The government’s intent to create 100 smart cities across the country might still be at drawing board stage, but the pink city of Jaipur in the midst of a digital transformation. The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) is leveraging the latest in information and communication technology (ICT) to enable good governance and a better quality of life for its citizens. In its first phase, the city administration has created digital infrastructure to offer citizens amenities including intelligent kiosks, wireless broadband, safety and security services, traffic management and environmental updates.
JDA has set up a city infrastructure management centre as well as a response control room to manage the city with greater efficiency and effectiveness. As such, in the city infrastructure management centre nearly all the solutions are integrated into a digital platform. This digital platform can aggregate data from various sensors and solutions conduct data analytics and support a number of urban services. In this phase, JDA has implemented the
solutions in some of the city’s prominent locations, such as Jantarmantar, Amer, Albert Hall, Jal Mahal, Ram
Niwas Bagh, Hawa Mahal, Central Park, Jawahar Circle.
The deployments featured at Amer Fort include connected parking, connected lighting, Wi-Fi, interactive intelligent kiosks with environmental sensors, city surveillance for safety and security and remote expert for government services (REGS). In the next phase of implementation, another 25 sites will be completed by the end of February 2016.
Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said, “My vision for the state is to digitally empower every citizen to enhance the quality of life, enable ease of doing business in the state and become an innovation and knowledge hub of the country. ‘Digital Rajasthan’ is a powerful platform to realise that vision. We envision Rajasthan as a role model for digital transformation for other states to follow.”
Predictably, there is a lot of excitement in government and technology circles about India’s efforts to improve its city infrastructure. Shikhar Agarwal, commissioner of Jaipur Development Authority told FE: “The initiative to transform Jaipur into a smart city has gathered tremendous momentum in the past few months. Today, the citizens of Jaipur are digitally empowered and this is just the beginning. We are happy to have Cisco on board for this transformative project and are certain that we will benefit from the experience and expertise Cisco brings through numerous smart city projects the company has undertaken globally.”
Dinesh Malkani, president, Cisco India and Saarc, said, “Digitisation will be key to how cities, communities and countries maintain global competitiveness, increase GDP growth, foster innovation and create new jobs. The foundation for ‘Digital Rajasthan’ will be intelligent networks which will transform the delivery of citizen services.
The future of competition will be between cities and we believe Rajasthan can be a digital hub for the country.”
Almost all cities across India are saddled with infrastructural challenges. According to JDA officials, essentially there are three broad categories of investments in infrastructure and technology, all of which are required for delivering “smart” urban services. The first category is basic infrastructure—water or sewage pipelines—and without building this basic building block, one can never achieve true smart infrastructure.
The second category of technology investments in a typical smart city pertains to sensors installed at specific points in the city-wide network which are used to monitor parameters related to service delivery; for example, flow meters used for monitoring water supply levels. ICT solutions comprise the third component of a smart city infrastructure.
It is precisely these solutions which are being used by JDA to analyse data collected through network-level sensors.
The endeavour is to generate potential decision options for the city administration to provide efficient urban services.
That’s not all. Efficient and reliable transmission of electricity is a fundamental requirement for providing societies with essential energy resources. As part of the digitisation programme, Rajasthan government has now announced the smart grid initiative. The energy department of Rajasthan has embarked upon creating three classes of transformations: upgradation and modernisation of electrical transmission infrastructure, addition of the digital layer to leverage benefits of ICT and deployment of smart solutions for intelligent operations.
Today, the Rajasthan transmission system handles around 71,000 MU per annum of energy with transmission loss of 4.2%. The smart grid initiative will be leveraged to handle energy of around 100 BU per annum in the next 4-5 years and ensure stable and reliable operation of the transmission grids capable of carrying large-scale renewable energy.
Clearly, Jaipur promises to be among the most tech-savvy cities in the country.