The word ‘Smart’ is generally employed to describe the quality of having a higher degree of mental ability or intelligence. The advent of the digital revolution in the industry has provided a new meaning to this word as it is now used for smart machines and IoT devices that can operate autonomously and interactively with the help of AI and IoT networks.
With cities evolving at a rapid pace, over half the world’s population has shifted to urban areas especially India with its burgeoning population. New challenges have started emerging in Indian cities as people have started gravitating towards urban lives.
The majority of India’s cities have been inherently unsustainable concerning their growth. Often lacking in core infrastructure like shortage of water supplies in Delhi and discharge of wastewater into open drains or having no drainage at all comprises some of the basic shortcomings that India has been dealing with since its independence.
So, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his vision of employing the idea of Smart Cities in India, it appeared to be nothing short of a dream or fantasy. But with their several initiatives to make this dream come true, the Indian Government has launched various schemes and projects like Dholera Smart City.
As a result, Smart Cities in India are on the brink of a digital transformation that will change the face of India in the next few years.
With a lot of hype around this new term smart cities, let’s acquaint ourselves with what is it all about and what separates a smart city from a regular city and the role of Smart Cities in India in the long run.
Understanding Smart City
A smart city, in simpler terms, is a city using technology to provide services and solve city problems. A smart city possesses the following features like better transportation and accessibility, social services, improved sustainability goals, and give its citizens a voice.
The main goals of a smart city include improved policy efficiency, reduced waste, improved social and economic quality, and maximized social inclusion.
To get a better idea of what a smart city is, it’s important to know that the reference used here as “smart” doesn’t refer to a characteristic that defines the city, but rather a tool. “Smart” describes the city’s ability to create well-being for its citizens in a sustainable way.
A city is referred to as “smart” when it can collect and analyze mass quantities of data from a wide variety of industries, ranging from urban planning to garbage collection. And to achieve these goals, a complex network of interconnected sensors, devices, and software must be built and maintained all around the city.
Smart Cities in India are typically supported by several types of technologies, like,
- Information and communications technology (ICT)
- Connected physical devices using the IoT network
- Geographical information systems (GIS) and many more
Each of these technologies works collectively to gather and analyze massive amounts of data that can be used to improve the components and systems especially for Smart Cities in India.
Features of Smart City
Smart Cities in India can make use of various combinations of technologies like automation, machine learning and the IoT for a variety of applications and to achieve a better performance, like smart parking helps drivers to find a parking space easily and also allow for digital payment while adopting sustainable means.
Smart Cities in India can adopt energy conservation and environmental efficiencies to promote sustainability, like streetlights that dim when the roads are empty. Due to these methods employed all over the city, smart grid technologies improve everything from operations to maintenance leading to a better and efficient system.
Smart city initiatives can further be employed to combat climate change and air pollution as well as waste management. Other features include improved sanitation via internet-enabled rubbish collection, smart bins and better fleet management systems.
Apart from promoting clean energy, Smart Cities in India can have Smart buildings that can offer real-time space management and feedback to determine when repairs are necessary.
Citizens can also have access to this system to notify officials if any problems, such as potholes occur, while sensors attached can easily monitor any infrastructure-related problems like leaks in water pipes.
Smart City Mission in India
Smart Cities in India are not only a concept or a dream of the future rather it is the opportunity of the lifetime to improve the lives of people living in India. It typically focuses on sustainable and inclusive development models in India and inclines towards the compact areas to generate an ideal model that will act as a lighthouse to other aspiring cities.
India’s ministry of urban development has been responsible for implementing the Smart City mission in partnership with the state government of respective cities with a set deadline for completion between 2019 and 2023.
Wave City has been declared as one of the largest self-sufficient Smart Cities of India which is based on the “Hi-Tech City Concept”. Dholera Project developing under the venture of the Gujrat government is another such example.
Though we are still in the development phases of Smart Cities in India, there is an urgent need to increase investments in these identified smart cities and also to create sustainable models for them to create a long-term positive impact.