Tech Mahindra is to collaborate with The Open University and Milton Keynes City Council to research and identify solutions for smart cities.
Born out of the company’s need for local smart solutions and the rising Internet of Things (IoT) space, the research will centre on the practicalities and capabilities of smart solutions in Milton Keynes in the fields of energy, transportation, electric vehicles, a connected ecosystem and IoT.
‘The research will focus around smart city capabilities, including smart lighting, smart parking, and energy,’ said Upendra Dharmadhikary, Tech Mahindra’s vice president of Global Solutions. ‘While these smart capabilities exist, there are not many cases where they are being brought together.’
Tech Mahindra, an Indian multinational technology company, signed a memorandum of understanding with the local council and university last month, with the intention to pool together talent from the industry and academia to research smart city solutions locally.
The initial focus will be on key activities that can be integrated into the city through the use of so-called citizen engagement. The partners will then look at specific IT capabilities, and what is needed for electric vehicles and electric charging’, Dharmadhikary said.
The research will also look at solar energy capabilities within the home, as well electric vehicles and demand response management.
‘When it comes to electricity, demand response management is key,’ said Dharmadhikary. ‘We are working with a Canadian operator to solve the electric vehicle charging solution.’
The need for smart solutions is born out of Tech Mahindra’s own experiences within Milton Keynes.
‘The key reason for doing this is to solve some of the problems we face today,’ said Dharmadhikary. ‘We have all lived here for the last 12 years and had issues in the city, particularly in terms of congestion and parking. So these solutions are not about the future, they are about what we need today.’
As well as looking at the capabilities of the city, the research will focus on the challenges that the city will face in terms of implementing smart solutions.
‘The idea of the smart city is overestimated to say the least,’ said Dharmadhikary. ‘We are going to look at the economic value of smart solutions, and in smart lighting for example, see how we can go beyond what is already offered.’
The focus is on smart solutions locally initially, yet Dharmadhikary hopes that the research can be rolled out to other areas including Bristol, Glasgow, Ipswich, Norwich, and then globally.
While it is a research initiative, the scheme has involved an undisclosed investment from Tech Mahindra. The partners are now looking for funding in a number of areas in order to put in place measures based on the research findings.
The reporter, Rachel Huggins, can be reached at email@example.com.