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Technology players open for more local collaboration to drive Smart Cities Mission

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The vision to have 100 smart cities by 2020 is almost catching up fast with most of the leading technology giants like IBM, Microsoft, HPE, Cisco, Honeywell, LTE and several others. Each technology player is vying hard against to get a small pie into its kitty. Technology will be the backbone of driving this smart cities project. Hence, it is crucial for large techno-commercial players to go indirect and open up for collaboration of like-minded technology partners and app developers to take the vision forward.
Let’s first understand where we stand today and what technology partners are offering different solutions in this domain.
In a short duration of 2.5 years, the first round of 20 cities was selected in January 2016, and last 30 cities were selected as recently as June 2017. Smart City Mission has a strong focus on innovative digital technologies and dovetails with Digital India vision areas – digital empowerment of citizens, making government services available digitally, and creating digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen – very closely.
Digital technology solutions such as surveillance systems lead to greatly reduced crime and improved safety of residents, particularly women. City-wide Wi-Fi networks have improved communication among citizens as well as that with various service providers. E-governance and citizen feedback management have led to improved social cohesion by the increase in opportunities for citizen engagement, reduction in social inequities, and reduction in response time for services for business. Integrated traffic management will increase the traffic speeds and reduce traffic congestion, hence providing cleaner air for people to breathe. These are some of the real-time projects, which are integrated with a unified Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC) in cities like Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Indore, Ujjain, Satna, and Sagar.
As per the Housing & Urban Affairs Ministry, the Smart Cities Mission is progressing at a brisk pace – 90 cities have been selected so far. The selection of 10 more cities will be announced shortly. There is about 3,000 projects worth ` 140,000 crore at various stages of implementation. Tenders for projects worth ` 16,000 crore have been called, and more than ` 1 lakh crore worth of projects are being readied for issuance of tenders. This remains one of the fastest ever project implementations at this scale and geographic spread in the urban sector.

Technology collaboration in the pipeline
As the process of establishing 100 smart cities gathers momentum across India, several technology players such as HPE, along with Intel and other smart solution providers, are working jointly to tap this golden opportunity along with governments and city administrations to accelerate time to value and deliver new, innovative, and interactive services to the citizens through IoT.

Recently, the Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation selected the HPE Universal IoT Platform to create India’s first cloud-based ICCC, which with its multitenancy capabilities, will be able to run several city command center operations in parallel across seven cities in Madhya Pradesh. Additionally, HPE has launched its first Customer Experience Center (CEC) to demonstrate IoT-based smart city solutions that address the complex and fragmented ecosystem that exists within IoT environments and HPE can help implement an infrastructure that interconnects the various components of the end-to-end solution.
Som Satsangi, Vice President & General Manager, Enterprise Group and Managing Director – India, HPE, says, “At HPE, we are working with various technology partners, be it Intel, 2020 Imaging, Map my India, Fast Lane, Qizon to build end-to-end smart city solutions. At the CEC, we have integrated with seven live command and control centers and are giving full experience to our partners and customers. Almost, 80-90 smart cities’ tenders have already come up in last two years. To accelerate the speed, industry collaboration is the way to go. Today most of the cities in India are having free Wi-Fi infrastructure and we are among the leaders in this. By partnering with ISVs and solution providers, we will be seeing an incremental increase in our pace of smart cities journey.”
Express Computer reached out to various ISVs and solution providers to understand how these companies are getting aggressive to tap this opportunity.
Sapna Ahuja, Chief Operations Officer, Map my India, says, “Map my India’s endeavor has always been to provide maps and location-based solutions to make Indian cities and businesses globally competitive. For the last six months, we have been collaborating with HPE to bring our bespoke smart city solutions to their UIoT platform such as grievance redressal, solid waste management, and smart street lighting. Map my India’s Map Engine (which can be deployed in-premise or on the cloud) in combination with HPE’s UIoT platform will create a powerful foundation for IoT-based smart city solutions.”

Similarly, Aman Chawla, Founder, Aatapaha Smart Lighting (an unit of Nav Shikha Polypack), shares, “Since we (Aatapaha) are a strong player in street light automation space, with successful projects in over 70 locations in India, it was clear to us that to find similar success in the smart city space, we would need to partner with the best solution provider for smart city. A challenge we have faced is that most smart city RFQ describe theoretical products, with limited reference to any standards.”
India’s Smart City Mission is different from that of the developed world. The developed world has all smart elements already in place and there is enough amount of data that is available for conducting data analysis to deploy strategies for better management of the sub-systems. In India, we are just making the ICT infrastructure and deploying smart elements. 2020 Imaging’s state-of-the-art I3OP platform provides ICCC visualization layer to the northbound of HPE’s UIOT platform – giving a common operative picture for the Smart City.

“We shall shortly witness some lighthouse projects that will shift the paradigm of the solution centric Smart City vertical. Smart City encompasses Smart Buildings, Smart Enterprises and a Smart Environment for us to live and that is the Future City vision from HPE. We are looking forward to being the partner that enables the realization of this vision,” informs Kamesh Ramamurthy, Chief Strategist and Mentor, 2020 Imaging India.

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