How Cisco Turns Jaipur Into A Digital, Smart City

by Sohini Bagchi    Nov 02, 2017


A digitized state aims to drive GDP growth, create jobs and foster innovation, stimulate entrepreneurship, accelerate business innovation, develop economic cluster initiatives, and support infrastructure. Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) which was looking at digitization to transform itself into a smart city partnered with Cisco to set up the digital infrastructure to offer citizens amenities such as connected transport, wireless broadband, security services, traffic management and safety. While a lot is left to be done in its massive smart city overhaul, until now some of the efforts are clearly visible for early movers like Jaipur, signifying how technology is critical to achieve success and restore the glory of an ancient city.

Needless to say, Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, has a colorful past dating back to the time it was founded, in 1727. Widely known as India’s “Pink City”, its rich cultural rich cultural heritage and unique sights have made it a popular tourist destination both domestic and international, attracting over 40 million visitors each year.

However, due to the huge number of visitors, city authorities were under pressure. They were faced with an urgent need to vastly improve the quality of services provided to the city’s visitors and 3.5 million residents. Their solution was to create the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), with the mandate of improving the lives of the people of Jaipur and the experience of the city’s visitors.

Challenge: Improve quality of life for residents and tourists

With the city emerging as a tourism hub and drawing large numbers of visitors, the JDA recognized the need to hasten their efforts. Their mandate was two-pronged. They needed to increase the quality of public services and increase information access available to residents, as well as offer a stellar tourism experience to visitors. A further need was to focus on safety for visitors and residents alike.

Uncompromised safety for all: Having safety and security solutions in place would enable the JDA to monitor activity and movement in high traffic areas. This was a key factor towards improving the safety of specific profiles, such as female or solo travelers. It would also improve conditions for local residents and reduce crime rates in the city.

Simplified tourist experience: Jaipur, a city almost 300 years old, has generations of complex public infrastructure built upon each other—resulting in a challenging transition towards becoming a Digital City. However, this transition is critical towards helping tourists spend more time on the cultural experience and sightseeing, instead of navigating this maze of a city.

Digital empowerment for citizens: The ultimate goal of the JDA was to provide the city’s people with a top-tier public service infrastructure, and earn Jaipur a reputation as a modern metropolis—one that would enable Jaipur to claim that it is one of the most desirable places to live in.

In keeping with the government’s Digital India program, there is a strong focus on the digital empowerment of citizens, where a well-connected infrastructure is offered as a utility to every citizen and public services are available on-demand.

As part of the journey towards making Jaipur a Smart and Secure Wi-Fi City, the JDA wanted to   provide easy access to information, across multiple devices and platforms, to the residents and tourists of Jaipur.

Cisco worked with various sensor and application partners to provide solutions that improve operations, optimize service delivery engagement and improve overall quality of life.

Like most other digital transformation projects, they also had the responsibility to keep at eye on cost-effectiveness and manageability. To do this, they needed a partner with a strong background in technology, and one that can manage this mammoth task, by efficiently implementing reliable solutions.

“Digitization will be key to how cities, communities and countries maintain global competitiveness, increase GDP growth, foster innovation and create new jobs. ‘Digital Rajasthan’ is a powerful platform to realize that vision. Today, citizens of Jaipur are digitally empowered and this is just the beginning. We envision Jaipur as a role model for digital transformation for other cities to follow,” said Vaibhav Galriya, JDA Commissioner.

Solution: Always connected means safe and informed

Cisco worked with the JDA to realize their vision of developing Jaipur city into a smart and secure Wi-Fi City through a variety of customized solutions and technology. Cisco empowered the creation of new digital connections to make cities in the region more desirable places to live in— with quality services and safety—and able to support their thriving economies. The foundation of ‘Digital Rajasthan’ will be intelligent networks that will transform the delivery of public services.

At the start of the city’s digital journey, a framework was developed by Cisco to address the shared challenges the cities face, and reflect how solutions are implemented and supported in pre-set milestones.

Common dashboard for better decision-making: The solutions provided by Cisco was built into a single, easy-to-understand digital platform. It works by aggregating data from various sensors and data analytics to support a wide range of urban services.

Hotspots that provide easy access to services: Cisco created smart Wi-Fi hotspots at selected locations, so that tourists and residents alike could take advantage of this smart city feature and have access to the internet.

Improved and interactive tourist experience: A robust, fast and secure connectivity infrastructure—newly installed by Cisco—enabled new and more efficient ways of reaching out and interacting with both tourists and visitors alike.

This allowed the use of user-friendly and interactive Information Kiosks—that were supported by mobile apps—installed in major tourist spots like Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal and other high-traffic locations.

These new ways of communication helped visitors navigate the myriad of attractions and activities that Jaipur has to offer efficiently, leading to happier visitors and a more organized tourism experience.

For example, Advanced IP-based Surveillance Solutions installed at key locations closely monitor their respective areas and record incidents that occur throughout the city. It also delivers live video feed to the Jaipur Police control room, leading to faster response times and improved success rates, allowing citizens and tourist alike to feel safer in Jaipur.

Also the authorities could get actionable data through smart sensors. Environmental Sensors at key locations that provide air quality status reports in real-time, has given Jaipur authorities the necessary data to handle pollution and problems caused by desert conditions when they arise. In the case of city infrastructure, Cisco installed Parking Information, Remote Kiosks and Facility Management Services at select locations helped improve on facilities and parking.

As a result of Smart Pods installed for the provision of government services, citizens now have highly secured access to customized content and information that doesn’t compromise on the personal privacy of its users.

The result: A faster, smarter city

The initiatives by the JDA to make Jaipur a smart city received accolades from residents, and are highly appreciated by the millions of tourists who flock to the city. Tourism, security, government services and information are now more faster and “smarter” in the city of Jaipur.

The hi-tech solutions, strategic support, and trusted partner ecosystems deliver unmatched digital innovation opportunities for government and city organizations. This allows for new revenue streams, improved access to public services, better community experiences, and new operating models that drive efficiency and lower cost.

“Jaipur is a historical city that attracts tens of millions of tourists from all over the world annually. Jaipur is focusing on technology innovation as a Digital City to showcase greater connectivity and information access for our citizens and tourist visitors. Working  with Cisco has made this vision a reality, and our city is benefitting in every aspect – from safety and security, to easy access to information, to overall improvement of our image and our stepping into the “Smart City” arena,” Shikhar Agrawal, Principal Secretary Water Resources, State Water Resource Planning, Government of Rajasthan commented.

To take this initiative forward, Cisco partnered with Genpact to set up a Global Centre for Excellence early this year. With the opening of Network Operation Centre (NOC) the Pink City of Jaipur becomes the first city in the country and South Asia to monitor and operate smart city infrastructure using a single digital network. The NOC will integrate all recently developed digital infrastructure such as intelligence kiosks, wireless broadband, sensor-based dustbins smart streetlight, parking and apps, to name a few.

Indian government’s Smart City project is a growth avenue for enterprises, which are optimistic about leveraging newer technologies like IoT. The government plans to develop 100 smart cities at Rs 7060 crore by 2022. India is rapidly urbanizing and its urban population in 2031 is expected to increase to 600 million, which will be crucial to the country’s economic growth. And this will require massive restructuring to support the future population. Undoutedly, by facilitating the creation of Smart Cities that uses advanced IT infrastructure and digital solutions to deliver services, policymakers can address the economic, social, and environmental challenges of urbanization.