. The idea was to provide a productive environment for the citizens. As far as the daily necessities are concerned, the water is so pure that it is consumed directly from the tap; not only is the electricity available 24*7, the quality of electricity does not require a stabiliser, etc.

On the same lines, the vision behind using IoT is to leverage the technology to improve the quality of living of the citizens. However, in order to make the best use of the advanced technologies like IoT, it was important to lay the ground for them to be used at the full potential. To use IoT in smart LED lighting, it’s important to first provide 24*7 and consistent electricity; to make the best use of IoT in water management, it‘s important to have in place proper water disposal, sewage disposal system. Today, electricity is available 24*7; the drainage system is working properly and waste disposal management has been converted into an opportunity for social entrepreneurship for civic workers. For sewage treatment, Ashish Mathur, Managing Director, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), has been able to come up with a packaged sewage treatment plant for those areas where the main line sewage system cannot reach.

The objective of setting up JUSCO was to act as a quasi municipality for the city of Jamshedpur, which provides the basic civic services except traffic management and law and order.

The IoT solution has been developed by Tata Communications by partnering with two companies- MOTWANE and KernelSphere Technologies. It’s based on the LoRaWAN technology. LoRaWAN is a low powered Wide Area Network (WAN), which is designed for transferring tiny amounts of data over long distances, but still maintaining the battery life, whereas the regularly used cellular systems are not equipped to maintain a good battery life and still transfer small data bits inexpensively.

Smart to Smarter: Stage set for IoT
The IoT technology was adopted to make the current working of various civic services more effective. To move from a ‘lagging KPI’ concept to a ‘leading KPI’ scenario, wherein JUSCO can be more predictive in nature and can take decisions on the basis of real time information and not after the events have occurred.

  • IoT has been used in the following areas: Fleet management, workforce tracking, water and electricity distribution monitoring, streetlight tracking, transformer health monitoring and waste management
  • Water and electricity distribution monitoring: JUSCO keeps tabs on the underground water level; or for finding out which manhole has been choked or is about to choke. The drain monitoring and tower automation PoC is over.

Three-hundred electricity substations have been sensorised. The purpose is to make them secure. An alert is relayed in case of any tampering. It would be an expensive affair to have security guards at these substations, given the locations and numbers. This initiative has reached beyond the PoC stage and is in production stage now. The substations will have approximately 2,000 sensors deployed on them, during the next two-three months.

  • Streetlight tracking: The testing started in September 2017. In the next three months, close to 1,000 street lights will be fitted with sensors
  • Transformer health monitoring: About 400 transformers will be tracked using IoT devices. Workforce tracking through IoT is also past the IoT stage
  • Waste management: The waste bin tracking is still being tested out. JUSCO is taking inputs from Surat, Pune, Barcelona, Sydney, Singapore etc. Jamshedpur is a World Council for City Data (WCCD) ISO 371205 certified city, which enables it to exchange information with multiple cities across the world to benchmark our services with them

Over the next five-six months, the plan is to fix about 5,000 sensors across various infrastructure used to deliver civic services.

Leading KPIs replace lagging KPIs
The IoT implementation will provide real time information about the civic services being delivered and will empower JUSCO to take preemptive action to avert any untoward incident. For example, currently, with regards to the daily water supply, the water quality is changed based on the sample results received from various locations on a daily basis, which is based on a lagging KPI. The next slot of water supply is changed based on the previous samples. After IoT, this can be changed, based on real time information about the water quality information received from the sensors. The quality and quantity can be changed before it leaves the water plant or tower. This is what is known as a leading KPI.

“Another example can be establishing a predictive Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network using IoT, which enables us to have 99.8 per cent electricity availability through our network. The most critical benefit is the intimation by the network of what can go wrong and resulting in proactive remediation, which leads to significant improvement in the quality of life of the citizens. We are in a much better position to do online and real time measurements and take corrective action before it’s too late. It improves the system efficiency significantly; for example, JUSCO is able to get information about which areas in Jamshedpur consume more electricity compared to other areas based on the LoRaWAN equipped smart meters. Even to the extent of going to the house level and suggesting the citizen to make changes in the electricity wiring, in case if it is leading to overload of any kind,” says Mathur.

The sensor data consolidated on the IoT platform can be used to plan the city activities in a much advanced manner. For example, in case of a construction underway in a certain area in Jamshedpur, it’s quite obvious, the water, electricity and other relevant requirements will shoot up. The data is superimposed on the GIS map and the resource allocation can be done accordingly.

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