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Smart city control rooms as first line defence against Covid-19

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With the increasing number of coronavirus infected patients in India, smart city control rooms are forming the first line of defence against the virus at several places in the country. Control centres form the core of the smart city initiative and are essential for surveillance, emergency and clinical command situations, integrated traffic management and disaster management.

Smart cities with functional control rooms have employed the facility for real-time tracking and analysis of the healthcare crisis, with assistance from private companies.

“As the Covid-19 outbreak disrupts the socio-economic order of the country, city administrations and the private sector are collaborating to maximise their efforts towards fighting the pandemic,” Akshay Tripathi, Municipal Commissioner & CEO, Kanpur Smart City (KSCL), said in a statement.

Technology leaders like Tech Mahindra are working closely to empower smart cities like Kanpur, Gandhinagar, Nasik, among others, in the containment of the virus. For instance, the Kanpur Smart City ”Command & Control Center” (ICCC) team has converted the ICCC into a war room with the Tech Mahindra team providing 24×7 support.

“We, at Tech Mahindra, are helping the local government by leveraging new-age technologies to develop innovative solutions in our collective fight against COVID-19,” said Sujit Baksi, President, Corporate Affairs and Business Head APAC, Tech Mahindra. “The Tech Mahindra team was able to build the Kanpur command centre within 24 hours, and we are optimistic that our effort will help the local government fight the ongoing pandemic,” Baksi said.

Apart from Kanpur, Tech Mahindra also has ongoing smart city projects in progress in Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Pimpri Chinchwad and Nasik in Maharashtra.

According to Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India, a leading display technology firm associated with projects like Andhra Pradesh Real-Time Governance (RTG) Centre and UP Dial 100, “The ongoing pandemic has put immense pressure on healthcare and administrative infrastructure. Smart cities are turning their control rooms into Covid outposts to visualise the impact and analyse the situation in the city.

“Real-time surveillance, lockdown monitoring, and information-sharing capabilities, facilitated by control rooms, are necessary to contain the spread of the pandemic.”

With technology stepping up to enable a calibrated effort against the pandemic, it falls on the telecommunication sector to ensure seamless connectivity for real-time tracking and analysis in control rooms. Cellular operators are taking all possible efforts to ramp up services.

“The telecom operators are working closely with government departments to provide seamless connectivity and internet bandwidth to consumers,” said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

“Specific measures are being taken to resolve issues to provide uninterrupted services and to ease the increased pressure on networks. The mobile, fixed broadband and fibre networks are fully geared up to serve customers in the emerging scenario,” Mathews said.

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