5 pillars of Smart Cities: Top honchos finally unveil the key to the lock called ‘Smart’!

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Narendra Modi government has allocated Rs. 98,000 crore for the Smart Cities project. So, funds have been allocated, blueprints are ready, but what is the blueprint based on? Top players involved in the plan reveals what it takes to build a smart city.

1. Healthcare

“You can’t dream about being smart without being healthy,” said Lux Rao, cto of technology services and country leader of HP Future Cities.

India is a destination of medical tourism. Yet, the urban poor do not have easy access to even the basic healthcare amenities. For making cities smart, we must make healthcare affordable first. The way forward is Telemedicine, which is in simple definition a doctor or specialist remotely monitoring a patient via an intermediary who is perhaps an intern or a doctor.

This virtual doctor or ‘studio doctor’ (the term given to them) would need access to medical records in real-time. What if one loses their medical records, which is more likely with the urban poor with all their immigration from one place to another?

HP introduces the solution to this- Digital locker within EMR, which stores all the medical records. So one just needs to biometrically access the locker and the virtual doctor can get access to the patient’s details immediately, hassle-free.

“We have executed e-healthcare centres meeting the needs of 140,000 patients in 44 locations in 6 states throughout the country. We have 25 ‘studio doctors’ who are in remote locations addressing the needs of patients,” he informed.

This is just the start of smart healthcare! With introduction of IoT and mobility technology, a lot more can be done.

2. Education

How can we make education an egalitarian platform?

The answer is ‘Future Classroom’, which is not only having a virtual teacher, but the contents are available online too. So what one need is an internet connection and education can reach even the remotest place in India.

Besides, though India has immense potential in the young generation but the educational resources are limited.

“Does an engineering student have such an ecosystem to make him walk into a lab and turn his idea into a product instantly?” Lux raised the question.

3. Quality of life

How can a city be smart if its citizens do not have a work life balance? Easy access to the basic amenities like water, parking space, cheap energy etc makes a smart city literally smart.

“Smartest cities are driven by local priorities and local interventions. Also, technology interventions should be pragmatic,” said Prashant Pradhan, Director, Smarter Planet Business, IBM India and South Asia.

IBM started a fairly successful pilot project in Bangalore on equitable water distribution and reducing non-revenue water. In Allahabad, they are working on solid waste management as that is the main need of that city to be made smart. It is also working closely with the power sector in generating renewable energy.

Aamer Azeemi, MD, Cisco India came up with a simple solution to the traffic problems in India, particularly near Connaught Place, Delhi; solve the parking problem.

“Half the traffic is because they are in search of a parking space. This can be solved by allowing free entry into the nearby building (apartment or malls) parking space which remains empty especially in the evening,” he said.

4. Safety

A smart city needs to be safe for citizens to live a smooth life.

Introducing smart surveillance technology or analytics to manage the crowd, traffic and following the building code (Code to be followed strictly while constructing a building, which sadly is not done in India) to manage natural/man-made disasters would make a city safe and secured for a citizen to live in.

Azeemi said that if we install CCTV in numerous places around the city, a perception of the city being safe is created.

“Even the perception of it being safe helps to attract citizens into the city,” he added.

5. Enterprising solutions

Every company and authorities related to the city needs to participate in the game. There should be seamless communication between the state government, local bodies and the citizens.

“One central authority (like, one IAS or one CEO of the city) should be there to look into all the issues and integrate it into one,” said Pratap Padode, founder and director of Smart Cities Council India.

(Image credits: Indiatimes)
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