India already has the ecosystem in place. With bright startups, world class professionals, sizeable workforce, state-of-the-art R&D labs, growing smartphone penetration, India has the potential to lead the world in making cities smarter.
Smart India today is on the brink of an urban revolution, with one in every two Indians expected to live in a city by 2050. The government today faces a huge challenge to create new urban spaces for the migrating population and meet their basic needs of sanitation, waste management, street lighting, surveillance, connectivity, transport, etc. This could be a huge opportunity as well, as the Government spearheads the next level of e-governance. Smart Cities Mission launched in 2015 is expected to be the catalyst to India’s path towards smarter and sustainable urbanisation. A multilayered effort by the Government of India to en-sure good governance and holistic growth, smart cities is being looked upon as a model initiative.
Technology will have a key role to play in this transformational journey. From using technology to monitor water management, waste treatment and intelligent lighting to building safer homes for the citizens by predicting natural calamities, the role of technology is multi-faceted. A smart city requires seamlessly interconnected devices which constantly transfer real time data that can be used to monitor and analyse the next steps. The data collected should be efficiently aggregated and analysed to predict future trends, receive in-sights and provide services based on real time feedback. Data Analytics has a key role to play here. The state-of-the-art infrastructure promised by the smart cities will require round the clock monitoring. These should be used to ensure infrastructural maintenance to accelerate growth.
Now, that we know the role of technology in infrastructure development and maintenance, technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Drones, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Sensors, 3D monitoring are surely an answer to all our queries. All of these technologies have seen an exponential growth supported by the development of the internet network and quadrupling of associated devices. Data collection has become much more efficient with these available new age technologies. IoT, for example can help us solve some predominant city issues like parking, traffic management, energy us-age, street lighting, etc. Imagine an IoT enabled street light keeping us informed about the weather conditions, level of fog, traffic in the locality, identify garbage bins which are about to get full. Constructing an IoT enabled infrastructure is a game changer and should be implemented with a long-term strategy in place. When done properly, an IoT enabled infrastructure can bring significant benefits to people and the government.
There are some hurdles in the road ahead. India needs to create an intelligent blueprint, which can be adapted to meet the unique needs of the city. Our core technology platforms need to be upgraded to support this digital transformation. Internet bandwidth needs to be improved. Though it is a challenging task, it is imperative in building the nation’s future.
Government’s Make-in-India Initiative provides a huge boost to the manufacturing of devices enabling smart infrastructure. However, public-private partnerships are crucial to make smart cities possible. Developing the credit worthiness of this sector is also necessary. India today needs to capitalize on young, bright technology professionals to realise its dream of making future ready smart infrastructure. India already has the ecosystem in place. With bright startups, world class professionals, sizeable workforce, state-of-the-art R&D labs, growing smartphone penetration, India has the potential to lead the world in making cities smarter.
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