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BW Businessworld

Securing Our Smart Cities The Smart Way

Technology being at the centre of our Government’s Smart Cities Mission, safety and security have emerged as important aspects of the way cities function. Where technology has helped harness and optimise the management of urban resources, the protection of data and citizens alike has also emerged as crucial to ensure our people and businesses feel safe in cities

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The concept of Smart Cities does not hold any ground without ensuring the safety and security of their people and the visiting tourists. Deliberating on this aspect at the BW Businessworld Smart Cities Conclave, Ahmedabad, a host of panelists from various municipal corporations of different cities came together and gave interesting viewpoints on the importance of technology in ensuring the same.

Emphasizing on the technological aspect of a safe city, Sandeep Kadam, Commissioner, Dharamshala Municipal Corporation said, “The very definition of smart cities is ever changing as the methods and approach towards the same are changing. While planning for safety and security, we need to have very strong command and control centres but at the same time, the most important aspect of safety and security is the response system especially during emergency situations.”

He also stated that being a tourist city it is paramount for the administration to protect and ensure the safety of the visiting tourists. “As a tourist city, we need systems in place to secure the safety of tourists. The biggest challenge is the anonymity of tourists visiting our city as their safety is our responsibility. Anything that happens to them may impinge on our image as a tourist destination, so when we are planning on safety and security aspects of our smart city projects, our first aim is to break their anonymity, we have a network of surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology etc., in place, with which the crime rates can be taken down considerably.”

Citing data safety as a crucial facet of securing our cities, Avneesh Kumar Sharma, Commissioner, Moradabad Municipal Corporation affirmed, “Data safety is the first and foremost concern of all smart cities. Safeguarding the important data of municipal corporations should be an important issue to be addressed. Also, waste management is also one of the most crucial concerns and needs to be addressed.”

Arun Prakash, Municipal Commissioner, Agra Municipal Corporation also said, “Latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, deep learning, and cloud etc. have proved to be important in developing security and surveillance of our cities thereby, lessening crimes and ensuring safety of our citizens. The response time of UP 100 has been fantastic and has helped us bring down the crime rates considerably. Along with our citizens, we also want to protect our foreign tourists to give them a good experience of visiting our city as well as enhance our earnings.”

Talking about the investment aspect of a safe and secure city, Gaurav Verma, Municipal Commissioner, Saharanpur Municipal Corporation expressed, “Safety and security are one of the basic aspects of human life. We need to make sure our cities are safe if we want to attract investments. No companies will come and invest any amount of money in a city unless they feel safe and secure. In states like UP where security is a major issue, we arrange systems in such a way as to make our citizens feel safe. UP 100 and Dial 100 have given a tremendous boost to the safety aspect of citizens in Uttar Pradesh.”

Giving weightage to integrating the emergency services with technology, Raghvendra Kumar Dwivedi, State Radio Officer, UP 100 professed, “The citizens should be provided with the applications that are SOS-based so that at the single press of a button, the police help is provided. The response time of emergency services such as fire and health etc. should be prompt. IoT devices should be installed at banks, shops, and other important installations etc. Integration of all other services with emergency services should be there as often proper coordination is missing. Other areas such as safety for commuters in public transport, smart policing and smart traffic management should be ensured. Also, there should be a proper plan for disaster management and most importantly we should have a plan for cyber-security with dedicated cyber security cells which are all important aspects as far as the safety and security of smart cities are concerned.”