Smart City is the concept of managing public infrastructure in cities from a centralized location by deploying information and communication technology (ICT) tools. This is expected to enhance the performance and quality of urban services such as energy, connectivity, transportation, utilities, and governance, among others. A smart city is a framework of an ‘intelligent network’ of connected objects and machines that transmit data using a communication technology command center (ICCC) that receives and manages data in real time to help improve the quality of life.
The communication network is the backbone of any ICT infrastructure and even more so for the smart city. The data for smart city is typically generated at various touch, including cross roads, notorious crime prone locations, market streets, entry-exit points, control or monitoring points in water distribution systems, sewage treatment plants, waste collection/treatment, streetlights, power supply distribution locations, bus stops, government offices, service buildings and many other such locations that are generally not well covered by existing commercial telecom networks. Millions of data points need to be gathered from these sources using CCTVs, devices and sensors and assimilated at the data center.
To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development: institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long-term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of ‘smartness’. In the approach of the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities.
The Smart Cities Mission of the Government is a bold, new initiative. It is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalyzing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country. The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include:
- adequate water supply
- assured electricity supply
- sanitation, including solid waste management
- efficient urban mobility and public transport
- affordable housing, especially for the poor
- robust IT connectivity and digitalization
- good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
- sustainable environment
- safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
- health and education
Accordingly, the purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to Smart outcomes. Area based development will transform existing areas (retrofit and redevelop), including slums, into better planned ones, thereby improving livability of the whole city. New areas (greenfield) will be developed around cities in order to accommodate the expanding population in urban areas. Application of Smart Solutions will enable cities to use technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services. Comprehensive development in this way will improve quality of life, create employment and enhance incomes for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, leading to inclusive cities.