India need Smart Cities in a different sense that Europe or U.S
There’s good reason for that: with 1.5 billion population expected by 2030, urbanization in India has significant implications for the future development of the country. By 2030, India’s urban population will touch 590 million or nearly twice that of the United States, while Indian cities will generate close to 70% of the GDP. This will exert tremendous pressure on urban infrastructure and services. It is, therefore, imperative that they find innovative solutions for the urban challenges of growth and sustainability.
This dramatic growth also provides impetus for the creation of smart cities which leverage information and communications technology (ICT) to greatly improve the productivity, lifestyle and the prosperity of their people. Additionally, green growth strategies can build environmentally sustainable cities.
Though the concept of smart cities is relatively new in India, Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Urban Development promised that “Under JNNURM Phase II, every state will have at least one smart city.”
Achieving the goal of developing 100 smart cities in India will require a lot more than the right technologies given that Indian cities are lacking in basic governance and physical infrastructure. So, even if sensors were placed to detect leakages in water pipes, Indian authorities are currently not geared up to resolve the problem efficiently.
As Jaijit Bhattacharya, a partner at consulting firm KPMG India said “a smart city in the sense that Europe or U.S. has, that’s not really realistic in India.For instance, given the lack of safety for women, India’s smart cities could be wired with technologies that would allow women to alert police if they needed help”.
Large corporates investing in the Indian Internet of Things / Smart Cities space
The Indian Government has recently drafted an IoT policy for the country, with a goal of creating an IoT industry in the country worth $15 billion by 2020. In 2014 large corporates like Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung investing their time, talent and money in the Indian IoT space. After all, along with India’s rising talent and cost advantage, this country of 1.25 billion offers the world a range of potential opportunities in the IoT space.
India innovations are not restricted to smart watches, fitness trackers and other wearables; they also have products that cater to solutions in local transportation, electricity, water management, agriculture, healthcare, communication etc.
Cisco had tied up with ILFS Technologies (ITL) to jointly develop solutions for digital infrastructure and smart cities in the country. The company had also signed a strategic agreement with Electronics City Industries Association (ELCIA) to set up an Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Hub in Bangalore, as a part of its Cisco Smart+Connected Communities initiative.
Tech Mahindra partnered with the software and system house of the Bosch group, Bosch Software Innovations to create an Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystem and to develop proof of concept solutions for enterprises, smart cities and smart homes.
Similarly, NetCORE had launched an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for real time data capturing and analysis called Cloud4One, which essentially adds sensors to measure location, temperature, pressure, humidity, weight etc., on movable assets like trucks, cranes etc., and immovable ones like ATMs, generators, grids etc.
The Smart Cities Council – India (SCC-I) mission is to accelerate growth in the smart cities sector by lowering barriers to adoption through thought leadership, outreach, tools and advocacy. The Council’s partners include some of the world’s leading technology companies with expertise in smart cities and infrastructure.
A major economic hub in India – Surat
Some Indian states are already experimenting with creating new cities with “smart” elements. These include the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, or SmartCity Kochi, in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Why Microsoft selected Surat to develop India´s first ‘smart city’ under the company’s CityNext initiative ?. Gujarat’s second largest city and a major economic hub in India, Surat, with a population of 4.6 million, has partnered Microsoft India to transform the city into a smart city. The partnership will see the Surat Municipal Council working with Microsoft India’s CityNext to design and implement a host of smart city initiatives as part of the council’s effort to make Surat one of the early technology and e-Governance adopters for a wide range of citizen services.
It is too early to talk about results but the need the city to be smart and the need of Microsoft for a successful reference in this key country will made real the transformation to a smart city.
Promising Internet of Things startups for Smart Cities
The India government is working on an ambitious plan to create USD 15 billion ‘Internet of Things’ industry in the next six years. Some of the proposed concepts under the policy include development of tools to monitor quality of water flowing in taps and levels in reservoirs, smart environment to monitor quality of air, technology to monitor changes in body vitals and send alerts to hospitals. The proposed policy is in line of government’s plan to develop 100 smart cities in the country.
The government will set up incubation centers that are proposed to be called National Centre of Excellence in partnership with IT industry body NASSCOM and other industry associations. The task is not easy, given the fragmented nature of infrastructure development and wireless connectivity in the country. But on the brighter side, there are now more than two million mobile app developers in India, a number that’s expected to rise to three million by 2017. An increasing portion of their talents, startup entrepreneurs and community leaders could potentially focus on IoT apps and innovations, says a report by Convergence Catalyst, a research and advisory firm.
Listed below a list of promising Internet of Things/Smart Cities segment companies (in random order):
- Altizon – By leveraging the Datonis Platform, Altizon can build custom solutions that simplify the complexities of building out an IOT solution
- MachinePulse – The platform from MachinePulse for operational intelligence, Device Management, Analytics, Machine Learning from connected sensors, devices and machines leveraging BigData and Cloud Computing
- ConnectM – Yantra Cloud, M2M Solution Delivery Platform is designed to help equipment manufacturers, system integrators, IT companies, Software service providers who look forward for delivering innovative M2M solutions across various industry verticals.
- Flutura – Transform operational outcomes by monetizing machine data.
- Altiux – help build products and solutions for Smart Cities.
- Embien – has proven experience designing devices for IoT, Wearable and M2M applications with features like BLE, WiFi, sensors, coin cell powered, space/power optimized along with our SkyCase IoT application platform with app store.
- CarIQ: smart driving “makes cars smarter” thanks to a device which records both traditional data from your car, such as mileage and speed, as well as driving patterns. A bit like Waze, it’s also connected to a community of peers where you can compare your stats with friends, or with people in the same place, or with the same make and brand of car.
- SenseGiz: With small sensors you can apply to any object, the promise of SenseGiz is to give you back the time we spend to look for things, which is 5 days per year.
- Entrib ShopWorx: helps the manufacturing industry to make the shop floor smarter.
- TeeWe: A simple concept not yet implemented in India: get all your content, from pictures to movies, on your TV through a single device which connects in Wifi to your laptop, phone, remote storage, whatever the OS, the platform.
- LifePlot: the cheapest and most mobile electrocardiography diagnosis tool. The product is a connected device which records most of the data of basic medical diagnosis.
- TechEywa– develops customized solution for IOT (Internet of Things) market.
- MachineTalk –
I’ve never been to India, but after reading some reports to write this post, I must agree with Mr. Bhattacharya of KPMG that India should start by focusing on improving existing cities, and build satellite cities to decongest large existing ones.
Although I analyze smart cities from the point of view of technology, make sense that India’s smart cities should first develop or update a strategic plan for growth, one that has clear goals toward job growth and productivity, economic inclusion, and sustainability and resilience, rather than only focus on technology implementation.
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