A smart city reflects integration, coordination and synergy of different participants in the ecosystem. These include several aspects such as smart governance, smart energy, smart infrastructure, smart buildings, and smart service delivery mechanisms.
Essentially, in a country like India, a smart city is not about a single, or a certain industry segment, rather it opens up multiple growth opportunities across all industries. Smart city solutions are being developed to address a range of issues, including energy management, water management, urban mobility, street lighting, and public safety.
These innovations are reinforced by general developments in areas, such as wireless communications, sensor networks, data analytics, and cloud computing.
Technology is the significant part of a smart city ecosystem encompassing from urban planning to creating healthy environment, ensuring safety of people, smart and efficient power distribution, continuous water supply, intelligent traffic and transportation management systems that use analytics to provide efficient solutions to ease commuting, and surveillance systems requiring minimal human intervention.
However, there is an imperative need for a common technology platform which integrates all aspects of city planning and management, providing a common operating picture to all the participants.
Cities in India are seeking new more efficient ways of operating through the use of information and communications technologies. Smart cities use advanced technologies such as virtualization, NFC, RFID, Internet of Things, etc. to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings by connecting devices/systems to internet. The concept of the “technology-driven” smart city has captured the imagination of public, private, and non-profit organizations in India.
From mandating the construction of energy efficient buildings to creating intelligent transport networks, cities are seeking to become “smarter”. Such optimism regarding investments in these solutions indicates a sense of confidence in India’s regional economic performance, and the need to integrate better technology into the cities to make them smarter and more competitive in the global environment.
The disbursement of $15.3 billion for smart cities by the Government of India will not just push the border of urbanisation but also create a new set of markets for technology companies across a range of industries.
There is an estimation that a minimum of $315 million will outlay into the technology sector with this initiative, providing a great potential for technology businesses in this growing market. This in turn would open up the entry opportunity for companies across the globe with a market in India and provide them with a platform to export their services. With respect to verticals, the government needs to take a lead in removing barriers to innovation and facilitating collaboration between multiple diverse sectors. This has already begun to happen in the Assisted Living and Transport verticals, but more needs to be done.
In addition, continuous advancements in current technologies will aid in the transformation of existing cities into smart cities. Specifically, advancements in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, the Internet of Things, and wireless sensor networks will play a large role in the success smart city projects.
M2M communications will enable multiple applications and services, allowing the smart city to become a successful reality. Public and private organizations can use M2M technology to obtain key information about their devices, allowing them to gain better insight into the needs and wants of their community, hence driving better quality of life for city residents.