How Smart Cities can Make In­dia a Su­per­power

As cities turn into smart cities, each city will be­come an in­di­vid­ual force and emerge as a dom­i­nant hub for a strong In­dian econ­omy.

Voice&Data - - FRONT PAGE - (The au­thor is Se­nior Re­search An­a­lyst, Blueo­cean Mar­ket In­tel­li­gence) Pramod Kol­ha­pur vndedit@cy­berme­dia.co.in

In In­dia, the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion is cur­rently 31% of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion and it con­trib­utes over 60% of In­dia’s GDP and this is ex­pected to grow to nearly 75% of the na­tional GDP in the next 15 years. The num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in In­dian cities will touch 843 mn by 2050. This kind of sharp growth is re­ferred to as ‘mass ur­ban­iza­tion.’ It has hap­pened be­fore only in China. Such rapid ur­ban­iza­tion and grow­ing pres­sure on lim­ited floor space in­dex across ur­ban re­gions in In­dia is lead­ing to the in­creas­ing need for the govern­ment to ex­plore smarter ways to man­age com­plex­i­ties, in­crease ef­fi­ciency, im­prove the qual­ity of life, and re­duce over­head ex­penses.

The cur­rent govern­ment in In­dia spear­headed by the Prime Min­is­ter, Naren­dra Modi, has an­nounced its plan to set up 100 smart cities across the coun­try. This opens up huge op­por­tu­ni­ties in each as­pect of smart city plan­ning,

pro­ject ex­e­cu­tion, and man­age­ment. The most re­cent de­vel­op­ment around In­dian smart cities space was an­nounced on June 25, 2015. The Union Cab­i­net chaired by the Naren­dra Modi ap­proved cen­tral govern­ment spend­ing of about $15.3 bn on ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and of­fi­cially launched two new ur­ban mis­sions —Smart Cities Mis­sion and Atal Mis­sion for Re­ju­ve­na­tion and Ur­ban Trans­for­ma­tion (AMRUT) —which will be ex­e­cuted over the next five years. While the 100 Smart Cities Mis­sion will get an out­lay of $7.5 bn, the AMRUT mis­sion for 500 cities will re­ceive $7.8 bn over the next five years. The premise be­hind AMRUT is to lay a strong foun­da­tion to en­able cities and towns to even­tu­ally grow into smart cities.

Build­ing a Smart City

A smart city could take be­tween 8 to 10 years to build from scratch, while it takes even more time —be­tween 13 to 15 years —to turn an ex­ist­ing city into a smart city as it in­volves re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing legacy in­fra­struc­ture with smart ones. The au­thor­i­ties need to be aware of the lat­est rel­e­vant tech­nolo­gies, which have to be cus­tom­ized and used ef­fec­tively tak­ing into ac­count the to­pog­ra­phy, lo­ca­tion, and nat­u­ral re­sources of the area.

Some of the key chal­lenges that gov­ern­ments/busi­nesses in In­dia will face while im­ple­ment­ing their smart city strate­gies in­clude re­plac­ing ex­ist­ing city in­fra­struc­ture to make it ‘Smart City-Ready’, get­ting ef­fec­tive ap­provals of projects in a timely man­ner, meet­ing the mon­e­tary re­quire­ments, deal­ing with a multi-ven­dor en­vi­ron­ment, need for an ef­fi­cient ca­pac­ity and re­sources set to build smart cities, de­pend­abil­ity on util­ity ser­vices, and the need for an in­creas­ing and ef­fec­tive adop­tion of ICT. In ad­di­tion, fund­ing re­mains a key chal­lenge to im­ple­ment the vi­sion of smart cities as it has been broadly ar­chi­tected. Fur­ther­more, this do­main will re­quire pol­icy and reg­u­la­tory syn­chro­niza­tion be­tween many dif­fer­ent gov­ern­ing bod­ies thus only in­creas­ing the ex­e­cu­tion com­plex­i­ties.

How­ever, along with the many stake- hold­ers in­volved, each smart city pro­ject is also driven by a va­ri­ety of fac­tors. Pow­er­ful forces are con­verg­ing to make smart cities a grow­ing trend in In­dia. It is valu­able for city ad­min­is­tra­tors to un­der­stand the fac­tors be­hind this mo­men­tum and how it will play out in their re­gion. Some of the key fac­tors that are driv­ing the gov­ern­ments/busi­nesses in In­dia to in­vest in smart cities in­clude rapid ur­ban­iza­tion rate in In­dia, age­ing in­fra­struc­ture, need for im­proved qual­ity of life in a city en­vi­ron­ment, drive to achieve com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage and im­prove econ­omy, and in­creas­ing adop­tion of ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions.

The dis­burse­ment of suf­fi­cient fund­ing for smart cities will not just push the bor­der of ur­ban­iza­tion in In­dia 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 mn 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.

Out of the dif­fer­ent seg­ments of smart cities, Smart En­ergy is the fastest grow­ing mar­ket seg­ment and will be driven by the large scale adop­tion of smart grids and in­tel­li­gent en­ergy so­lu­tions. How­ever, over­all in­vest­ments in th­ese ar­eas of smart cities will bring var­i­ous ben­e­fits to the govern­ment and busi­nesses in In­dia. Smart so­lu­tions across the ver­ti­cals op­ti­mize re­sources through bet­ter in­for­ma­tion on where re­sources are be­ing con­sumed. This in­for­ma­tion en­ables bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing and man­age­ment on the part of the util­ity, and also en­ables con­sumers to make more in­formed use of re­sources, and lower their con­sump­tion.

Ben­galuru Scores High on Smart City Pa­ram­e­ters

Among the var­i­ous smart cities planned in In­dia, Ben­galuru can stand to draw huge in­vest­ments as it is am­bi­tiously wide­spread to in­clude trans­porta­tion, wa­ter sup­ply, power sup­ply, san­i­ta­tion and hous­ing for poor, waste man­age­ment, among oth­ers. It has also re­ceived a ma­jor in­vest­ment boost re­cently with Cisco aim­ing to soon turn the Elec­tron­ics City in south Ben­galuru into a smart city, and de­velop Asia’s first In­ter­net of Things in­no­va­tion hub in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Elec­tron­ics City In­dus­tries As­so­ci­a­tion (EL­CIA) un­der the pub­lic-pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion model. How­ever, it be­comes nec­es­sary to have an ef­fec­tive in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment frame­work in place to ex­e­cute a city-wide pro­ject suc­cess­fully.

Though, Ben­galuru def­i­nitely scores well on the ba­sic smart city char­ac­ter­is­tics like smart econ­omy and smart peo­ple, but the city has to rapidly make amend­ments to ful­fil the cri­te­ria of other fac­tors such as traf­fic man­age­ment, park­ing man­age­ment, waste man­age­ment, wa­ter man­age­ment, and en­ergy man­age­ment.

Over­all, cities are not only set to be­come dom­i­nant hubs for a strong In­dian econ­omy, but also the global econ­omy it­self. The sheer eco­nomic scale of th­ese mega cities in In­dia will re­sult in them wield­ing an econ­omy and in­vest­ment on par with that of other coun­tries. Each city will be­come an in­di­vid­ual force, show­ing unique­ness in its in­fras­truc­tural de­mand of­fer­ing cross-sec­to­rial, mi­cro im­pli­ca­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties in mo­bil­ity, health­care, lo­gis­tics, smart prod­ucts, se­cu­rity, and retail sec­tors. In turn, com­pa­nies will al­ter their prod­uct port­fo­lios and in-house ser­vices to tar­get cities and their res­i­dents as the new cus­tomer. The city in­fra­struc­ture mar­ket will also de­velop into a new in­dus­try of­fer­ing var­i­ous new white space mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, highly cus­tom­ized and in­no­va­tive city so­lu­tions and new ur­ban busi­ness mod­els.

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