“For us, where we see a peak of opportunity is how you manage the public transportation. How you have to do the modeling of public transportation, multimodal whether I go I combine metro bus and car and taxi. The oldest transportation management system is one of the areas that I see is common in every Indian city because today when you look at the Indian city, I will take the example of Bangalore because I live there, usually you have metro lines”, asserted Samson Khaou, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes in conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW SmartCities World. Excerpts below:
Would you appraise us about the solutions that Dassault Systemes is rolling out to facilitate Smart City Mission under the government of India
We actually started to incorporate or to integrate cities as part of our strategy in 2015. That is around the same time when we had the Smart City Mission. With a project that was given by the government of Singapore, under the National Research Foundation, which is how we can come with a solution, more than a solution a platform that can create, manage a virtual Singapore. Singapore has a master plan of cities and for them to do the right planning, they need to have the right representation of every asset within the city. The asset go from lamp posts, street furniture, trees, and roads to any of the transportation infrastructure. And they would like to have a platform that can enable them to take the relevant data from the different government agency to do the right simulation for given clarification project. And this is how we started the collaboration with the government of Singapore in 2016. Behind this collaboration, there is a whole government program for smart nation, because this virtual Singapore is part of Singapore government’s initiative - smart nation. Why they call it smart nation is because once we are able to virtualize the city, it brought you through the data that is going to be connected, aggregated through a platform, you actually can leverage those data for business, new workforce of the future and to create application for the cities
And what we have learned from this program is that the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a big data platform that aggregate all the information that are relevant to make decision for city planning and simulation because today, when you look at the physical world, the physical world actually is being optimized through the virtual simulation. Okay. And this is the reason why we start with this program to validate that our 3DEXPERIENCE platform with all the application are relevant for the city. And that was the starting point for our Vice Chairman to formulate a strategy that our platform can scale to support a city project. That was in 2015, at the same time when the Smart City Mission started.
And in June 2017 we came to know that there was a potential project that would be an open tender in the city of Jaipur. So, we had been actually contacted to see in which way our platform could support the similar project and we have been going through a lot of discussion evaluation on the platform, because they also learned that we are using this platform for virtual Singapore project and we got the project in Jaipur. Leveraging on what we have understood and developed as a use case in Singapore, we are taking all the relevant used cases of Singapore to be applied in in Jaipur and at the same time we are also leveraging some of the use case of Jaipur that could be relevant to other cities.
How do you strategize the placement of 3D Designs for Smart Cities ?
Two things which is very specific in a city in is how to solve the problem of the traffic congestion. How to simulate that first because one of the solution is a fly over. So how we can simulate the construction of the fly over, the impact to the traffic and once during the construction you have to look at the impact. Second is that when you have to do the simulation after the flyover, how you are going to look at the different area upstream downstream that will be impacted by the construction of the flyover. Because when you solve the problem, you're just propagating the problem to other parts of the city. And you have to make sure that once you solve the problem of avoiding around about the crossing, then you will create maybe a traffic down the line. So that's how our platform helps to simulate that potential area of new construction. That's the first thing that is very specific in smart city. The second specific area that we came our knowledge while working with Jaipur smart city is that in Rajasthan you have a lot of kiosk. Which is providing the services to the citizens. And there are a lot of government kiosk for people to be digitally connected to the government. So, we have amount of data connected from the kiosk and now also the government of Rajasthan want to understand whether the kiosk in the city to enable this kind of services or not. So this is the reason why you can look at the overall planning of the city and how you are going to plan also the connection with citizen, how do you have to locate the area where you have to place some e-services for the citizens.
Exactly and how look at the way those applications are used and this is also something which is very specific to Indian city. That’s what we learned through this project and the project is still going on. For me, it's important that now, we start to understand the specific of India. We know that our blood the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is working. This is the reason why we have taken this conscious decision to be part of smart city Expo this year, in order to be known and to be connected with the Smart City Mission in this year.
How do you tally or compare Indian concept of Smart Cities with respect to that of other countries or Singapore?
It’s very hard to really do comparison. Every local government or municipal authority, have a vision of the development of making the city smart with all the existing legacy. And I would say you have a variety of situation, which is a very common one, how to manage the mobility, how to manage the construction, how to plan the construction of the housing, how you have to manage the connection with the city, how to make this the citizen community be participating and how you have to manage all the power supply, all the utilities, all this kind of scenario are very common in any city. But since they are all common the context, which is how the city have been built, how the road have been plan, which is the current legacy. Usually you have to find different solution and this is the reason where simulation is important. This is the reason why it's also important to create a virtual team for you to integrate what had been already existing today, what new case you want to simulate, and this is how we combine the two. So, it's very hard for me to, to really compare
When you have all these together you actually have to look how best you can use the simulation as I say it is a continuous improvement because you have to respect the habitation of the city. You also have to respect the people living in a city and is very hard to say whether one city is smarter than the other one. This is what we learnt and I think that India is really a very good learning ground because we have all the all the difficulty aggregated in a city complex. If you want a brand new city, new capital city, like in Andhra Pradesh where you have to start fresh from a new space. There you can really play to the right master plan of the city and how you're going to build different buildings, road and how you can integrate greenery in the city. Unless you have those kind of opportunity of building a new capital city. Most of the time here in India you have and the Smart City Mission is about the existing city.
What are the specific challenges that you feel that you face while operating in India and perspective to the smart cities or developing a smart city and what are the ways they can be mitigated?
I would take it more from a technology side without entering to all the sensitivities and sensible things. I would say the availability of the data because for us, in order to do the right simulation, the right representation of the city, we need to get the right level of information and data. Today, it's very difficult to get the right level of information of a city because you can have review information data. So among all information is very hard to get the right level of information. This is a challenge for us. Because for us to leverage the platform and assumptions you have to have the right set of data. That's the first thing. The second thing is that when we have to define what we call the use case, which is how you would like to optimize in this scenario like how you want to optimize the traffic it's very difficult to understand actually people from different department will come with the different type of requirement today.
So, you have actually a lot of requirement that sometime contracting thing, sometime redundant, sometime as I say inconsistent so he's very hard to understand the when people want to visualize a problem is to really define what would be the conceptual scenario to address one problem through the simulation and that's a challenge in itself. But what we realized is that even in well-developed cites the availability of the data, not that the data is not available is that how to how to collect the data a big challenge is. Because when you look at the city, you have all the set of data, IoT data, you have all the command and control center data and all these data is coming from different source. And it's very hard to really take the relevant data.
What are the solutions that Dassault Systemes roll out for Smart Cities in Government of India’s Smart City Mission?
We have traffic simulation, urban planning traffic simulation. We also have natural disaster simulation. Water logging is very important because we know the drainage. How to also look at the impact of the today's drainage system.For me water logging simulation is an IT enabled solution. And that's the things that we are facing most of the time.
If you can share with us one major scope or opportunity with respect to Indian market or Indian scenario for the growth of Dassault Systemes business in Smart City domain?
For us, where we see a peak of opportunity is how you manage the public transportation. How you have to do the modeling of the public transportation, multimodal whether I go I combine metro bus and car and taxi. The oldest transportation management system is one of the area that I see being a common in every Indian city because today when you look at the Indian city, I will take the example of Bangalore because I live there, usually you have metro lines. But the metro line cannot bring you from one place to another place. You have to combine and have to take a cab or you have to take auto or bus and then you have to take the metro. So, all this transportation come to do the planning of the public transportation in India.