De­vel­op­ing Smart Cities

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Amitabh Satyam

Amitabh satyam is the Chief Men­tor at Smart Trans­for­ma­tions. A grad­u­ate of IIT, Kan­pur with an MBA from Fisher Col­lege of Busi­ness, USA, Amitabh was ear­lier the Man­ag­ing Part­ner at SAP and the global con­sult­ing leader for Tele­com and IOT at IBM. He has re­cently au­thored the book named “The Smart City Trans­for­ma­tions”.

Q In the In­dian con­text what should be the def­i­ni­tion of Smart City?

Smart con­cepts re­late to max­i­miz­ing im­prove­ments in lives of peo­ple at the low­est pos­si­ble use of re­sources such as en­ergy, ma­te­rial and hu­man re­sources. I con­sider a Smart City to have 12 key el­e­ments: In­fra­struc­ture, En­vi­ron­ment, Cul­ture, Gov­er­nance, Safety, Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment, Health, Ed­u­ca­tion, Hu­man Re­sources, En­ter­tain­ment, Af­ford­abil­ity, and the Abil­ity to An­tic­i­pate. Each el­e­ment has sev­eral sub-el­e­ments, for ex­am­ple, In­fra­struc­ture has Wa­ter, Sanitation, Elec­tric­ity, Roads Ports,

Gas, Pave­ments, Tele­com, Rail­ways, Buses, Traf­fic Man­age­ment, and Waste Re­moval. The book “The Smart City Trans­for­ma­tions” de­fines 54 el­e­ments, each with 8 lay­ers and an or­ga­nized frame­work for as­sess­ing the level of smart­ness in each area. The pri­mary driver for Smart is achiev­ing im­prove­ments in these el­e­ments that re­lates to lives and hap­pi­ness of the cit­i­zens us­ing tech­nolo­gies and pro­cesses that min­i­mize re­source ex­pen­di­ture. Clean drink­ing wa­ter and clean air to breathe are a fun­da­men­tal right in a Smart world.

Q Does Smart de­note in­tel­li­gent con­nec­tiv­ity, smart gov­er­nance & au­to­mated build­ings in a city?

The word Smart does have a ref­er­ence to the world of tech­nol­ogy, how­ever, when we look at Smart cities as a con­cept for im­prov­ing lives, then the fo­cus is not on au­to­ma­tion or tech­nol­ogy, but on im­prov­ing lives. If a tech­nol­ogy of con­struct­ing au­to­mated build­ings re­duces the in­put costs, such as the en­ergy and ma­te­rial, then yes, it is the Smart thing to do. How­ever, if the ad­di­tional cost of con­struct­ing tech­nol­ogy-laden build­ings is more than the ben­e­fits it pro­vides, and if that ex­tra money could be bet­ter uti­lized on other ini­tia­tives that help more, then I would say that au­to­mated build­ings are not Smart. Tech­nol­ogy does, how­ever, help achieve these goals if used ju­di­ciously.

We must not fight tech­nol­ogy but har­ness it suit­ably for the pur­pose. ex­pen­sive tech­nol­ogy for the sake of ap­pear­ing smart is not Smart. Whereas, tech­nolo­gies that im­prove gov­er­nance

Amitabh satyam

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