‘Making a city smart and sustainable is a continuous process’
Ashish Sharma, Freelancer/Consultant – ICT Specialist at Smart Global Cities. Ashish has more than 11 years of experience in the field of smart solutions across various sectors, and is currently heading the technical team for solutions like IoT, E-governance, bots, smart traffic and transportation systems, city surveillance, utility management, city fibre networks, smart parking, public bike sharing, integrated command centre and data centre.
Smart Global Cities
Smart solutions across various sectors of Smart Cities
Planning & Consultancy
How smart are our cities today? What exactly makes them smart?
I will answer this question in two parts. I think the idea of Smart City has little to do with technology, but more to do with the Liveability of the City. If we have to quantify the Smartness of a city, it should be definitely done basis the Liveability Index of that particular city. The higher the liveability index, the smarter the city can be labelled. Different cities in India have different challenges and they have either adopted their own isolated solutions to it or have continued to ignore the problem. The need of the hour is to make these solutions more efficient and integrated.
Grappling with poor infrastructure, is it possible to make our cities smart?
Well we have to start from somewhere. Making a city smart and sustainable is a continuous process and one should adopt the phased approach to reach out to city goals. Stakeholders like central government agencies, local authorities, domain experts, implementation agencies, etc., should definitely put efforts to make the conditions more feasible for relevant infrastructure development.
Gathering data is one thing, sifting through it is another. Implementation is most important. Do we have the mechanism in place?
Implementation of high magnitude projects has always been difficult. The progress could be slow, but with right intent and continuous effort, I think, we should be able to achieve some success. But if you ask me about any existing effective mechanism for smart city implementation in India, No, we don’t have any. However, we can learn from others experiences and make informed decisions for implementation challenges.
Utilities, especially water and electricity, are low hanging fruit, perhaps?
Again, it is different for different cities, some cities might have Public Transportation or ICT infrastructure as low hanging fruit.
But such networks can also be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Are we prepared for that?
Yes, Cyber Security is a major problem. I believe next world war could be in cyber space and most vulnerable areas would be public services, utilities, public and private data, etc. We should be more agile towards the cyber threats and make strong efforts to make the cyber security stringent.
(This interview is part of the series on Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission and the progress made so far.)
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