The discussions at the summit revolved around the roadmap for innovations, sustainability, surveillance, and development for smart cities.
According to the industry estimates, by 2050, about 70 percent of the Indian population will be living in cities. The Smart Cities initiatives that are currently under various stages of development and implementation have to keep this shift into account and to ensure that they are able to provide optimal living conditions and at the same time be beneficial to everyone in the society. In effect, the components of a smart city would include enabling a better life, with services, mobility, environment, e-governance, economy, and sustainability.
“The Indian government's vision to create 100 new smart cities to support the rapid urbanization is an important step, as it seeks to provide residents with an efficient and reliable infrastructure, enhanced quality of life and economic opportunities. It is an established fact that without information and communication technologies (ICT) one cannot have a good smart city but there are various other elements too that we need to pay a close attention.”
“The 100 smart cities is no magic wand to address all the problems that we have, but a small attempt to address the rapid urbanization that we are witnessing. The success or failure of this lies in our own hands as the citizens are the most important part of the smart city ecosystem” said Amit Singh, director – smart cities, PwC.
Arun Kumar Mishra, director, National Smart Grid Mission said, “Historically, people were not required to contribute to the Smart City Grid. However, the times are now changing and we cannot go ahead and serve to the demands of people as and when it comes. We need them to have an active participation in the smart city process”.
Dinesh Chand Sharma, director – standard and public policy, EU Project, Seconded European Standardization Expert in India (SESEI) said “We need to implement technologies that are future proof. There is a set standard that defines smart city but there is a need to have a standard ICT architecture and for surveillance that can be used to plug and play applications.”
Commenting about the challenges and key learning about Smart Cities, Alka Asthana, CTO Bharti Infratel Limited said, “The big challenge right now is that the expectation set has not been standardized”. She talked about the stumbling blocks that they keep encountering at the ground level that lead to increase in the capital expenditures.
“The Smart Cities initiative is the most dynamic and challenging one.. It is a new process for all involved and the biggest challenge that this mission faces is implementation. Since it is a new process for all involved, the need of the hour is effective consultation. Experts in the domain and industry leaders need to step up and come out with consolations that can help in effective planning and execution of plans,” said Swayan Chaudhary, managing director and CEO, Panaji Smart City Development Limited.
“Planning a city may take decades and not just years. What we are trying to do is look for quick fix solutions for the existing problems, which should not be the case today. The rate of change of technology and its impact also needs to be taken into account while planning for a smart city,” said Reji Kumar Pillai, president and CEO, India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF).
The event provided the stakeholders a timely opportunity to discuss the key trends, issues and challenges in smart city development, its market drivers and the outlook for India. Issues such as managing energy crisis, climate changes, and disaster risks, challenges in deployment of intelligent transport solutions, role of ICT in E-Governance/M-Governance, the key elements of smart social infrastructure (education, health, etc) and the role of cloud computing in a smarter city were also discussed.