Smart and sustainable cities

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Tech Mahindra is working on UK’s first digital platform that uses satellites to identify community energy opportunities

 

by Prajakt Deotale

Head Smarter and Sustainable Cities (Europe Organisation) / Tech Mahindra Ltd. @tweet_pd

 

Cities are centres for most of the economic activities creating approximately 80% of any country’s GDP. Cities’ activities can affect an area up to 300 times their own size – hence, the creation of sustainable, smarter cities is seen as a priority for most governments in the world. Smart City projects develop innovative solutions to support economic growth of the city and address the challenge of supporting sustainable growth without exceeding the capacity of the infrastructure, whilst also meeting key city objectives like carbon footprint reduction. 

 

The project will promote effective collaboration between citizens, local authorities and supply chains

 

The emergence of disruptive technologies means existing business process and traditional operations will have to change and transform, but the same is also fostering evolution of newer business opportunities like the whole ecosystem that has emerged around IoT, Big data and Appification.

For example, Tech Mahindra is building a digital platform called CAPE (“Community Action Platform for Energy") that will provide an innovative approach to empower local communities and city authorities to deliver step change community energy initiatives. It will help unlock a potential £17.5b (about € 22.2b) market in commercial opportunities (in energy efficiency, micro-generation and distributed energy technologies) in the UK.

 

What´s CAPE 

The nature of the problem that communities (i.e. local authority, citizens and supply chain) face is that energy efficiency and generation initiatives are sub-optimal in their ability to target, scale and build momentum. Our aim is to unlock this addressable UK energy market and to provide a significant contribution towards the UK Government targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy, which are currently off-target.

The CAPE project (Community Action Platform for Energy) will put advanced urban data analytics into the hands of communities to enable bottom-up social action within those communities. It will promote effective collaboration between citizens, local authorities and supply chains. As the supply chain pays a commission for successful schemes, CAPE will be a free-to-use service, by Councils and Communities.

CAPE addresses the challenge of empowering communities, local authorities and commercial organizations to jump-start community-led energy projects to reduce CO2 emissions, generate savings for local communities, reduce fuel poverty and create local jobs. It uses advanced urban data analytics combining novel satellite and aerial data with energy and socio-economic data to effectively jump-start communities, local authorities and help local supply chains overcome barriers to deliver projects that combine high social impact and large savings.

CAPE will be very attractive to national and local supply chain SMEs as it will give them an awareness of project opportunities and gain them entry to larger companies, supply chains and provide a readily trained and mobilized, workforce. CAPE would also empower local communities and city authorities in delivering community energy initiatives.

 

The innovative approach

The project is innovative as it addresses the issue of energy poverty by bringing together local communities, city authorities as well as national and local energy SMEs. The project aims to reduce city carbon footprint via an innovative platform that promotes renewable energy consumption, cut in greenhouse gas emissions and delivers energy savings to the communities.

This innovative platform not only delivers on environmental targets but also focuses on economic growth, social innovation and unlocks huge opportunities for local communities and businesses. The digital platform and underlying business model are easily replicable and there is a plan to replicate it within UK and also to the EU.

 

London Bus

 

The CAPE project is an innovative approach to empower local communities and city authorities in delivering community energy initiatives:

 

1. Data Innovation

CAPE will use a uniquely broad mix of datasets comprising satellite, aerial, open and proprietary energy and socio-economic data to create a rich understanding of energy needs and opportunities at a community and urban scale. Data sets of this variety and heterogeneity have never before been merged and analyzed as a whole.

CAPE will use new analytics methods to derive a “renewable energy capacity model” from satellite and aerial data. This model will for the first time provide highly accurate, near real-time assessment of installed solar PV capacity and future potential solar and GSHP/ASHP capacity on a property-by property level across a whole urban area.

Cluster analysis will be used to identify scale communities with a high energy efficiency need and provide quantified results for the total community.

 


2. Social Innovation

In a radical departure from existing solutions, CAPE will put advanced urban data analytics into the hands of communities to enable bottom-up social action within communities: "urban analytics for communities by communities", to enable effective collaboration between citizens, local authorities and supply chains.

CAPE’s social media interfaces (via web sites and Smart phones) will assist local community groups to create energy awareness and energy savings in an accessible way for the first time.

 

3. Commercial Innovation

CAPE is free-to-use by communities, local authorities and the supply chain. This will encourage the uptake, volume and momentum of projects in a liquid market of willing buyers and sellers. The supply chain may bid for any projects but will only pay a commission on the projects they win. This is a radical innovation because it turns the supply chain’s cost of sale in a liquid, free market mostly into a variable cost for the first time.



Impact and contribution

The nature of the problem that communities (i.e. local authority, citizens and supply chain) face is that energy efficiency and generation initiatives are sub-optimal. Our aim is to unlock the addressable UK energy efficiency and renewable energy market so that the energy sustainability targets of the UK Govt are met. A study by Tech Mahindra indicate that more community based energy saving/generation projects are required to get near the 2030 targets.

 

1. Economic impact

CAPE will empower communities to reduce energy bills, alleviate fuel poverty and realise new business opportunities. It will generate significant local employment and training opportunities leveraging current government grant funding totaling over £1bn a year e.g. ECO, Green Deal, EU Skills funding, as well as new job opportunities from the local supply chain.


2. Social impact

CAPE’s social media interfaces will assist local community groups to create energy awareness and energy saving methods. Social inclusion, community engagement and exciting ways to present energy information will drive behavior change, boosted by show casing local energy champions that the city can relate to as being similar and good role models. It will enable bottom-up social action within communities and encourage broad involvement in community energy schemes.


3. Environmental impact

CAPE will empower communities to reduce their environmental impacts through a combination of energy savings measures and higher use of (local) renewable energy.

 

It will help unlock a potential about € 22.2b market in commercial opportunities

 

Replication potential and social acceptance

The CAPE platform would be ready by early 2017. Presently, the platform is being trailed in one UK city council. CAPE will roll out to a further 10 local authorities (already engaged) from that year.

CAPE will be very attractive to national and local supply chain SMEs as it will give much greater awareness of project opportunities and gain them entry to larger national companies’ supply chains as well as provide a readily trained and mobilized local workforce.

The exploitable output of CAPE is manifold, firstly in the process of forming investible and buildable projects from data mapping. The CAPE system will unite both building owners, community representatives with supply chain in an organized process. Therefore the local energy saving and investment opportunities will become real. The early engagement of the supply chain will validate the opportunities to the exact available technologies and project time frames.

 


 

About Tech Mahindra


Tech Mahindra represents the connected world, offering innovative and customer-centric information technology services and solutions, enabling Enterprises, Associates and the Society to Rise™. It is a USD 4.0 billion company with 107,100+ professionals across 90 countries, helping over 800 global customers including Fortune 500 companies. Their innovation platforms and reusable assets connect across a number of technologies to deliver tangible business value to our stakeholders. Tech Mahindra is also amongst the Fab 50 companies in Asia as per the Forbes 2014 List.

The company is part of the USD 16.9 billion Mahindra Group that employs more than 200,000 people in over 100 countries. The Group operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology, after-market and vacation ownership.