Dr Rishi Bhatnagar, Chairman, IET-IoT Panel in India, and President, Aeris Communications India Pvt. Ltd.
Role of Cities
Cities from ancient civilizations have been the centers of growth and prosperity. As rightly put in perspective by our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, if anything has the potential to mitigate poverty, it is our cities. That is why people from poor places migrate to cities, as they find better livelihood opportunities. The 2014 budget announced the 100 Smart Cities program to build satellite towns of larger cities and modernizing the existing mid-sized cities. Smart cities will include e-governance system through Digital India initiative, continuous improvements in urban design and management, mass transit- oriented development, smart public distribution system-rationing, and social and financial inclusion.
A critical role will be played by technology and its speedy adoption is already visible in initiatives like Digital India, Make in India, and 100 Smart Cities where technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), projected to grow to USD 15 billion here at 28 percent CAGR through 2020, will be instrumental in the planning of smart cities, right from the communication networks to sanitation, transportation, healthcare, energy use, and more.
Making a City Interconnected and Intelligent
A smart city needs to be instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. All the governing, and civic bodies running the city need to be on a centralized command and control center. This will enable regular monitoring of public services and facilities through a unified system for governing public administrations by technology providers. This requires a robust physical infrastructure powered by a future-proof, secure, and scalable IoT technology platform for managing millions of varied devices, networks, connectivity, analytics, and industry- specific applications.
The role of system integrators and technology providers, especially those who can bring together an end-to-end IoT platform will be hence very crucial. For proper functioning of the smart cities a future-ready, industry-proven integrated platform optimized for delivering M2M communications services, which include online connectivity management, cloud-based application enablement platform, analytics, and more will be essential. The platform must facilitate seamless flow of information through a centralized command and control center, and enable the transformational needs of smart cities across areas such as energy consumption, transportation, healthcare, connectivity, sustainability, and environment management. Such a system will deliver smart access to public services and also create a maintainable infrastructure. Citizens of the interconnected cities will benefit with enhanced service delivery, convenience, efficiencies, affordability, security, and time savings. This not only enables real-time monitoring for better governance and maintains peaceful law and order situation in the city but also captures the real progress made in the city ensuring that funds designated from the Center are properly utilized.
In India, Aeris is in talks with majority of telecom operators. Aircel is already using its platform in vehicle telematics and smart meters. Vehicle telematics help track both vehicle health and driver behavior online and smart meters help curb distribution theft of electricity. Smart street lights, smart bins, smart meters, and smart environment solutions are already up and running on Aeris IoT platform at one of the largest integrated business cities in Jaipur spanning across 3000 acres (comprising SEZs, industrial parks, retail, and social infrastructure) and also at one of the largest office campuses of a leading Indian IT MNC in the NCR. In the state of Maharashtra, Aeris is closely working with the law and order authorities to identify suspects of drunken driving. Combined with its expertise in reducing the complexity of IoT deployment and optimization for cost and performance, Aeris is able to drive IoT innovation for India’s smart cities project.
In conclusion, I see the Smart Cities mission ushering in an urban renaissance in India as a result of a paradigm shift in the approach to urban development – comprehensive, inter-connected, and vision-oriented.