What Exactly is that makes a city smart

Smart City – What it means


Cohesive, Integrated, Resourceful- A smart city is all this and much more

What is a Smart City

‘Smart City’ – we have often heard many references to this term recently and the ensuing developments are being enthusiastically tracked by everyone. The announcement made by the government to create 100 smart cities across India by 2022 is being looked upon with anticipation and much curiosity.

It has led to the obvious interest and inquisitiveness as to how different a ‘smart city’ would be as compared to the one we are currently living in. After all, the present city we reside in does provide housing, employment opportunities, traffic management and energy resources; so how exactly would one benefit from a ‘smarter city’. Let’s attempt to find some answers to these facts.

Smart Answers

So what exactly comprises a smart city? Among many intelligent features, a smart city is one which uses digital technology solutions to enhance the quality of life of the citizens while simultaneously aiming to reduce the cost and consumption of resources.

The need for a city such as this has arisen out of the glaring need to handle the large scale urbanization and massive population boom. Experts predict the world’s urban population would double by 2050 and this obviously means an added pressure on resources and calls upon an organised, structured way of life for citizens.

Cities would need to get ‘smarter’ in order to find new ways of managing complexities while concurrently increasing efficiency. In fact, the basic premise of a smart city is to make urban living convenient and in tune with the needs of the Gen-Y. Imagine if our cities could give us live, real-time updates on traffic conditions, pollution, parking spaces and energy usage, we would be able to re-shape our economies and largely improve environmental health of the city for residents as well as visitors.

On the threshold

As India now steps towards the direction of creating smart cities, there are numerous examples of cities around the world which have invested considerably in this technology to reap the benefits of this digital transformation. Top smart cities around the world include Barcelona (environment and smart parking), New York (street lighting and traffic management), London (technology and open data metrics), Nice (cohesion between different agencies and environment) and Singapore (creative use of technology).

Characteristically, smart cities evolve towards a strong integration of all dimensions of human intelligence, collective intelligence and lmj9-ok partificial intelligence within the city. Technologies such as ultra-low power sensors, wireless networks and web and mobile based applications are the key drivers of this revolution.

Implemented across the world

Santander city in Spain has 20,000 sensors connecting buildings, infrastructure, transport, networks and utilities providing an opportunity to monitor the levels of pollution, noise, traffic and parking. This is a typical example of an ‘online collaborative sensor data management platform’ which is an on-line database services. This service allows sensor owners to register and connect their devices to feed data into an on-line database for storage and allows developers to connect to the database and build their own applications based on that data.

Amsterdam, for instance, began the initiative way-back in 2009 and it involved a collaborative effort of projects between local residents, governments and businesses. A similar interconnected platform was devised to enhance the city’s real-time tracking and decision making capabilities.

Mobypark, a resident developed application allows owners of parkingplaces to rent them out to fellow residents for a fee. This data in turn is fed into the central platform to determine parking demand and traffic demand in Amsterdam. Another project facilitated upgrades of street lamps to allow municipal councils to dim lights based on pedestrian usage.

India- Looking ahead

India and U.S. signed up three memoranda of understandings (MOU) to developing the three cities – Ajmer, Allahabad and Vishakhapatnam for its significant contribution to tourism and trade. On a national scale, the cabinet recently cleared the government’s flag-ship schemes – 100 smart cities and an urban rejuvenation program for 500 towns and cities. Under the smart cities scheme each city selected through a “city challenge” competition would get central assistance of Rs. 100 crore per year for five years.

According to reports, the evaluation criteria for stage-1 of the competition within the state/UT involves points system, such as existing service levels (25 points), institutional systems and capacities (15 points), self-financing (30 points) and past track record (30 points).

There will be special focus on adequate and clean water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient transportation, affordable housing for the poor, power supply, robust IT connectivity, e-governance, safety and security of citizens, health and education.

Working towards the goal
Judicious investment in the right kind of technologies and priorities will help the country get on the fast track towards the objective of Smart Cities. The creation of cities that are not only smart, but also sustainable and efficient can only be achieved if the public and private bodies join hands and work towards it hand in hand.



10 pertinent questions to ask before purchasing a house

Prepare for buying a home
Purchasing a home is generally thought of as a stressful journey, fraught with many hurdles and fraudulent wrongdoings by builders, brokers and sellers. But it need not always be so, not when you are armed with preliminary knowledge about the legal and financial pre-requisites and are guided with complete information and understanding about the house you’re going to buy. Of course, if you’re a first-time homebuyer you must chalk out your personal expenses and incomes beforehand and then decide how much you actually want to spend on your home.
What’s more, once you are absolutely certain that you want to purchase a house, make sure that you have some surplus amount remaining to make way for the ancillary expenses pertaining to the home purchase as well as contingency requirements that may arise later on.
Here we have compiled a checklist on the things you need to ask yourself before you sign the dotted line
What’s the reason for selling the house?
This should be one of the first questions to ask your broker whenyou’re discussing the prospects of the house. Before you can arrive at an offer price or commence negotiation, you must know the ‘real’ reason for the house sale.
Remember, every seller/ listed advertiser will promote their house as being in perfect condition and it is your job to know where the problem is. It’s possible that it may not be a problem at all, but you’ve exercised caution and done due diligence on your part.
Is the sale a distress one? Ask and you will know
Ask the seller or broker directly if there’s a problem with the house. Remember, if a professional home inspection is being done, you will probably come to know about any underlying issues anyway. Nonetheless, asking direct questions will give you a fair idea about the prior resident’s records, distress issues and/or bad history of the house.
Is the neighbourhood suitable?
Enquire about the nearby schools and if they are suitable for you. What about the nearest hospital or the bus depot? What about any history with regard to the crime rates. It is better to ask your broker about these things beforehand.
If it’s a resale, what exactly is included in the sale price?
While buying a house, assumption is your worst enemy. It’s best toask about the inclusions at first. If the new tiling is going to cost you additionally, you should know about it, isn’t it?
Has the house recently been listed for sale or has it been long?
This is an extremely vital question that will determine the price and make room for negotiation, if any. A house which has not sold for a long time may probably have some underlying problem that you are not aware of. If you’re still convinced you want to buy it, make sure you negotiate the price with the seller; chances are they will probably accept it.
Get the original blueprint and compare. Has there been some significant change?
Small and minor cosmetic changes are natural and expected. Even some renovations of rooms and kitchens are normal. However, you need to be alert if there has been considerable change from the original design or layout. It’s possible that there are hidden leaks and cracks that are being covered.
To buy or not to buy?
Yes, buying a house is a significant milestone in a person’s lifetime but it should not come at the expense of being foolhardy. Find out if it makes more financial sense to live on rent rather than making an outright purchase. Many working couples, even single on-the-go people prefer renting a house as compared to purchasing it.
Secured the home loan but have you considered the property price rise?
The real estate industry is facing a bit of a slowdown and property prices are not appreciating as fast as they were previously thought of. You’ll need to consider the interest of the home loan versus the property price rise. Looking at charts of price trends and speaking to the broker about the said locality should throw a little light on  this aspect.
Is it Vastu or Feng Shui compliant?
Vaastu Shastra, Kan Yu and Feng Shui are sciences that have brought wealth, prosperity and happiness to many and if you’re a believer in this science, it helps to find out the details in advance. Which rooms will face what, will there be any modifications required?
How old is the house?
Find out the age of the property and enquire about how long the present occupants have resided in it. If the property has repeatedly been sold and resold, you need to exercise caution. Lots of it.

What to know about mortgage and how it works


A mortgage, also referred to as a mortgage loan, is used by buyers of property to raise capital for purchase or by existing property owners to raise funds for any purpose.

Before understanding this in detail, let us re-visit the more commonly known entity ‘loan’. A loan is a relationship between two parties – a lender and borrower. The lender is also called a creditor and the borrower is called a debtor. The money lent and received in this transaction is known as a loan. The amount of money initially borrowed is called the principal. The borrower pays back not just the principal but also an additional fee, called interest.

Loan repayments are usually paid in monthly instalments and the duration of the loan is usually pre-determined. In the early years, most of your repayments will go toward paying off interest on a mortgage. But as your mortgage reduces, the interest part of the repayment goes down. So as time goes on, more of the monthly repayments go toward paying off the capital. The borrower usually has to pay an up-front amount called as the down-payment as part of the initial loan payment. This is usually arranged to a maximum of 20% of the property value.


Mortgages are secured (collateral) loans that are specifically tied to real estate property, such as land or a house. A collateral serves as protection for a lender against a borrower’s default—that is, it can be used to offset the loan to any borrower failing to pay the principal and interest under the terms of a loan obligation. Un-secured loans are not attached to assets hence they introduce higher risk to a borrower. These kinds of loans thus involve smaller amounts. Credit cards, bank overdrafts, and personal loans are all types of unsecured loans.

The property is owned by the borrower in exchange for money that is paid in installments over time. This enables borrowers to use property sooner than if they were required to pay the full value of the property upfront. Once the mortgage amount (principal + interest) is paid in full, the borrower then becomes a full owner of the property. This arrangement also protects creditors (mortgagees). In the event that a debtor repeatedly misses mortgage loan payments, for example, his or her home and/or land may be foreclosed upon; meaning the lender once again takes physical ownership of the property to recover the losses incurred as a result of the defaults.

Types of mortgages

In terms of interest rates, the mortgages can be further categorized as fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) and adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). In an FRM, the borrower pays the same interest rate for the life of the loan i.e. the monthly principal and interest payment remain the same from the first mortgage payment to the last. In this ‘traditional’ form of mortgage, the borrower is un-affected by either a rise or a fall in the market interest rate. This type of mortgage loan is preferred if economy is not very strong and the interest rates are going to fluctuate.With an ARM, the interest rate is fixed for an initial term, but then it fluctuates with market interest rates. The monthly payments by the borrower are thus un-predictable– where-in there could be a decrease in the amount in case the market rate decreases or the
borrower would need to cough up an added sum on the interest rates if the market rate increases. These types of mortgage loans are preferred in a performing economy where interest rates are likely to fall.

Reverse Mortgage

Another interesting type of an instrument in this family is a reverse mortgage which helps the home-owner to raise capital by borrowing against the value or his / her home. This is exactly the opposite of a conventional home mortgage loan. When the home is pledged, its monetary value is arrived at by the bank, on the basis of the demand for the property, current property prices, and the condition of the house. The bank then disburses a loan amount to the home-owner in the form of periodic payments, after considering a margin for interest costs and price fluctuations. The periodic payments also known as reverse EMI are received by the home-owner over fixed loan tenure.

Handy energy tips that take the shock out of the energy bill

Save your penny and earn it too- Home energy conservation tips that will make you smile!


Why save energy?
Let there be light! But let there be no squandering of it, especially not in today’s day and age. No wastage- That’s the mantra, considering that we are almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels for energy production. Given that fossil fuels are fast depleting besides being a non-renewable source, mankind will be in a doldrums if energy conservation is not taken seriously by one and all.

But what is all this energy conservation brouhaha about? In simple terms, it is a clever method of expending electricity with a slight change in the consumption methods; a means of preventing future resource depletion with a lessening pressure on precious fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Conversely, burning less of fossil fuels also means lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the number one cause of global warming. And of course, who can ignore the fact that besides easing pressure on fossil fuels there is the added benefit of saving on energy bills and making some added income on the side.

Here’s some innovative ways and means of conserving the mega watts-

Energy saving in the building
Most architects and builders prefer to make buildings complaint with energy saving methods from the blueprint phases itself. Smart homes now come with pre-fit motion sensor lightings and solar panels that reduce wastage and make way for optimum saving on electricity. Older buildings conduct energy audits, a tried and tested method for improving the utilization of energy. Essentially, the audit suggests ways and means of reducing the consumption of energy without creating any unnecessary interferences or disruptions. Audits can be done in commercial and residential buildings alike.

Conservation begins at home
There are innumerable ways of making a neat saving by employing handy energy conservation guidelines that ensure you can turning on the savings by choosing to turn off that button-

Make it two

The oven uses many kilowatts of energy and its truly a criminal waste to utilise it for just one thing. Ideally, it is suggested to prep in advance and prepare two-three things that can be placed on multiple baking trays and placed in one go itself.

Scrape it off-
It may sound easy and less of a tedious process, however, pre-rinsing the dishes in hot water in the dishwasher does use a lot of energy. It is better to scrape the dishes beforehand and toss the leftover scraps in the bin. Pop the dishes into the dishwasher and you’ll find that it’ll save precious water and electricity. Additionally, it is important to start the dishwasher on full load capacity besides turning on the energy saving setting. This will allow the dishes to air dry conveniently or you can turn off the drying cycle yourself. You’ll find that the heat for the drying cycle utilises nearly 20 percent of energy of the total dishwasher’s electricity consumption.

Did you know that nearly 90% of a washing machine’s energy is exhausted on heating up water? Ideally, one must set the clothes washer to either warm or cold water setting, rarely hot. Wash your clothes at 30-40 °C and you’ll save a good amount of money.

It is also advisable to hang the clothes out to dry, rather than using the tumble drying setting. Even better, take your clothes out of the dryer just before they’ve completely dried off. The slight remnant dampness will help to iron clothes quicker. Besides, you’ll also have used less energy on the drier.

Blow hot. Blow cold
The trick is to set it right and then sit tight. Don’t keep the heater going on for too long, just set the thermostat to an ideal temperature and leave it be. Using hot blasts for unnecessarily heating the room will lead to wasteful consumption of energy and put additional load on the heater.

Similarly, in the summer, keep the air conditioners on an accurate setting keeping into account the number of people and the temperatures outside. Ensure that you use the sleep timer at nighttimes. Additionally, clean or replace air filters from time to time. Air conditioners get overloaded when it requires drawing air through dirty filters. Replacing the filter in time can save upto 5 percent of energy.

Sembakkam – Buying a flat here is a brilliant investment


If you ask anyone a question about what they would like to do in order to bring more peace in their lives, chances are they would probably say a serene home, a comfortable lifestyle and happiness and health for the family. Surely, each of us attempts to bring in more elements of tranquillity and serenity in this already hectic world.

This is why a home is considered a personal sanctuary, an abode where the pace and peace, both are within your control and your control alone. Homes at Sembakkam have become much sought after due to this very reason, there is perfect harmony of peace and an equal measure of pace here. Sembakkam is a quiet, consecrated municipal suburb in Kancheepuram district, located within the south side of the ever so bustling city of Chennai. It has of late been in the public eye because of the rapid real estate developments taking place.

Place of Peace

Sembakkam has many temples such as the Chandra Mouleeswarar temple, the Jambulingeswarar temple- a temple of lord shiva and Akilandeswari amman. The exquisite Skandasharamam temple has been built recently with lord murugan, pancha muga Vinayagar, Shiva lingam and Goddess Mahalakshmi.Besides these there are many other temples in and around the area. The Guruswamy Nagar temple is believed to be one of the more pristine and well-maintained must-visit temples here.

The area has become hugely popular among home buyers because of the multitude of temples and the many options for recreation. The Sembakkam park amenities such as a library, water fountain, orchids, lawn, shuttle ground, walking path are very well maintained and it is highly frequented by families.

Place of Pace

The Velachery-Tambaram main road has assumed great significance and there are many large corporations and shopping centres around this road. There has a massive spurt in real estate development in surrounding areas because of the rapid urban  station in this stretch. Sembakkam is located a stone’s throw away from the bustling Velachery-Tambaram main road. By virtue of being located in close proximity to Velachery, Sembakkam has become a much sought after location.

About Velachery

Today, Velachery is transformed from the sleepy farm land it once was. The widening of the Bypass Road in 2005 to a six-lane road gave a big push to this locality and the areas surrounding it. There are many supermarkets, parks such as Rajakilpakkam Park, international fast food joints and schools such as the Christ King Girls high school along the Velachery-Tambaram main road. Velachery is surrounded by IIT Madras in the north-east, Taramani in the east, Adambakkam in the northwest and Pallikaranai Marshland in the south.

Akila Heights- Lofty homes for a fulfilled living
Introducing homes that have been built keeping ‘pace and peace’ as two prime components of modern living, Asvini’s new project Akila Heights has been designed meticulously and thoughtfully for the modern family. Located at Sembakkam, on the Velachery Tambaram Road, Akila Heights is positioned in the prime area connecting GST Road and OMR. The project is in close proximity to educational institutions and IT companies on OMR and Porur. Residents here are guaranteed great connectivity via the many wide roads, besides quick accessibility to the airport and railway station. The Chennai airport is just 11 kms away, the Tambaram railway station (east) is 4.8 kms and the Tambaram bus depot (west) is 5.2 kms away. Sholinganallur is merely 9 kms away from the project.

Residents of the location are afforded with easy access to public resources such as schools, hospitals, recreational zones and parks. All major schools and renowned educational institutions such as the Alpha Matriculation School (which is directly opposite to the site), MAV School and BVM Global at Perumbakkam among others are close by. Colleges such as Prince Shri Venkateswara Arts & Science College and B S Abdur Rahman University among many others are easily reachable from Akila Heights.

Healthcare facilities and well-known hospitals such as Hindu Mission Hospital, Global Hospital and Kamakshi Memorial Hospital are nearby. Besides, the recreational facilities such as The Phoenix Mall, Coromandel Plaza Mall/ AGS Theatre and the Vandalur Zoo are close-by and are major attractions for our customers.

Elements of Pace and Peace in total synchronicity
Akila Heights aims to please our target customers namely IT executives, teachers and faculty belonging to the educational sector and healthcare professionals. Commercial behemoths are located within a short distance and many of our clients are employed at Mepz Tambaram, Cognizant, HCL, Wipro, Infosys, Chennai One and Tidel Park – all of which are located within a short distance at OMR, Porur and GST Road.

The project is planned as a green oasis and is dotted by trees and water features besides thoughtful features such as the pedestrian pathway and seating area with water feature, alfresco dining, Senior citizens nook, Club house, Party lawn and the beautiful Gazebo above waterbody. Outdoor enthusiasts delight in the dedicated Cricket net area, Badminton court, Basketball post, outdoor fitness area and children play area. Besides this, the project is replete with power back up and an on-call departmental store.

Our customers are a bunch of happy people, here’s what they have to say about us


I am quite happy on buying a property from Asvini Foundations. 2 Years before when I was looking for a 3BHK flat with a limited budget but a number of specifications in mind, I could find all my requirements satisfied only at Asvini.
It’s not just the quality of the product; people at Asvini foundations have always treated us in an excellent manner. I never felt that my concerns are not getting heard or there is a delay in responding to the queries. Their commitment to treat customer right is praiseworthy. Overall, I am very happy that I bought my first property from Asvini Foundations. Thank you.

Vivek Khare

We appreciate the team at ASVINI FOUNDATION, CHENNAI for construction of my villa in Coimbatore and my flat in Chennai. Being an NRI we never felt the necessity to be present in India during the construction either to follow up or inspect the quality of works. This is due to your ownership commitment to your customers. We convey our heartfelt thanks to the commitment and services provided by one and all in your organization and wish you all the best in all your future projects.

R K Raman,
Managing Director Al Atheel United Muscat.
Al Atheel Technical Services Dubai

Asvini Foundations is 15 years old today and I hold the pride of being the First Customer of Asvini Foundations. No matter how many year passes by, this pride of mine cannot be grabbed by anyone. I own it and will continue to cherish it.
A small establishment started 15 years ago has come a long way. It has grown today, far and wide, in the service of providing, not just shelter, but a shelter with such a standard, which can outlive generations and suit the needs and taste of the generations to come. I am happy to be associated with Asvini and that’s the reason why I bought a flat again from Asvini. I am sure I will be blessed by the almighty with enough resources to keep buying more and MORE, and Asvini will be my first choice always.

Shanmuga Velayudam
Deputy Vice President & Cluster Head
– HDFC BANK Coimbatore