Learn Smart Con­nec­tiv­ity from Dubai

The DQWeek (Mumbai) - - CHANNEL BONANZA -

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 wi-fi 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? RAJNEESH DE

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