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Smart Cities: The Social, Economic And Innovation Growth Centers

While technology plays a very vital role in bringing the smartness, it is imperative to build the underlying physical infrastructure and culture to live in the city happily

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In the era of 4th Industrial revolution, technology has become very powerful. Autonomous cars, smart robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and other technological changes are happening in our daily life. Smart City is the realisation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the spatial context.

Smart Cities will provide LIFE to all the “Things” in the city, THINGS like Air Conditioners, Washing Machines, Refrigerators, Lights, Fans, roads, cars, poles, dustbins, power grid, gas grid, energy grid, water pipeline, drainage pipeline, schools, hospitals, movie theatres, car parking places, and others. In Smart Cities ‘People to People’, ‘People to Things’ and ‘Things to Things’ get connected in real time and work together by leveraging digital technologies and make the cities Smart.

Giving Life to Things means, they can: 

  1. Sense (sensors collate the data like temperature, pressure, flow, CO2, motion, speed, etc.)
  2. Process (microprocessor with embedded software process the sensor data and trigger Commands)
  3. Communicate (Communication networks like ZigBee, LoRAWAN, 3G, 4G, Fiber Grid transport the data or relevant commands)
  4. Autonomously execute (Based on commands, Things perform the tasks without human intervention)
  5. Predict (Collate the data from various Things and apply various algorithms using AI, ML, Analytics and predict the City future in different areas)

The “SMARTNESS” in the smart cities has nine dimensions as mentioned below. While technology plays a very vital role in bringing the smartness, it is imperative to build the underlying physical infrastructure and culture to live in the city happily. Smart Cities are digitally empowered “cities” and “rural areas with urban amenities,” which are built with the fusion of engineering, digital technologies, and people friendly policies which enhance the living conditions and improve transparency, effectiveness & efficiency of government agencies.














Smart Cities as Social Status Enhancement Centers

Each Smart City can establish following centers, which become catalysts to enhance the social status of the citizens in the country:

  1. Employability Enhancement Centers 
  2. Entrepreneurship Development Centers 
  3. Innovation & Incubation Centers 
  4. Industry-friendly Policies

Digital Technologies play a very vital role in establishing and managing the centers as mentioned above. Digital Learning Tools accessible through mobile devices, TV, desktop with personalized guided learning paths help the citizens to learn the new skills at their own pace and as per their career opportunities which in-turn will help the citizens get good jobs or start their companies, which will allows them in improving social status. For example, MANA TV channel in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has been helping the students to learn new skills.

Government Policies implementation using Blockchain Smart Contracts helps the Industry to get hassle-free permissions in a few hours and days. That helps in providing a lot of employment opportunities, which helps in improving the social status of citizens.

Smart Cities as Economy Growth Centers: 

Research by World Bank found that for every ten-percentage-point increase in the high-speed internet connections in countries like India, there was an increase of 1.3 percentage points in economic growth. 

Backbone for the smart cities is Internet Connectivity. Initiatives like Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), AP Fiber Grid (Andhra Pradesh), T-Fiber (Telangana) provide high-speed internet to each household. For example, in Andhra Pradesh, the government has been planning to connect 1.25 Cr household in the immediate future and provide Triple Play services at Rs.149/- (Telephone, IPTV, Internet). This helps in improving the income of each household. Through IPTV, a well-educated homemaker can offer tutor services from home, students can get tutor services with two-way communication, homemade products (pickles, snacks) can be sold & purchased using digital commerce platforms available over IPTV. 

Government agencies with smart education, smart healthcare, smart transportation, smart surveillance, smart drainage system, smart waste management, smart agriculture, digital citizen services help in improving the income, safety, productivity, and happiness of citizens with which they could deliver more with less time and contribute for economic growth. 

Smart Cities as Innovation Growth Centers: 

Government Authorities and Enterprises in the city have been facing many problems in their day to day work. In the era of 4th Industrial revolution, rapid technological innovations have been changing the needs & wants of customers continuously. Hence constant newness is expected by citizens/customers. 

As Smart Cities are connected, Crowd Innovation software Platforms bring all the specialists together onto a common platform. The solution seekers publish their problems in this platform, and 10s of solution providers give a variety of solutions for one problem. All academic institutions in the city can establish Innovation Community Groups in social media to learn various innovation techniques/methods (design thinking, computational thinking, etc.)

In this way, smart cities become Innovation Growth Centers.   For example, "CoInnovator" is a digital software platform developed by BT&BT and OSI, enable smart cities to become Innovation Growth Centers.

Hence, Smart Cities must be architected and master plan to be created in such a way that they become the Social, Economic and Innovation Growth Centers and citizens live happily by experiencing superior city governance. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


V SRINIVASA RAO (VSR)

The author is Chairman & Managing Director - BT&BT and Chairman Smart Cities Working Group, IET IOT Panel, India. He has been playing multiple roles to prepare organizations for 4th Industrial Revolution & Digital Economy. He has worked with major companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, iGATE Global Solutions, Satyam Computers and Tech Mahindra.

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