‘One of the big­gest chal­lenges is ab­sence of in­te­grated ap­proach’

—Pu­rushot­tam Kaushik MD, Sales, Growth Ver­ti­cals, Cisco In­dia & SAARC

Voice&Data - - FRONT PAGE - Kr­ishna Mukher­jee x-kr­ish­nam@cy­berme­dia.co.in

Voice&Data: What’s the cur­rent sta­tus of your in­volve­ment in In­dia’s smart city pro­ject?

Pu­rushot­tam Kaushik: So, the 100 smart cities vi­sion of the govern­ment is in the progress, but even ahead of this broad vi­sion for In­dia our en­gage­ments in the con­text have al­ready been there in many cities, and quite a few of th­ese were on the safety and sur­veil­lance side. As far as the 100 smart cities pro­gram is con­cerned, we are work­ing across many states, work­ing to help them in terms of tech­nol­ogy. Cisco has ba­si­cally worked across over 90 cities across var­i­ous use cases, some of them in mul­ti­ple sce­nar­ios. For ex­am­ple in Barcelona, Cisco has mul­ti­ple use cases in the city. So, in In­dia we are work­ing with Mad­hya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Ra­jasthan. There are also quite a few spe­cific cities which have asked us for our guid­ance and we closely work­ing with them in build­ing their plans and con­sid­er­ing that how we can help them from scratch, the type of tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion could be adopted and how it could be in­te­grated to help them.

In fact, Cisco’s en­gage­ment has been be­yond tech­nol­ogy be­cause we come with a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence as well. It is not about build­ing a net­work in the city, it is also look­ing at pos­si­bly in­te­grat­ing all the ap­pli­ca­tions, which will be in the city. For ex­am­ple, build­ing a safety sur­veil­lance net­work on its own by the po­lice au­thor­ity in the city is per­haps may not be the best lev­er­age be­cause the same net­work can be used for trans­port, waste man­age­ment and even for wire­less con-

nec­tiv­ity in the city, along with light­ning as well.

When we look at all th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions in si­los, per­haps that’s not the right ap­proach be­cause when you are cre­at­ing things in si­los then you are go­ing to cre­ate a layer of op­er­a­tions on top of it and then ev­ery­thing will never get lever­aged as a smart city should. That’s one point that we al­ways keep talk­ing to them. The se­cond thing is our part­ner ecosys­tem, we have part­ner­ships with large or­ga­ni­za­tions such as L&T, ILFS, so th­ese are the com­pa­nies that are into in­fra for quite a few years, and they are known as big gi­ants in in­fra. So, we work closely with them and brief them about any other en­gage­ment and third will be our In­dia de­vel­op­ment cen­ter, where along with our part­ners we have over 23,000 peo­ple work­ing. Then, we have lo­cal in­no­va­tion part also avail­able, so when­ever we need a so­lu­tion which needs to be cus­tom­ized for In­dia be­cause ev­ery­thing that works glob­ally can­not be im­ple­mented as such, that is some­thing which we can cer­tainly lev­er­age at the In­dia de­vel­op­ment cen­ter.

And the most im­por­tant thing is the cap­i­tal sup­port side, so Cisco Cap­i­tal, which is our own cap­i­tal arm, and pro­vides the credit lines for any such prod­ucts. Be­sides, we in­vested in two lo­cal com­pa­nies, which can help in the de­vel­op­ment of the ecosys­tem fur­ther for the smart cities.

Voice&Data: Please tell us some­thing about the in­no­va­tive prod­ucts that have been cus­tom­ized for the In­dia mar­ket.

Pu­rushot­tam Kaushik: In cities, the crit­i­cal re­quire­ment that is com­ing up surely is on the safety and sur­veil­lance side. In­dia needs a lot of cus­tomiza­tion be­cause the type of ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic or the re­quire­ments that we see on ground are very dif­fer­ent from global mar­kets. For ex­am­ple, in Navi Mum­bai, we did a huge pro­ject for toll sur­veil­lance – where all the ve­hi­cles that en­ter & exit Mum­bai have to be mon­i­tored. Now, if you have to do a toll in In­dian sce­nario, there’s all kind of ve­hi­cles that will be com­ing in and there are mul­ti­ple chal­lenges in an In­dian sce­nario.

So, there have to be so­lu­tions around trans­port fleet man­age­ment and we are look­ing at In­di­an­ized ecosys­tem. Then, talk­ing about the light­ing sit­u­a­tion, al­though there are mil­lions of lights get­ting re­placed by LEDs but it’s not hap­pen­ing in an or­ga­nized way. So, just imag­ine if all the lights be­come con­nected and there is a cen­tral­ized way to man­age them, then I be­lieve there would be about 30-35% sav­ings on the lights.

Be­sides, we train our lo­cal part­ners and in­vest in lo­cal lab for fur­ther in­no­va­tion so that they can ex­e­cute, im­ple­ment things with all our In­dian ex­per­tise.

Voice&Data: Is there any global in­no­va­tion that you want to high­light in this con­text?

Pu­rushot­tam Kaushik: Glob­ally, we are work­ing in over 90 cities. Re­cently, a huge del­e­ga­tion vis­ited Barcelona and a lot of cities’ lead­er­ship was present at Barcelona, where it was a big ex­am­ple that how an in­te­grated ap­proach across all the lay­ers of the city, so that things are not done in si­los, plus an ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship which needs to be in put in place to ex­e­cute the smart city mis­sion in crit­i­cal.

We demon­strated there some smart park­ing so­lu­tions, smart trans­port so­lu­tions, we had very in­no­va­tive waste man­age­ment so­lu­tions and light­ing and wi-fi in­te­grated net­work. And ev­ery­thing was work­ing in an in­te­grated net­work, in­stead of sep­a­rate lay­ers. Plus, there was a cen­tral­ized com­mand and con­trol, where ev­ery­thing was done at a cen­tral place.

So, for the many use cases we demon­strated in Barcelona the re­sponse was amaz­ing. Now, we are try­ing to repli­cate that in In­dian cities. In In­dia, safety and sur­veil­lance is done in Navi Mum­bai, where we are work­ing with L&T, in Luc­know, we are work­ing with the Mahin­dra group and in Jaipur, we have some use cases where we in­te­grated some ap­pli­ca­tions like wi-fi and safety and sur­veil­lance and en­vi­ron­men­tal sen­sors and also we in­te­grated the e-gov­er­nance so­lu­tions.

Cit­i­zens’ en­gage­ment with the govern­ment be­comes easy with the e-gov­er­nance so­lu­tion, and so there is a kiosk so­lu­tion where peo­ple can go in, and it be­comes a cen­tral­ized point for ac­cess­ing all the govern­ment so­lu­tions in­stead of vis­it­ing the govern­ment of­fices.

So, what you needed in th­ese so­lu­tions is get­ting im­ple­mented in Jaipur and the phase-2 ex­e­cu­tion has also be­gun now. We can see 3-4 cities evinc­ing in­ter­est in such so­lu­tions. Two cities have al­ready moved on the RFP pro­cure­ment and in Mum­bai, we are the net­work part­ner.

Voice&Data: Which are the key chal­lenges in turn­ing an In­dian city into a smart city?

Pu­rushot­tam Kaushik: One of the big­gest chal­lenges we face is that there is no in­te­grated ap­proach, avail­able in cities right now. In a city, there are mul­ti­ple au­thor­i­ties there is the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion, the ur­ban de­vel­op­ment body, po­lice au­thor­ity, among oth­ers. And th­ese au­thor­i­ties have their own bud­gets, projects, rules, etc. For mak­ing a city smarter, one has to look at a com­pletely in­te­grated ap­proach where ideally we can build a net­work across the city, and when all the in­put and out­put devices like handsets, cam­eras, other devices, which are ba­si­cally dis­sem­i­nat­ing the in­for­ma­tion by th­ese devices, are in­te­grated and can serve the needs of any or all devices. And there is a com­mon com­mand there, which is ba­si­cally the city com­mand cen­ter, where ev­ery­thing con­verges and the con­trol cen­ter can be built up.

Now, that is one big chal­lenge that we have been fac­ing and we are work­ing with the city and the state au­thor­i­ties that how can we con­verge th­ese. In ad­di­tion, in­stead of build­ing them in si­los, a lot of money could be saved and ef­forts could be saved. Com­ing to the lead­er­ship side, we can have a sin­gle lead­er­ship, which can take de­ci­sions and build the vi­sion, and help in its im­ple­men­ta­tion si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

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