1. Smart cities: Giving citizens a better life

Smart cities: Giving citizens a better life

The Jaipur Development Authority plans to transform the ‘pink city’ into a ‘smart city’ by setting up digital infrastructure that would enable the provision of citizen services and amenities; the civic body in Ambala has deployed a GPS guided biometric system to ensure that its street cleaners actually report for work, clean the roads and clear garbage dumps; while agencies in Lucknow and Navi Mumbai have set up IP-based city surveillance systems for faster response to security breaches—city administrations across the country are embracing smart infrastructure to improve the efficiency and quality of services received by their citizens

By: | Published: June 22, 2015 12:15 AM

Smart cities is the new buzzword in the Indian infrastructure and development space. For evidence take a look at Jaipur, one of India’s most popular travel destinations, which will now embrace the benefits of connectivity and digitisation to transform itself into a smart connected city. The Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) has chosen to develop smart city infrastructures that will improve the efficiency and quality of services received by its 3.5 million residents and over 40 million tourists who visit the city every year. “Our efforts are focused on improving the quality of life of residents and visitors by enabling greater efficiency in public transport, safety and security services, environmental sensors and more,” Shikhar Agarwal, commissioner of Jaipur Development Authority, told FE in a recent interaction.

JDA will set up the digital infrastructure—with assistance from Cisco—to offer citizens amenities including connected transport, interactive kiosks, wireless broadband, safety and security services, traffic management and environmental updates. The civic body will install an urban platform of sensors which allows for the sharing of information, giving added value to citizens. JDA will also set up a command and control centre as well as a response control room to manage the city with greater efficiency and effectiveness. This is aligned with the Digital India programme that aims to offer infrastructure as a utility, where governance and services are offered on demand.

“Jaipur is one of the most historic and culturally rich cities in the country, and at close to 300 years old also one of the oldest. This initiative will be an amalgamation where the old meets the new that will not only improve the lives of citizens, but will also make Jaipur a smart city showcase for the millions of visitors who visit India every year,” Agarwal said. “The Digital India programme of the government is focused on the digital empowerment of citizens, where infrastructure will be offered as a utility to every citizen, governance and services would be on demand, and citizens would be digitally empowered,” he said, adding “we are happy to have Cisco on board for this transformative project and are certain that we will benefit from the expertise Cisco brings through the numerous smart city projects they have undertaken globally.”

Purushottam Kaushik, managing director, Sales, Growth Verticals, Cisco India & SAARC, said, “We are excited to work with JDA to help enable a city as historic as Jaipur become one of the first and most ambitious city-wide brownfield smart city projects in India. We have pioneered the concept of smart cities through our Smart+Connected Communities and have the experience of working on similar brownfield projects in Barcelona and Hamburg. We look forward to working closely with JDA and bring in the best practices and learnings to help develop Jaipur as a world-class smart city.”

Cisco will help JDA deploy solutions that would improve the efficiency and quality of services received by the citizens. These include connected transport, interactive kiosks for citizen services, wireless broadband, safety and security services, traffic management and environmental updates. The project will be rolled out in two phases. Phase 1 will include the metro area, crucial locations such as tourist spots, hospitals, public transport stops and government offices. Phase 2 will cover the rest of the city including peripheral areas as well as industrial hubs.

This is also one of the first brownfield projects of its kind to be announced in India where an existing city will undertake city-wide digitisation. Cisco has developed an expertise of working on brownfield projects through its work in cities such as Barcelona, Hamburg and London. In Barcelona, Cisco has deployed smart solutions in the areas of lighting, water and energy management. As a result, the city has generated 47,000 additional jobs, it saves $58 million through water management and generates $50 million in revenue through the use of smart parking
technology.

According to an estimate, by the year 2050, the population in Indian cities will touch 843 million. To accommodate this extensive urbanisation, India needs to find smarter ways to manage complexities, reduce expenses, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of urban life. The smart cities programme has received considerable support and wide spread interest from countries and businesses to explore investment and collaborative opportunities with India.

Under the government’s 100 Smart Cities programme, approved by the Cabinet recently, each selected city will receive central assistance of Rs 100 crore annually for five years driving economic growth and taking progress forward. Special emphasis will be given to participation of citizens in prioritising and planning urban interventions. As per industry body Nasscom, the government’s smart cities programme can create business opportunities to the tune of $30-40 billion for the IT sector over the next 5-10 years.

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