Smart cities are the way forward: Prashant Sharma

Jul 28 2014, 11:08 IST
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India has been talking about the dream of being a developed country by 2020. (Reuters) India has been talking about the dream of being a developed country by 2020. (Reuters)
SummaryWith the amount of people migrating to the cities, India would have to have more than 100 cities in the coming years.

India has been talking about the dream of being a developed country by 2020. Few are, however, aware that everyday close to 30 people leave rural India to build their future in urban cities. Thus there is demanding need to develop India from the grass root level. With the amount of people migrating to the cities, India would have to have more than 100 cities in the coming years to occupy such an outburst. At this point, city and urban development boards will need to use inventive technologies and solutions to accomplish the growing demands on city infrastructures that deliver vital services.

While smart cities are the way forward, mobility is a huge factor for smarter city to become successful as mobility would mean better service and well informed citizens, says Prashant Sharma, country leader, MobileFirst, IBM India/South Asia. “Mobility will help improve connectivity even in emergency situations. Imagine being sent an SMS when there is a Tsunami or an earthquake in or around your area; it would work as an alert system.” In a recent interaction, he discusses with Sudhir Chowdhary how mobile technology will drive the move to smarter cities. Excerpts:

Give us an overview of how mobile technology plays a vital role in smart city?

Modern technology lets us track and observe almost anything in a major urban environment—noise, light, traffic, weather and so on—and use this data to improve people’s living and working conditions. For example, in a country like India, traffic and parking availability is one area of smart city challenges that is leveraging new technology to initiate real change. New technology is emerging all the time that lets us manipulate networks more finely, taking advantage of more sensors, more cameras and more real-time data to improve road traffic.

Mobility will be the key driver of the digital universe. Faster mobile networks are at the core of smart cities and are allowing people to do more on the move. As networks offer more cloud-based services and storage, this in turn leads to more personalised content and apps being accessible to users, which both updates and is updated by ever-smarter mobile devices. Smarter devices, faster networks and the cloud becoming pervasive all combine to power greater intake of digital content—in short, users want more data all the time and want it now.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will also play a crucial role in smart city development. The pure weight of

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