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Urban Management Solutions

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India is considered to be a country of villages and farmers as almost 70 per cent of the population resides in the rural parts of the country. Agriculture is a major source of income for almost 57 per cent of the working population but still the contribution of agriculture towards GDP at just 14 per cent is not encouraging. Major part of the GDP in India comes from the urban sector which is expected to be as high as 75 per cent by the year 2020. The sectorial shift from agriculture to industry and services is the major reason for India’s unprecedented growth. But to continue growing, India needs to address the challenge of urbanisation. The key reason for this migration to urban areas is the ease of access to key services such as, healthcare, education, banking, etc.

Poor infrastructure, unplanned cities and townships, transportation, communication, urban crimes and security are some of the major factors that affect urbanisation in India.

Solutions from Technology, Medi & Telecom (TMT)
The Technology, Media and Telecom can play a big role in urban management. The availability and adoption of technology is way ahead in urban parts of India. Community leaders are pressed for answers to overcrowding, pollution, budget and resource constraints, inadequate infrastructures, and the need for continuous growth. While the 20th century cities were built on infrastructure such as roads and telephones, the new connected cities of the 21st century are being defined by internet and broadband. The emergence of the ‘Industrial Internet’, where not only the traditional devices like phone and laptops are connected but any machine can connect and communicate with each other, have given rise to a new kind of urbanisation. Connected cars, buildings, power grids, surveillance devices are creating a world of ‘Internet of Things’. The Telecom network is providing an intelligent platform for smart and environmentally sustainable cities, industries etc.

Communication enables the provision of key services in an urban environment and thus Telecommunication plays a key role in urban management.

Machine to Machine (M2M): The growth of telecom network and the adoption of new technology by the Indian consumer have opened up opportunities for M2M. A recent report by Research and Market analysis forecasts the M2M market in India to grow at a CAGR of 33.81% over the period 2012-2016. Recently, m-Health saw greater adoption of M2M technology. The projected m-Health industry in India is INR 30 billion by 2017 which can benefit both the telecom and healthcare sectors. Similarly, the recent Jan DhanYojna project started by Prime Minister along with the acceptance of RBI to issue payment bank license to the telecom operators and retailers may see extensive use of M2M in the banking sector.

Cloud: The growing adoption of cloud has given flexibility to different sectors to store and retrieve data anytime anywhere. As per a Gartner report revenue from public cloud services in India is expected to rise 33% to $838 million in 2015. The flexibility and agility provided by cloud services without high capital expenditure in infrastructure development provides growth opportunity to all sectors. The widely used Global Positioning System, Electronic Health Records, Government databases depend on cloud service for better management of data.

The new creative technological solutions are responsible for efficient yet easy to use services.

Smart transportation: One of the transport studies revealed that India loses INR 600 billion a year due to traffic congestion. Most of it is from urban India due to increasing number of vehicles, narrow roads and lack of traffic sense amongst people. Indian cities are 30 times more densely populated than Europe's urban centres. The Intelligent transportation system can use telecom and M2M technology like traffic sensors, vehicle tracking, location information and algorithms to provide smart solution to traffic problems in urban areas.

Energy management: Energy is the utmost requirement for urban India due to presence of industries, services sectors, etc. and surprisingly India loses around 23% of energy due to inefficient transmission. Analysts claim that India’s economy loses upto $16.2 billion (INR 1 trillion) a year due to widespread practice of electricity theft. M2M along with other technologies can provide smart grid solutions for efficient energy management and demand prediction.
India is expected to spend $21.6 billion (INR 1.3 trillion) by 2025 in smart grids.

Waste management: Indian town and cities are overcrowded due to migration from rural to urban areas. The unplanned cities worsen the situation by producing enormous waste every day. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions for waste management are effective and help in recycling the waste to produce alternative energy. The ICT solutions can help in waste sorting, collection, transportation, waste accounting and billing, preventive maintenance and asset lifecycle management.

Water management: Water management is an important issue as it is a scarce natural resource. Two big cities Bangalore and Chennai are facing severe water crisis and other cities are also beginning to face the reality. ICT could enable water management by innovatively using geographic information system (GIS) by water authorities to obtain information in real-time about the water use. Mapping of water resources, weather forecasting and climate monitoring are necessary for storage of water.

Security: The criminal cases registered in the capital city Delhi in 2014 rose to 147,230 from 73,902 in 2013. The M2M devices can provide security solutions like surveillance camera, home safety solutions, building surveillance solutions, etc. Also drones are now being used by Indian police to track criminals or suspected objects.

Education & Awareness: Media can build awareness among the public for efficient use of limited resources and cleanliness of the city. Radio and television have started giving traffic updates to public for traffic management. Events like bus-day, green-day, Swatch Bharat can be made popular with the help of media and ultimately help the urban India. Media can also help in educating people about things like traffic laws, water usage, waste management, etc. The reality shows like SatyamevJayate are helping address some of these issues.

The author, Hemant Joshi is a Partner with Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP.