The infrastructure in existing Indian cities is crumbling under the pressure of growing population, leading to a slew of different issues that impact every single urban citizen. Building smart cities seems to be the answer to tackling these issues, and hopefully, the Indian Govt. will succeed in their ambitious plan of building 100 smart cities.
Building smart cities isn’t just the responsibility of govt., nor is it the domain of large enterprises alone. The local small and medium companies will have to play a key role in the process, for they are the ones who clearly understand the local needs and best poised to mobilize the required resources. Any smart city will have both a physical and a digital infrastructure, so companies that are proactive in taking up this opportunity will be able to draw immense value from it.
Future smart cities will rely on a sound technology backbone, and in order to strengthen this backbone, the govt. will have to open up the data generated from this backbone to the public so that they could create innovative solutions for the city’s (and their) benefit.
This is already being done in smart cities around the world. Transport for London (TfL) for instance, shares its transport data with business partners who develop cloud based applications to help daily commuters. A classic Indian parallel example is Indian railway reservation system, which opened up its APIs through IRCTC to private companies many years ago, so that they could offer online railway ticket booking on their own websites. This completely changed the way rail tickets were booked.
A similar thing will have to be done for all aspects of a city’s infrastructure, be it the local transport and traffic management, safety and surveillance, healthcare, waste management, buildings, energy, to name a few.
Indian SMEs must therefore leverage this opportunity and work with their local industry associations to approach the govt. and speed up this process.
SMEs can create lots of innovative solutions to manage a city’s infrastructure. This would not only help the govt. save cost, but it will actually help generate employment, increase the GDP, and make the infrastructure self-sustaining. Plus of course, it will mean more business for the SMEs and help create more ‘live-able’ cities.
There are lot of good global examples that Indian SMEs can follow around smart city innovations. Our cover story this time talks about some of them.
If you’re an SME that has already started on this journey and built innovative technology based solutions for smart cities, then please write to us. We’ll amplify your voice multi-fold so that it’s heard.