Learn Smart Connectivity from Dubai
We have been talking about smart cities in India for quite a while now, though there seems to be a lot of confusion about what components exactly should be included under them. My recent visit to Dubai sort of made me realize what exactly should be some of these features the future smart cities in India could look at.
Connectivity is probably the most critical component a smart city should have. And I am not talking of connectivity involving only a limited elite class of citizen, but one which should impact all strata of society.
A city which is part of the 7 Emirates in a country not even 50 years old (United Arab Emirates was founded only on 2nd December 1971) could show the way for many of our much older cities in this aspect. The first thing should be to have the provision of public wifi access across all parts of cities with a decent bandwidth so that anyone can access all sort of public utilities and applications through any of their devices.
In India, though however many cities claim to be on public wi-fi, very few hardly have accessible connectivity from all public spots and that too often is of dubious quality. That hardly makes it appealing and useful for the general public at large. Different political machinations and bureaucratic wranglings often ensure that infrastructure to have all round connectivity hardly works here.
True Dubai being ruled under a benevolent dictatorship means they are free from these political and bureaucratic machinations. What that has resulted in are good quality connectivity access anytime anywhere, be it public markets, bus stops, public monuments or even streets. That way any citizen with minimum of technical savvy or awareness can access any public applications. Just imagine if this can happen here in India, how beneficial they will be for common citizens.
Similar benefit would come if these applications are available in local languages. Though work has started in this respect in India, most apps still run predominantly on English. While a large section of urban population of India is already familiar with English, just imagine the potential if these applications are available in the local languages. Just like in Dubai where these were available in Arabic too.
While there are several other aspects of infrastructure boost through technology that Indian smart cities could learn from Dubai, public connectivity could become the focal starting point. Are the administrators in India listening to what their counterparts in UAE are doing?
A city which is part of the 7 Emirates in a country not even 50 years old (United Arab Emirates was founded only on 2nd December 1971) could show the way for many of our much older cities in this aspect