The very fact that people are talking about Smart City Mission shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to build 100 such technology-driven cities has captured the imagination of the people hoping for inclusive growth.
If we look at the trend in modern living, large-scale urbanisation and large migration of people to cities are happening. This is putting a lot of pressure on infrastructure.
The current thinking is that building modern infrastructure and upgrading existing ones are inevitable. Such measures to address rapid urbanisation have become imperative to resolve issues of public safety, healthcare, transportation, water and energy management.
The trend to find technological solutions to these issues is there for all to see among government officials, urban planners, and infrastructure and real estate developers.
Urban demographic trends in India show that over the next 20 years, 350 million people are expected to move to cities; by 2050 this number would approximately touch 700 million.
These trends and other significant demographic shifts will mean opportunities for Smart City planning, sustainable energy, improved transportation solutions, water and waste management.
To make the Smart Cities vision a reality, it is critical to develop the technology infrastructure backbone that addresses the challenges within city communities and across vertical industries. The combination of technology with civic infrastructure and services can simplify the lives of citizens and empower the citizens and local governments.
The trend shows that the government is putting social values as well as economic benefits at the centre of Smart City mission. The mission is driven by innovative technology solutions.
Trend analysis shows social innovation solutions should focus on verticals like automotive, power, railway systems, water management, traffic management, consumer durables and healthcare among others.
The current trend in India reveals that the government’s ‘100 Smart Cities’ initiative would not only change the urban landscape of the entire country but also boost the nation’s economy. While both the Smart Cities and Digital India projects will create new economic and social opportunities, they will also throw up challenges related to technology adoption and implementation.