International and national experts on technologies and smart cities along with urban development officials from across India – constituting 600 cities covering the100 smart cities and 500 AMRUT cities – came together at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre to participate in the National Conclave on Smart Technologies on August 22-23, 2015. The event was hosted by Smart Cities Council India and co-hosted by the Telangana government. The organized expo provided a platform for various national and international industry leaders as well as promising technology entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise in smart technology applications, and an opportunity for smart cities professionals to get connected and share ideas to build and transform smart cities in India.
At the inaugural session, Pratap Padode, Founder Director, Smart Cities Council India, delivered the welcome address, emphasising the need and readiness of India to transform Smart Cities. Then, BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, NASSCOM, expounded on the role of ‘Technology in Developing Smart Cities’ – Technology is the cornerstone in development of smart cities, however, smart infrastructure development is crucial in achieving the goal. Guest of honour, KT Rama Rao, IT Minister, Telangana, spoke about ‘Creating a Smart Technologies Hub’ and reiterated importance of digital infrastructure along with digital literacy – calling them the big challenges in building smart cities. He said, “The one-size-fits-all formula will not work for Indian smart cities... India needs its own local formulas.” And Chief Guest Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, Government of India, addressed the audience on ‘How India Will Build Smart Cities’ – “The need for today is smart liveable cities with transparency and accountability”. He emphasised on Collective Collaboration – PPPP, adding ‘Participants’ into the ‘Public-Private Partnerships’ equation. He also underlined various areas that urban local bodies should focus on, including public transportation, clean energy, sustainable practices, governance, as well as revenue generation to sustain these efforts.
After the inaugural session, Padode commented, “Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu has confirmed that the Smart Cities Mission rollout has been very smooth and no obstacles have come their way. He has assured that the list of smart cities as per Phase 1 of the Smart Cities Challenge will be declared on September 1 ( although he announced it on August 27th itself), after which the cities will move into the second round of the competition.”
SMART CITIES: LEAPFROG TO THE FUTURE
The international and national keynote speakers provided various perspectives, from academia, industry, legislative council, and city government standpoint, on smart technology integration in the formulation of smart cities.
Prof. Carlo Ratti, Director, MIT Senseable City Laboratory, Boston, opened the forum with ‘Preparing for Smart Cities’, showcasing the latest cutting-edge smart technologies research and implementation. Mr. Ratti accentuated the innovation and customization through examples from Barcelona and Boston, to show how simple technological fixes could provide solutions to common urban issues, such as Copenhagen Wheel. Dr Isher Ahluwalia, Chairperson, ICRIER, India, expounded on ‘Transforming Indian Cities’ from legislative viewpoint. Ms. Ahulwalia emphasised on advancement in governance and civic mindset conjointly with infrastructure development, and quoted examples of best practices in India in cities like Surat, Hyderabad, and Pune, as explained in her book, Transforming Cities. Vicente Guallart, Architect, Urban Habitat Lab, IAAC Barcelona, from his experience of ‘Building Smart City of Barcelona’ inferred eight principles to make a smart city: from defining city’s mantra and prioritizing the city structure to developing city economy with partners and building a liveable, resilient, human-centric city. Finally, Sameer Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India provided detailed insights into the ‘Indian Smart Cities Mission’, shading more light on the stages of the Smart City challenges and proposed plans of actions.
EXPERT PANEL SESSION: KEYS TO FUTURE ENERGY
The discussion forum chaired by Nikhil Agarwal, CEO, Innovation Society, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Vijay Ratnaparkhe, MD & President, Robert Bosch Engineering rationalized the smart focus on ‘Energy Efficiency’. The discussion centred on – energy optimization and the need to take into consideration the entire value chain and external factors. The focus was on distributed production, innovative renewable energy sources, and energy storage and distribution. Speakers also discussed the need for concurrent focus on radial measures to reduce energy and in turn minimize environmental and social impacts. And technology can act as important catalyst here – use of smart grid and smart metering and its analysis can provide and monitor energy consumption needs for efficient energy use. Speakers for this panel included Anirban Choudhury, Vice President – Infrastructure, Vittal Innovation City, Aniruddha Ganguly, President, GMR Group, and Narender Surana, Managing Director, Surana Ventures. The moderator was Kavan Mukhtayar, Senior Partner, Frost & Sullivan.
EXPERT PANEL SESSION: IMPROVING URBAN WASTE MANAGEMENT
The parallel session chaired by MGoutham Reddy, Executive Director, Ramky Group, was a smart discussion on new techniques and technologies for managing solid waste and waste-to-energy practices. A case study was also presented. Speakers included Willie Driessen, Global Technology and Product Manager, Paques BV, TR Rao, Managing Director, Steps Energy, S Sampat, CEO, Samkitec Resources, and JB Venkatakrishnan, Director, Quavac India Pvt Ltd. The moderator was V Srinivas Chary, Director, ASCI.
EXPERT PANEL SESSION: GOVERNANCE CHALLENGES FOR SMART CITIES'
This session chaired by MG Gopal, Principal Secretary – Municipal Administration & Urban Development, Government of Telangana, and Navin Mittal (IAS), Special Commissioner, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation focused on one of the biggest obstacles in smart cities formulation – Governance. Building on the previous speakers’ talks, this session focused on smart economic development achieved through governance, at various levels of government, from Country level to City level and other supporting bodies. Transparency and reliability is paramount to create a smart and open government, which is based on improved governance and revenue generation. Upgraded technology-based government operations using one-point services portal such as M-governance allows public information and government services to be available ‘anytime, anywhere’ under one umbrella application. Speakers included Krishna Mohan, StesalitLtd, Sandhya Godey, Phoenix IT, and Srinivas Bhoosarapu, IT Consultant, IRDAI. The moderator was Kailash Adhikari, Director, Governance Now.
EXPERT PANEL SESSION: DEVELOPING SECURE AND RESILIENT CITIES
At the parallel session chaired by Rajendra Prasad Telugu, Executive Manager, Intergraph, the smart discussion was on making the city resilient to natural disasters and new technologies and techniques for better security management. A case study was also presented. Speakers included Sanjay Kamtam, Founder and CEO, VotaryTech, Ashish Shah, Director, The POC Centre, S Paul Antony, Director, Secuvision Networks, and Vinod Kamath, President - Strategic Solutions Group, Topsgrup. The moderator was Biju Kadapurath, Director, PwC India.