In recent months there has been widespread discussions by the India government to create smart cities across the country. The objective was to make cities smart by using technology that can enable a city become self sustainable, remain future proof and look into the welfare of its citizens, while focusing on areas such as employment, education, healthcare and so on. However, mere deployment of some technologies on to the exusting cities would not help the mission.
Global tech giant Cisco, a major force in helping the government develop smart cities in India believes that for sustainable urbanization, cities need to adopt a framework that is socially equitable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
In this regard, Cisco brings out a report with he International Data Corporation (IDC) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) titled ‘Smartest Cities of the Future’ that outlines a framework that focuses on sustainable and inclusive (social, economic, and digital) development, and a smart city scorecard to measure the impact of intelligent solutions.
The report recognizes that for sustainable urbanization, cities need to adopt a framework that is socially equitable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. The report emphasizes the challenges of urbanization and recommends five major thrust areas
Continued innovative thinking and the empowerment of smart city decision makers to balance between risk and value. Enhancing execution capabilities through strategic public-private partnerships “Matchmake” the government demand with a sustained supply of technology innovation Smart City planners will need to invest in the concept of value capture funding and the immense benefits it brings. Smart city solution providers will need to craft go-to-market strategies that consider the customers’ and citizens’ desires for end-to-end solutions .
Recognizing that mere investments in enhancing infrastructure are not the solution, the report notes that while urbanization has resulted in economic growth it has also posed socio-economic and environmental challenges. For cities to become more competitive, they need to become smarter and more efficient, and the report emphasizes that technology can act as the key enabler to help achieve these goals. The report underlines that investments in coordination with technology, value capture funding and strategic private-public partnerships will be the essential engines of growth for cities to achieve sustainable living.
For example, Cisco Golden Mile project at Vijayawada and its societal, economic, and environmental impact. IDC along with the state government of Andhra Pradesh monitored and analyzed the efficiency and efficacy of the smart solutions deployed in the city against the Smart City Score Card comprising five critical parameters – digital inclusion, citizen convenience and engagement, public safety, revenue impact and environmental impact. IDC observed that 46% of citizens (respondents) have used the smart services and have recognized that technology has positively impacted their lives. In addition to that, 79% of respondents felt more secure after the Vijayawada city administration deployed smart surveillance solutions.
IDC also observed that the power savings from a basic hypothesis of a city-wide smart initiative, such as smart lighting could help Vijayawada Municipal corporation save up to INR 35 crores per year (approximately US$ 5.22 million) .
Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India and SAARC, “India is urbanizing rapidly and it is critical that our cities become ‘Smarter’ to offer better lives for citizens, foster innovation as well as drive economic growth. The findings of this report focuses on digital inclusion, citizen convenience and engagement, impact on public safety, revenue and environment, which are critical pillars to make cities competitive and sustainable. As outlined in the report, the impact of Vijayawada Golden Mile on the state economy, citizens and environment emphasize the role technology can play as an enabler of growth and sustainability. This report is a great example of how states can leverage technology in tackling infrastructure challenges, improve social, economic and environmental sustainability and provide next generation of services to its citizens.”
Venu Reddy, General Manager, IDC Centre for Consultancy and Research, “As we have observed with the Vijayawada Golden Mile project, smart cities are beginning to impact the lives of citizens. The benefits of technology-powered initiatives are expected to be manifold, including economic, social, and environmental benefits. However, this is only the beginning and to create sustained impact, decision-makers need to innovate and understand the balance between risk and value continually.”
The report also highlights the need for Value Capture Funding (VCF). The VCF framework is to better distribute the costs and benefits in funded infrastructure to facilitate a project that may perhaps otherwise not be taken up at all. The VCF framework is significant, as it enables private partners to participate and run projects that are sufficiently planned and backed by governmental agencies through value and risk sharing.