‘Smart Cities Should Have A Self-Sus­tain­ing Ecosys­tem’

While the gov­ern­ment has be­gun the spade­work to de­liver on the prom­ise of 100 smart cities, there is no doubt that the de­vel­op­ment of smart cities in In­dia is a big chal­lenge. Smart cities need to have a self-sus­tain­able ecosys­tem to be suc­cess­ful so that

Voice&Data - - CONTENT - Onkar Sharma [email protected]­ber­me­dia.co.in

—Lux Rao

CTO & Leader, HP Fu­ture Cities

Voice&Data: What are the chal­lenges in build­ing 100 smart cities in In­dia?

Lux Rao: In the cur­rent sce­nario and for the fore­see­able fu­ture, the gov­ern­ment will have less money to deal with greater de­mands for pub­lic ser­vices. Ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment, par­tic­u­larly among young peo­ple, as well as ris­ing ur­ban pop­u­la­tion will add to the pres­sure.

The cit­i­zens of to­day are em­pow­ered by a wave of new tech­nol­ogy. They have in­stant ac­cess to con­sumer ser­vices over the In­ter­net via their smart­phones, and are de­mand­ing sim­i­lar lev­els of dy­namic and re­spon­sive ser­vices from lo­cal gov­ern­ment bod­ies.

Rec­og­niz­ing this meta­mor­phic shift in both the fi­nan­cial and so­cial en­vi­ron­ments, and cre­at­ing re­li­able, cost-ef­fec­tive, and sus­tain­able cit­i­zen ser­vices is vi­tal if the pub­lic sec­tor is to ad­dress the chal­lenge of do­ing more with less, dif­fer­ently.

Some of the chal­lenges that we face are: The re­al­ity of a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion,

in­creased de­mand for en­ergy, de­plet­ing nat­u­ral re­sources, and ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture which calls for bet­ter util­i­ties, health­care, ed­u­ca­tion, etc.

In terms of ICT chal­lenges, here are a few point­ers:

Gov­ern­ment Agen­cies Op­er­ate in Si­los: There is a com­pelling need to sim­plify, in­te­grate, and or­ches­trate mul­ti­ple gov­ern­ment agen­cies to pro­vide seam­less ser­vices to the cit­i­zen.

Multi-modal­ity and Vol­umes of Data: The avail­abil­ity of data in dif­fer­ent for­mats such as au­dio, video, pic­tures, text, and data en­cryp­tion is a chal­lenge. The chal­lenge is fur­ther in­ten­si­fied by the ex­po­nen­tial vol­umes of data growth, as well as data au­then­tic­ity and se­cu­rity is­sues. Making sense of the data to de­rive real-time and pur­pose-led in­sights are key to driv­ing cit­i­zen-ori­ented poli­cies and pro­grams.

Skills and Scale: Rel­e­vant skill set is needed to en­able a smooth har­mo­nious tran­si­tion. Tech­nol­ogy plat­form for en­gag­ing cit­i­zens in an on­go­ing dia­log and en­abling ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion is re­quired.

Voice&Data: Is it pos­si­ble to mod­ern­ize the ex­ist­ing cities into smart cities?

Lux Rao: Ex­ist­ing cities are brown­field op­por­tu­ni­ties as op­posed to brand new cities that are called green­fields. Both cat­e­gories have their own set of chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties. It is rel­a­tively com­plex to im­ple­ment a smart city frame­work on an ex­ist­ing city as we need to take into cog­nizance the legacy tech­nolo­gies, some­times ar­chaic city plan­ning, the ur­ban clutter, the dis­rup­tion ef­fects, and the sheer en­nui to change. How­ever, the up­side is that there is a civic process in place, the ben­e­fits of mod­ern­iza­tion are in­stan­ta­neous and the con­stituents are pro­vided with op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­hance their life­style and liveli­hoods.

At HP, we understand the chal­lenges of both green­field and brown­field de­ploy­ments and ev­ery city is unique in its own ways. We pro­pose a city as­sess­ment work­shop that clearly brings to fore the cur­rent state of the city. The cur­rent state is then mapped to the de­sired state or the vi­sion. A gap anal­y­sis is then drawn

up lead­ing to an ac­tion plan that could get im­ple­mented over mul­ti­ple phases.

The big­gest learn­ing from our ex­pe­ri­ence in im­ple­ment­ing global smart city projects is that it is im­por­tant to take a holis­tic cit­i­zen-cen­tric ap­proach to plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion.

Voice&Data: Ac­cord­ing to you, what will be the in­fra­struc­ture re­quire­ments?

Lux Rao: From the ICT per­spec­tive— cloud in­fra­struc­ture, cit­i­zen ser­vices ap­pli­ca­tions, a ro­bust mo­bil­ity plat­form, a net­work of sen­sors, ag­gre­gat­ing plat­forms, con­nec­tiv­ity, an­a­lyt­ics, etc, form the bul­wark of in­fra­struc­ture on which smart cities are planned.

This is very well com­ple­mented by core in­fra­struc­ture that pro­vides an ef­fi­cient way of pro­vid­ing re­sources such as elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, etc, along with solid waste man­age­ment, to the cit­i­zens.

Voice&Data: How can the gov­ern­ment build up the in­fra­struc­ture?

Lux Rao: There are many mod­els by which the in­fra­struc­ture is planned and built. Mod­els such as PPP, BOOT, BOT, are some of the ways in which the in­fra­struc­ture is built up.

Voice&Data: How can IT en­able the smart city con­cept?

Lux Rao: Lead­ing cities of the world will cre­ate safe, liv­able, and vi­brant en­vi­ron­ments for their cit­i­zens. They will de­liver high qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, and other ser­vices to en­sure that all cit­i­zens meet their fullest po­ten­tial. Th­ese cities will al­ways have a foot in the present and yet look to the fu­ture.

Cities like th­ese will be what we call ‘fu­ture cities’, those that are al­ways seek­ing to im­prove and in­no­vate around the needs of the cit­i­zens and busi­nesses.

Cities that are fu­ture ready will ride on a ro­bust IT frame­work. IT is a key en­abler and will en­sure the whole gamut of cit­i­zen en­gage­ment rang­ing from de­liv­ery of ser­vices, in­for­ma­tion for all, on­go­ing dia­log with cit­i­zens, and mon­i­tor­ing the met­rics.

Dash­boards for the key out­comes of a smart city plan are:

Im­prov­ing the cit­i­zen ex­pe­ri­ence through por­tals, mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions, and ‘one-stop’ ac­cess to gov­ern­ment ser­vices;

Trans­form­ing ser­vices and ser­vice de­liv­ery of in­di­vid­ual de­part­ments to im­prove ef­fi­ciency and ef­fec­tive­ness;

Ad­dress­ing back of­fice pro­cesses to in­crease ef­fi­ciency and re­duce costs;

De­vel­op­ing new busi­ness mod­els, in­clud­ing us­age-based consumption and pub­lic/pri­vate part­ner­ships to shift from capex to opex, gain fi­nan­cial flex­i­bil­ity, and drive in­no­va­tion through a broad ecosys­tem.

Voice&Data: Which tech­nolo­gies will be of ut­most im­por­tance for smart cities? As a tech­nol­ogy provider, how can HP help in build­ing smart cities?

Lux Rao: Gov­ern­ments around the world part­ner with HP to rad­i­cally trans­form what they do and how they op­er­ate, to shift from an out­put-based par­a­digm to a cit­i­zen-cen­tric gov­ern­ment fo­cused on re­sults and pub­lic value. Cit­i­zen-cen­tric gov­ern­ments put their cus­tomers—cit­i­zens and busi­nesses—at the fo­cal point of all key de­ci­sions, from bud­get­ing to ser­vice de­sign to chan­nel for ser­vice de­liv­ery.

In­no­va­tions are be­ing driven by cit­i­zen expectations as well as re­source chal­lenges. The four pil­lars of the new style of IT—big data, cloud, mo­bil­ity, and se­cu­rity—make what was pre­vi­ously im­pos­si­ble, pos­si­ble.

Big data al­lows us to de­velop a very de­tailed un­der­stand­ing of the con­stituent, to iden­tify trends and to tar­get ser­vices to cit­i­zens when they need them.

Cloud drives im­prove­ments in ef­fi­ciency and ac­cel­er­ates ac­cess to re­sources and ex­per­tise as well as in­no­va­tion.

Mo­bil­ity opens up com­pletely new ways of ad­dress­ing the ‘last mile’ chal­lenge to help cre­ate new cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences.

Se­cu­rity helps im­prove trust in the gov­ern­ment.

—Lux Rao CTO & Leader, HP Fu­ture Cities

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