Developing people friendly and economically viable cities is an urban initiative by the Government of India. Cities are engines of economic growth, and it is anticipated that 40% of India’s population will live in cities by 2030. With the rapid rise in the proportion of people living in urban areas, there is an increasing requirement for sustainable cities. STMicroelectronics is enabling smarter driving and smarter homes, factories, and cities, along with the next generation of mobile and Internet of Things devices. During 3rd Smart Cities India 2017 Expo at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Vivek Sharma, Managing Director, STMicroelectronics, India, discusses with ELE Times about ST’s contribution to people’s lives by developing innovative microelectronics technologies, products and solutions. Excerpts from the interview.
ELE Times: What was the objective of ST’s participation in 3rd Smart Cities India 2017?
Vivek Sharma: Passionately driven by the Vision of “Life.Augmented”, ST is committed to bringing positive contributions to people’s lives by developing innovative microelectronics technologies, products and solutions. Smart Home and Cities is one of the four key pillars of ST’s focused strategy in line with this vision. This is a perfect match with the Govt. of India’s Smart Cities Mission of helping India’s cities leapfrog to world class cities by developing 100 Smart Cities in the country.
Building mega projects like Smart Cities need a very strong collaboration among various solution and service providers, with many of them not having worked together before. Hence events like Smart Cities 2017 are the ideal platforms to bring these stakeholders together.
For ST, this event provided an opportunity to showcase our leading-edge products, solutions and technologies to address the present and future demands for Smart Cities. It also put us in front of key decision makers, industry peers and other important stake holders at the forefront of the smart and sustainable cities evolution.
ELE Times: What were the new technologies ST is focusing for Smart Cities?
Vivek Sharma: The three fundamental capabilities of everything Smart at both small (e.g. Smart Things) very large scale (e.g. Smart Cities) are sensing, monitoring, and reacting to its environment, securely processing the information it collects, protected from threats and intrusions, then communicating the results to other smart objects while managing its own – and, sometimes other smart objects’ – power consumption.
ST’s portfolio is among the most complete for the Smarter World, which we segment into Smart Driving, Smart Cities and Homes, and Smart Industry.
- From tiny silicon cameras to miniscule sensors that measure motion such as linear or angular acceleration or pressure, temperature, humidity, and light to understand the environment, IoT designers can now draw upon an ever-increasing toolkit of effective silicon sensors, along with the sensor-fusion technology to coordinate outputs while compensating for drift and degradation. ST is the only supplier with the full range of sensors. We also offer actuators, such as micro-mirrors that can be used in heads-up displays and projectors, and proximity sensors, that are finding wide use in applications required accurate measurement.
- A smart thing has a brain to secure and process information. To be “Smart,” all IoT applications need a compact, low-power and affordable brain. Today, the most economical STM32 microcontrollers are available for well less than US$1 and offer processing power orders of magnitude greater than was used to land the first man on the moon. And because software and system development can be more challenging than processing capabilities, ST is delivering simplicity, ease of use, power efficiency, and secure features across a broad range of processors with SW and HW compatibility.
- A smart thing is connected to the outside world, increasingly via wireless connections. These include Bluetooth, NFC, or other established protocols that connect to a personal mobile device (phone, tablet) or wider network (industrial applications) to provide Internet or network connectivity.
- A smart thing is energy-efficient and energy-savvy, so they can, if necessary, manage other smart things (e.g. by turning on a light or controlling a motor) to suit demand, cost, and performance requirements. Ultimately, to achieve the goal of a smart environment for example, sensors must be everywhere and do more with less, in order to reduce global power needs and be self-sustaining.
- Finally, ST offers a portfolio of certified Secure Solutions that, whether fully integrated in the brain (a Secure MCU) or as a separate component, can provide multiple levels of security from relatively low security needed for wearables to very high security needs of critical utilities, banking, and medical.
Putting all these elements together, ST brings a very strong set of technologies and solutions for Smart Cities and Smart Homes, including Smart Grids, Smart Street Lighting, Smart Traffic Management, Smart Security and Surveillance systems, Smart Utility Services, Smart Parking, and Smart Fleet management. Indeed, the list can go on. In nutshell, whatever is the need of a Smart City, ST is there to provide innovative solutions.
ELE Times: Where do you see the connection between semi-conductors, smart grids, cities and metering?
Vivek Sharma: Semiconductors have been playing a pivotal role for more than half a century and have become a Key Enabler to the Smart World.
Semiconductors are at the heart of the latest smart meters, performing basic functions of metering i.e. measuring power, voltage and current to providing sophisticated communication and control of various functions through sensors, microcontrollers, communication modules and modems etc.
The Smart Grid brings together (a) power generation from diverse renewable (solar, wind, hydroelectric) and non-renewable sources, (b) intelligent power distribution that deliver power where it is needed while minimizing waste and finally (c) optimized consumption using smart devices like Smart street lights and high efficiency motors. As all elements of a smart grid can proactively communicate with each other, the whole grid becomes a powerful system in a Smart City. At each stage, semiconductors play crucial role.
With its production of semiconductors that are used throughout the grid, STMicroelectronics plays a leading role is all areas of generation, distribution and consumption of power.
ELE Times: What was ST’s role at the event?
Vivek Sharma: To further highlight ST’s commitment towards India’s Smart City Mission to make the 100 Smart Cities dream a reality, ST actively participated in 3rd Smart Cities India 2017.
We were invited as a panelist in the session on “Translating IoT into innovation and better services,” where we highlighted the crucial role of semiconductors at the “heart” of the “Smarter World” e.g. Sensors, MCUs, Communication, Power, and Security. We also spoke of how semiconductor enable various solutions e.g. Smart Driving, Smart Industry, Smart Cities and their continued contributions in building Smarter India.
Another session on “Communication network and infrastructure” was led by ST, leader in MCU marketing and solution in India – Vinay Thapliyal of STMicroelectronics. He focused on the integration of technologies and networks including how different wireless technologies can co-exist in any smart city projects.
ELE Times: What were the key takeaways/learning’s from the event?
Vivek Sharma: A true Smart City is a mega vision which brings together all stakeholders from a very diverse ecosystem. Smart Cities India created a valuable platform to share multiple outlooks, join hands where needed, and overall develop a common understanding and direction. Together with the showcasing of products, services and deliberations on the govt. policy framework, the event was truly meaningful.