Smart cities promise to drive domestic IT market

July 11, 2014



When cities go big and unwieldy, you need something to piece it together to improve the quality of life. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s grandiose plan to build 100 smart cities with ₹7,060 crore looks promising. A relatively new concept in the global urban development strategy, a smart city is aimed at making technology work for you.

New biz avenues

If this project takes off, it will give a boost to the domestic IT market. Faced with zero growth in the domestic market last year, the industry could hope for new business avenues as smart cities take shape.

No wonder IT majors such as Microsoft, Intel, IBM and IT service firms have developed solutions to identify the needs of urbanites and solving them. A host of start-ups too have begun building apps to address these issues.

Microsoft has launched the City Next initiative and teamed up with TCS and Wipro in India. It has identified more than 40 solution areas across eight city domains, including energy, buildings, infrastructure and transportation. It picked Surat for the initiative.

This will promote investments in the use of modern technology, making India’s cities smarter and safer, Koichiro Koide, Managing Director of NEC India, feels.

At ₹70.60 crore a Smart City, the plan looks ambitious for some. “You can’t even build a mall forget about a Smart City,” a techie Tweeted, indicating the mood in a section of the IT industry.

“Unless new cities are developed to accommodate the burgeoning number of people, the existing cities would soon become unlivable,” Jaitely said as he announced the Smart City plan.

To support the initiative, he proposes to tweak the built-up area and capital conditions for FDI from 50,000 square metres to 20,000 square metres and from $10 million to $5 million. Satish Jadhav, Country Manager and Internet of Things Lead (Embedded Markets), Intel South Asia, said the company is working with ecosystem partners to build intelligent transportation systems, modernising the public distribution system and digital security surveillance solutions.

(This article was published on July 10, 2014)

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