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Tech experts waiting to make India smart; Is government ready?


Jun 3, 2014, 01:20PM IST

Tech companies and solution providers from around the world are working hard to see if the Modi government can take the lead and unite various city agencies on a common platform, towards a common agenda. If that happens, Smart Cities can soon be a reality in India, they say.
Want your city to be safe, smart and intelligent? If you and other citizens like you start trying to make your buildings energy efficient as interested stakeholders and drive the change in the city, global experts are waiting with technologies to transform your city.

If you also have a good leadership that can spell the dream like the Smart City project that Singapore government is working towards, then major global leaders such as Schneider Electric, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and AGT International will pack their bags and come to help.

Charbel Aoun, senior vice president, Smart Cities, Schneider Electric says, “The announcement from India about the 100 cities was interesting. Leadership is important as the agency that can spell the dream. We like to focus on cities that are willing to transform themselves. The major elements of change are energy, mobility, public service, safety, security, healthcare, education and real estate assets. Once these elements are in place, analytics and information technology help the city transform itself into liveable, safe places. It is important to have a to-down approach in spelling the vision and a bottoms-up approach when it comes to implementation and strategy.”

“All new initiatives start either with a pain-point or an aspiration,” says Aoun. Making buildings energy efficient is the lowest hanging fruit as it gives instant tangible results of 20-30 per cent savings, he says.

Then come civic services, such as street lighting, water conservation etc, as they too produce tangible results. The idea is to create a smart grid with each element plugged in. There can be super data acquisition processes but the success depends on localising global knowledge and going for inclusiveness.

Take the case of Singapore. When the city leadership spelt out the vision of driving an agenda towards self transformation and created a vision statement, organisations such as Schneider Electric, Accenture and AGT stepped in to work with the government on defining an action plan to reach the goal.

“There have to be short-term, medium-term and long-term goals,” says Geoffrey Baid, President and GM Product and Technology Business Unit, AGT Group, GmbH. When the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore coordinated between seven agencies to create a uniform platform for the agencies to plug in their existing cameras, it allowed the Mayor to plug in and see what is happening in the city. That’s when organisations like us can step in and plug-in technology to get the best out of the system.”

But the trick is for the leadership to be able to spell out the vision that includes the aspiration of the stakeholders and unifies different civic agencies on a common platform.

The world is looking whether the Narendra Modi government will take those steps to create an enabling environment for the world’s best solution providers to plug in solutions. The need of the hour is to identify the problems, create a vision statement, plan for the long term and meet the aspirations of all or most stakeholders. Can the Modi government rise to the challenge?

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