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Involve IT People From Beginning In Designing Smart Cities, Say Experts

Technology can help infrastructure across waste management, water management, transport, safety and even finance to make life easier and convenient

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The BW Smart Cities Conclave on Wednesday discussed the role of everything from bikes to blockchain technology in the making of smart cities.

Jayant Kohale, business leader for Smart Cities at Larsen and Toubro, set the tone for the discussion by saying, "In Jaipur, the free Wi-Fi project is a success. Thousands are logging in each week. Digital infrastructure is a good enabler to building smart cities."

The discussions at the event looked at the role of technology and how IT can be better implemented for urban amenities to be properly connected.

Technology can help infrastructure across waste management, water management, transport, safety and even finance to connect to make life easier and more convenient.

Vikas Kanungo, Smart Cities and M-governance expert at the World Bank, said, "Unfortunately, when we say technology can be the enabler, we think it is sufficient if we involve the information technology communications teams after we design a project on water management, for example. Therein lies the problem. Technology can totally transform a project right at the design phase. If we apply specific technology in silos to one project in water management and another project in waste management, which by the way, is what is happening at the moment, then technology cannot be the savior or the enabler."

Manojit Bose, senior director of Smart Cities at Nasscom, agreed: "It could happen, but technology can't do the bridging of the gap on its own, but depends on implementation of the technology at the designing, and architecting level. Take e-governance, there are a few successes here and there, but largely happening in silos, hence the rate of success of e-governance is limited. We don't want that to happen continue in the future."

Ravi Gulati, head of sales of Digital India and Smart Cities, Nokia Networks, said, "smart, sustainable and safe. These are the three pillars we want our smart cities to be built on. It can happen if only technology is adopted to do so. However, it's only an enabler it can't work in isolation nor can infrastructure work in isolation. They must be combined."