Covid-19 outbreak provides an opportunity for smart cities to deliver again

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Published: April 10, 2020 5:30:37 AM

While smart cities have not been able to garner attention and support as the government had expected, with only a few of the 100 announced taking off, the Covid-19 outbreak provides an opportunity for smart cities to deliver again.

While states have tied up with start-ups to tackle the spread of Covid-19, smart cities are relying on their integrated systems to track spreads better. While states have tied up with start-ups to tackle the spread of Covid-19, smart cities are relying on their integrated systems to track spreads better.

Smart cities across the country are working to extend access to healthcare via telemedicine. The government highlighted that most integrated command and control centres in these cities had been converted into “war zones” to tackle the spread of Covid-19. Cities like Kota were seeking the help of the medical fraternity to connect patients with doctors over Skype and, in some cases, even connect them with medicine shops. While states have tied up with start-ups to tackle the spread of Covid-19, smart cities are relying on their integrated systems to track spreads better. Agra, which was named as the best smart city in India, offers a good example. The city, in association with SaaS service provider Gaia and Microsoft, has been using an intelligent feedback platform to create heat maps of infected places. Gaia says it is now planning to do more by integrating other networks.

While smart cities have not been able to garner attention and support as the government had expected, with only a few of the 100 announced taking off, the Covid-19 outbreak provides an opportunity for smart cities to deliver again. By collating data on service providers, district administrations can work towards creating a database of essential services, which can later be used by start-ups to develop apps. Cities across the world have followed this sandboxing model. For instance, anonymised data on traffic has been shared for the development of transport apps. In India, this data can be used for start-ups to streamline delivery of essentials. Now that smart cities have the opportunity, it is time to act smart and utilise it.

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