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BW Businessworld

BW Businessworld Presents Smart Cities Conclave And Awards

Many organisations receive recognition for helping Indian cities develop better standards of living through technology and smart processes

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The key players of India's Smart City concept came together in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the pivotal changes the country needs to make to connect Indian cities.

The BW Smart Cities Conclave and Awards ended on a high with those championing the spirit of next-generation technology being recognized in helping India's urban communities adopt higher standards of living.

Telecoms Minister Manoj Sinha, who was the chief guest, in his address said: "Machine to machine learning, and artificial intelligence adoption will be key. It will help us serve our citizens and connect our cities to be smarter by helping to reduce carbon footprint, and telecommunications and broadband connectivity to be better. And we would like to have startups help us do that too."

Creating an advanced telecommunications system, particularly a good broadband network, is cited by economists, telecom companies and policymakers as key to transforming Indian into a into a Smart Country.

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said: "Before smart cities come to fruition, we must make small changes like better planning of our cities and of course technology will help us make those arrangements."

"Sometimes as we move toward making life better for our society, yes there will be discomfort, referring to the after effects of demonetization," the minister said.

Pankaj Munjal, chairman and managing director of Hero Cycles Ltd, said his company is going to make Indian cities environmentally friendly.

"A radius of 50 km around Connaught Place has air quality that is one of the worst one can find in Delhi. Can we do something about this? Yes we can, and we are working towards this goal at Hero Cycles and are eagerly awaiting the guidance of our state leaders to make life better in cities across India."

Key Insights

The conclave also raised various issues for the government to look at.

"I will use an analogy here to explain how Indian policy makers are dealing with the approach of building smart cities. It's like throwing a complex puzzle at an unsuspecting confused man," said Karuna Gopal, founder of Foundation for Futuristic Cities.

"If I had to name one reform that we require to make, then the mother of reforms will be to build capacity - capacity of cities and our leaders. An even bigger reform will be to decouple infrastructure cycles and political cycles so that smart city advancements won't be hampered or dependent on the current politicos in power," she said.

Pranay Jivrajka, chief operating officer at Ola Cabs, said: "Smart city is a longer term goal, what’s important is that everyone is on the same page and all stakeholders know we are all in it together, we need more courage, more understanding and have a close ear to the ground to know what changes are coming and should be made. Private players should chip in more."

On whether technology can help infrastructure across waste management, water management, transport, safety and even finance connect to each other to make life easier for people, 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."

Manojit Bose, senior director of Smart Cities at Nasscom, said, "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."

The Winners

With the guidance of experts and key stakeholders of Smart City concepts, BW Businessworld recognized the following to be the winners in their respective categories:

Innovative Smart Solution – Accessibility and Mobility category: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation
Innovative Smart Solution – Infrastructure: Pune Smart city Development Corporation
Innovative Smart Sustainable Solution: Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Ltd
Innovative Smart Solution – Institutional: Surat Smart City Development Limited
Best Smart City winners were the cities of Nagpur, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and Raipur.
Winner of Smart City Academic Program belonged to Gujarat Technological University.
Smart Cities Leader of the Year was adjudged to be Vivek Aggarwal, Secretary, Commissioner Urban Development and Environment, Madhya Pradesh.

Innovative Smart Solution – Environmental: Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)
Innovative Smart Solutions – Social: Larsen and Toubro Limited’s Smart World and Communication BU
Innovative Smart Solution – Knowledge and Intellectual: Municipal Corporation of Tirupati
Smart Private Township: Lodha Group
Greenfield City winner was Amravati