Ever since the government announced its dream of developing 100 smart cities, most technology companies have come up with their line of products and solutions exclusively designed for smart infrastructure. Though the Smart Cities concept envisaged the use of technology for water management, electricity supply, sanitation, public transport among others; safety and security have been treated as the core infrastructure elements for designing the Smart Cities framework.
In order to tap the opportunity rising from the demand for security solutions by government organisations, Japanese electronics major Panasonic has developed technology solutions for various city surveillance projects. The company recently showcased its technologies ranging from city surveillance, rugged notebook, video door phones, telephones and PBX.
Vijay Wadhwan, associate director—SSD, Panasonic India, says there are two types of projects — Smart Cities project and Safe Cities project. Smart Cities is central government funded, whereas for Safe Cities the funding comes from the state government. The former have smart traffic management, smart drainage system along with overall city management, whereas a safe city is a sub-component of a larger smart city.
The business opportunities are many. For homeland security which also covers parts of the Safe Cities project, government departments such as the police need tough pads that can work even in extreme conditions. “In UP we have supplied around 3500 tough pads. The Noida police had these toughpads installed in their cars to keep them updated on real-time basis and provide a seamless connectivity with the control room apart from tracking the location of the PCR vans. It leads to faster crime detection and boosts efficiency,” he says.
Wadhwan also sees a huge growth opportunity in the wearable camera market in India. “Today, if you look at the wearable camera market it seems to be very small, but as we move forward, this would definitely become very large because of the massive police force that we have in this country,” says Wadhwan. “So the basic concept is that whatever conspires between police and the public can be recorded in the camera and will act as a proof or evidence in the future. This can even work on real-time as it works on IP protocol.”
Elaborating on the Smart Cities project, he says that there are 100 cities that are listed as Smart Cities and among them, around 20 have already got some funds allocated. In around four cities among these 20, work is already in progress. “In Bhopal and Ludhiana we will soon be deploying cameras, whereas Guwahati and Jabalpur have not been nominated to anyone yet. In Safe Cities project we have already done Panchkula and Gurgaon and Lucknow is under consideration,” he says. “The major problems that most cities face are about traffic management, violation of traffic, incident management at crowded places. These offer situations where evidence needs to be recorded,” he says.
Talking about the latest city surveillance project, Wadhwan explains that in Bhopal the company has deployed PTZ cameras that are mounted on smart poles provided by Ericsson. The prime bidder is Bharti, which is providing the bandwidth after Ericsson and Panasonic create the video surveillance solution. The proof of concept (POC) is done and deployment will start next month. The total requirement is for about 1400 cameras, but initially the order is for 100 only. “Generally it takes around a year and a half once the PoC is done. On an average, overall requirement is around 2000 cameras for each city depending on the geographical requirement,” Wadhwan adds.