IIIT Hyderabad Campus to Drive International Academic and Business Collaboration on Smart Cities Research

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With the establishment of the Centre of Excellence on IoT, a Smart City Research Centre, and a Living Lab, the International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad (IIITH) has laid the ground for international partnerships in education and entrepreneurship for smart city research.

Centre of Excellence on IoT

High-quality interdisciplinary research has long been the International IITH’s unique selling proposition (USP). It was what drew the EU-funded collaborative project titled ‘India-EU Cooperation on ICT-Related Standardisation, Policy and Legislation’ to set up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) on the Internet of Things (IoT) for Smart Cities in 2019.

The center comprises faculty drawn from various research centers such as Building Sciences, Signal Processing and Communications, Center for VLSI and Embedded Systems, and the Computer Systems Group, which is essential for work on IoT for smart cities. The joint venture’s primary focus is on the development of knowledge-based initiatives that include the organization of tutorials, hackathons, workshops, and conferences on the components of IoT like oneM2M standards for interoperability.

“We have now integrated OneM2M in our curriculum and it is a part of the IoT courses we offer,” says Dr. Sachin Chaudhari, Coordinator of the CoE.

Genesis Of The Living Lab

Another goal of the initiative is to facilitate the exchange of experts between India and the EU. Delegations from IIITH have visited the EU twice in 2019 to explore collaborative possibilities between French universities, and entrepreneurial ventures with startups and the government. During one of the visits, they saw ‘smart’ implementations at the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems (LAAS-CNRS), Toulouse, and in Bordeaux Metropole, and were inspired to do something similar at IIITH.

Platform For Smart Research

In April 2020, in collaboration with the Government of India’s Smart City Mission, the Government of Telangana and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy), IIITH set up a Smart City Research Centre (SCRC) to engage in research related to IoT verticals such as air quality, building energy, water quality and quantity. The goal is to provide a platform where novel IoT designs and ideas can be experimented with.

For this, a Living Lab has been established to facilitate startups planning on developing ‘smart city’ products. The Lab is in partnership with the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) and avails the expertise of the Amsterdam Innovation Arena – a football stadium used for testing smart-city related innovations on non-match days.

At the Living Lab, the first stage of deployment of air pollution nodes has been completed with work in progress on the other verticals.

“A dashboard with all relevant information will soon be available. Thanks to the CoE, we could also be a part of the Telecommunications Standards Development Society India and are contributing to it,” says Dr. Chaudhari.

The academic partnership has kicked off, too, with an MS student, Shubham Mante set to fly to LAARS-CNRS on a 6-month internship.