Digital Intervention: ICT adoption set to change urban living

ICT adoption set to change urban living

The Smart Cities Mission (SCM) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) envisions the deployment of standards-based technologies in smart cities. This is driven by the ambition to level the playing field for a broad collection of solution provi­ders to offer world-class products and technologies to smart cities at the most reasonable price points. Additionally, be­cau­se of the scale of Indian cities, there is excellent possibility for some of the smaller businesses to become globally competitive.

The goal is for Indian smart cities to serve as beacons for cities worldwide to embra­ce cutting-edge information and communications technology (ICT) solutions that enable sustainable, effective and attractive living environments for their residents and to leverage di­verse technologies and data analysis to impro­ve city operations and economic growth. The Bureau of Indian Standards has embraced this goal and set out on an ambitious mission to build a comprehensive set of standards for MoHUA, including all aspects of ICT pertaining to smart cities.

A smart city leverages ICT to maximise the available social and environmental capital in order to elevate cities’ competitiveness. This entails employing ICT to enhance the interaction and efficiency of important infrastructural components and services in a city. Additionally, it encompasses the deployment and integrati­on of ICT – such as wireless and broadband co­nnections, advanced analytics software and intelligent sensors – in order to enhance residents’ quality of life and foster the much-needed behavioural change among residents, businesses and the government, in order to achieve sustainable growth.

India’s growing urbanisation gives an ex­ce­p­tional chance to the country to leapfrog deve­lopmental stages while also addressing the co­un­try’s chronic urban difficulties. The National Association of Software and Services Compa­nies has been collaborating with the SCM, which is administered by MoHUA, for enhancing the adoption, procurement and standardisation of ICT infrastructure for Indian smart citi­es for several years. ICT is critical to policy crea­tion, decision-making, im­ple­mentation and productive services for sm­art cities. The primary goal of this review is to examine the role of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and deep reinforcement learning in the growth of smart cities.

The ICT infrastructure of a smart city is organised around the following four major themes:

  • Economic viability: The city must be able to prosper in terms of employment, growth and money.
  • Governance: The city’s ability to administer policies and bring disparate groups together must be robust.
  • Environment: The city’s operation must be sustainable for future generations.
  • Society: The city exists for the benefit of its inhabitants.

Digital initiatives

G Square, a real estate developer in Tamil Na­du, launched the state’s first integrated smart city, G Square City, sprawled across 120.7 acres offering over 150 world-class amenities. The mission’s purpose is to encourage econo­mic growth and improve people’s quality of life by enabling local area development and utilising technology for smart outcomes. It is being marketed as a smart community project that integrates both infrastructure development and technological innovation.

The Gujarat government has launched Gu­ja­rat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) Com­pany Limited to develop and implement GIFT City via its subsidiary, Gujarat Urban Develop­ment Company Limited.

GIFT City is built on a favourable multi-service special economic zone and an exclusive domestic tariff area. The city has strong internal transportation links and is connected to the rest of the globe via the Ahmedabad International Airport, which is located only 20 km from the city. GIFT city’s futuristic infrastructure construction has received numerous prizes and pl­audits from various forums. GIFT City’s in­fra­str­ucture, which includes a district cooling system, an au­tomated waste collection system and an underground utility tunnel, adds to the city’s designation as the world’s premier smart city.

New Town, Kolkata, was named the national winner in two important verticals — digital city and smart waste disposal and clean city — at the seventh Smart Cities India Expo 2022. Indore and Bhopal were the closest contenders in the same category. New Town also triump­h­ed in Digital City, defeating closest rivals Indore and Belagavi. Additionally, in a portion of Action Area 1C, the New Town Kolkata Development Authority has been placing radio-frequency identification tags with location information on vgarbage disposal containers and buildings. After they are done, garbage collectors scan the tag with their smartphones.

In line with national policies and program­mes aimed at urban development, the Jammu & Kashmir administration has initiated a slew of initiatives as well. A total of 276 magnificent economic-impact projects have been app­ro­ved, including an integrated command and control centre, e-services, smart classro­oms, smart toilets, smart meters, Wi-Fi zo­nes, su­pervisory control and data acquisition system, geographic information systems for asset ma­pping, intelligent traffic management systems, green spaces, vertical gardens and heritage conservation.

The “Smart Cities, Smart Urbanisation” event in Surat in April 2022 highlights some of the significant projects under way in the country’s 100 smart cities. Concentrated on five sub-themes, the topics of the conference in­clu­de Re­imagining Public Spaces, Digital Gover­n­an­ce, Cli­mate-Smart Cities, Innovation and Sm­art Fin­ance. Interactive seminars and im­mer­sive sessions are being conducted in the Digi­tal Governance Pavilion to demonstrate the be­ne­fits of digital governance in cities. These are illustrated by the use of real-time data, AI/ML cases and platforms such as the India Urban Data Exchange and integrated comma­nd and control centres. Additionally, the facility will feature a data game to help stakeholders grasp the benefits of open data.