Friday, 15 July 2016

An Exploration Of Smart City Mission And What It Means To Pune's Technology Ecosystem

Last year, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced the launch of the Smart City initiative which aims to bring about digitization and growth in India’s city infrastructure and logistics. Exactly a year later, Pune witnessed the launch of the 'Smart City Mission' from the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
The mission consists of various projects, all of which aim at improving the city with regards to aspects such as amenities, transport system, waste management, road conditions, recycling, etc. The launch of The Lighthouse Project in Aundh is aimed at making citizens smarter by providing skill training to youths of poor localities. Another project aims at slum rehabilitation and works towards the replacement of the slums with buildings, all of which will be fulfilling the norms of green building. A street and pedestrian walkway in Aundh will involve PMC, traffic police, utility service providers along with local residents and commercial establishments.
While a lot of these projects will be launched at a ground level and are aimed at improving or enhancing existing systems, a big part of them involve the use of technology and innovation to see the expected results. For ease of keeping track of PMPML commuters, the smart city mission will be introducing a website and mobile app. All information about the passengers opting for local commuting services will be available on this app. Another facility in the pipeline which is soon going to be introduced is the allotment of Common Mobility Cards for all passengers. This concept involves the use of a card provided to all regular commuters. The bus conductor will swipe it in an e-ticketing machine and the amount of his ticket will automatically be deducted from the card. This facility will involve recharging the card to have credit but will eliminate the hassle of exchanging cash every time a passenger needs to buy a ticket.
Another area where the smart city mission aims at providing convenience to the citizens using technology is the traffic system. This project aims at using technology to address the planning of the entire transport system. If executed as planned, it will ensure sufficient availability of public transport in different areas as per the actual demand. This will prove to be of great help to the commuters as well as enhance the regulation of traffic on roads.A project that has the potential to change the entire face of public transport in the city is the introduction of modern buses, which are designed to be environment-friendly. The project will be launched on a pilot basis at the initial stages to check if it will prove to be a better option than the conventional buses which make use of fuel. The buses would run on electric power. If the outcome is good, they would be included in the fleet of PMPML buses.
Using rooftops of civic properties for generating solar power is another project that has been proposed multiple times in the past and is finally approved with the first project launched at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. The Pune International Centre (PIC) is playing a major role in it and many private educational institutes are looking to be a part of it too.
Taking care of waste management and ensuring appropriate and timely disposal of the city's waste is another sector in which implementation of various technological tools and devices is planned. The first phase involves the installation of a GPS system on every garbage-carrying-vehicle. This initiative is on the verge of completion and will be reviewed after a few months to see if it had any positive effects. Once that is taken care of, the second step will involve geo-tagging all the waste bins with sensors to monitor details of garbage collection.

The Smart Cities Mission aims to bring about major changes in the city's ecosystem and will see the launch of many more projects in the years to come, depending on the changes witnessed from the ones that are already launched. The use of new ideas and methods involved in it makes it an exciting opportunity for technology providers to collaborate with different bodies and enable the government's efforts through various public and private partnerships.

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