New-age townships: Tech-tonic shift for smarter cities

By: |
Updated: August 22, 2015 11:31:04 AM

Taking a cue from Barcelona that offers all government services through kiosks, Cisco Systems, in partnership with the Bengaluru police, has set up a kiosk at Mantri Mall in the city for people to lodge first information reports (FIRs).

SMART CITIESThe Smart Cities mission has clearly brought into focus the need for use of technologies for delivering urban services to citizens while conserving resources. (Source: IE)

Taking a cue from Barcelona that offers all government services through kiosks, Cisco Systems, in partnership with the Bengaluru police, has set up a kiosk at Mantri Mall in the city for people to lodge first information reports (FIRs).

The kiosk, with an operator (not a police personnel), allows people to lodge an FIR, serving as a two-way interaction with the police station. After lodging the FIR, the individual can print a copy of the same for himself. The project that was taken up on a pilot basis and was limited to one mall in Bengaluru, that too only for lodging FIRs, is set to witness an expansion.

The Karnataka government is planning to install the kiosk in other malls in the city and then throughout the state. It is also exploring the possibility of providing other services to citizens through the kiosk.

Similarly, Hewlett-Packard has set up network of 44 e-health centres across six states with a panel of more than 25 doctors associated with several hospitals including Narayana Healthcare, Tata Hospital and Maharaja Agrasen Medical College.

At one of the centres in Payradanga, almost 60 kilometres away from Kolkata, Hewlett-Packard is providing e-healthcare solution to rural, uneducated people.

The centre, equipped with a paramedical officer, medical equipment and a screen to communicate with doctors, does not require individuals to carry their medical reports. Those, maintained as electronic records can be accessed by either entering the Aadhaar number or though biometrics.

Even as India embarks on developing its existing cities into smart cities by harnessing technology and infrastructure development (under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), global technology majors have already initiated works in that direction.

Global majors such as Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, among others, have, over the last few months, taken several initiatives and are working with the state governments and urban local bodies to implement technology in the areas of mobility, e-governance, water, waste management, education, healthcare, smart energy etc.

Having initiated discussions with states and urban local bodies to take up projects, they feel that many authorities are warming up to the idea after the push provided by the Central government.

While several authorities across the country are now looking to work with consultants, Bangaluru, by virtue of being home to many global IT companies in India, seems to have become the breeding ground of various pilot projects.

Other than the kiosk-based FIR lodging system, Cisco has also adopted an area in Bengaluru’s Electronic City on a pilot basis to provide traffic management, smart street lighting, wi-fi solution etc.

“If you can do it in a controlled area you can expand it across the city. Our push has been to take the citizen services closer to the people so that they don’t have to travel for them. Taking off from the success of the pilot, the police in Karnataka is now planning to put the kiosk in several malls across the city and later spread it across the state. They are also working on setting up a centralised call centre that can handle multiple kiosks from across the city,” said Aamer Azeemi, MD, Cisco Consulting Services, India.

IBM, on the other hand, in partnership with the authorities in Bengaluru took up non-revenue water (NRW) project in Bangalore that aims at equitable distribution of water in municipal wards and lowering down losses.

“Not only it aims towards bringing down leakages, it will ensure efficient use of water,” said Prashant Pradhan, director, Smarter Planet Business, IBM India and South Asia. While the average loss of water for most cities is around 40 per cent, Pradhan said, “The authority’s ability to simply manage equitable distribution has significantly improved after the completion of the project.”

Pradhan highlighted on the need of unique solutions for every city since each city has a unique character and needs in terms of physical, social and economical infrastructure.

He said that cities need to identify the issues and work out accordingly. Other than Bengaluru, IBM is actively working with Ajmer, Surat, Visakhapatnam, Allahabad and some other cities.

Through its e-healthcare and e-education programmes, while Hewlett-Packard is looking to address some of the issues of urban poor, Lux Rao, CTO and country leader, HP Future Cities, said, “We are working with various governments to create a city marketplace. We are looking at citizen centricity , inclusion, addressing problems of urban poor relating to education, healthcare etc that will be integral part of our cities.”

The Smart Cities mission has clearly brought into focus the need for use of technologies for delivering urban services to citizens while conserving resources.

On Saturday and Sunday, Smart Cities Council India, at the behest of Government of Telangana, is also hosting the ‘National Conclave on Smart Technologies’ (NCST) to showcase technologies which can be used across the 600 municipalities of India. Leading technology companies will be part of the event showcasing their offerings.

Consumption Growth in Cities Improving

Urban consumption growth appears to be showing signs of improvement, with the Consumption index showing its fastest growth, Morgan Stanley said in a report.

66% rise in the four-year AlphaWise City Vibrancy Index (ACVI)
5% rise in ACVI index for the six-month period ended March 2015
8% increase in the Consumption index
5% rise in the Job Opportunities index
2% growth in the Financial Infrastructure index during the six-month period

Consumption index for Top 200 cities
The Consumption index for top 200 cities saw its fastest six-month growth since the start of 2011. The fastest growing consumption segments for the top 200 cities include multiplexes, retail apparel, and restaurants.

Top 50 city rankings:
* Bengaluru, Pune and Chandigarh are the most vibrant cities
* Nashik ranks 7th in vibrancy, up from 10th six months ago
* Chandigarh and Raipur are top-ranked in the Consumption index
* Bengaluru and Pune lead in Job Opportunities
* Nashik, Varanasi rank at the top in Financial Infrastructure index

Top 200 city rankings:
* Noida, Gurgaon, Hisar, Bengaluru, and Pune are the most vibrant cities within the top 200 cities by population
* Noida, Gurgaon and Chandigarh top the Consumption Index
* Noida, Gurgaon and Bengaluru top in Job Opportunities
* Belgaum, Faizabad and Mahbubanagar are the top 3 for Financial Penetration

Urban observations
* Multiplexes are the fastest-growing consumption segment — penetration has grown to 65% from 30% in 2011 in the top 200 cities
* Though 85% of the top 200 cities have an auto dealer, about 75% of do not yet have a luxury dealer
* Luxury car dealership penetration, second fastest, has increased to 25% from 10% in 2011
* About 90% of top 200 cities are yet to open a five-star hotel
* Though 50% of top 200 cities have a quick service restaurant (new-age chains), 75% of them still don’t have a high-end gym
* More than two-thirds of the top 200 cities are yet to have a hypermarket chain in the city

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.