Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

India smart city initiative could create $40bn business opportunities

Steve Rogerson
May 19, 2015
India’s initiative to create 100 smart cities could provide business opportunities of the order of US$30bn to $40bn in the next ten years, according to industry body the National Association of Software & Services Companies (Nasscom). The body is launching a report – Integrated ICT and Geospatial Technologies Framework for 100 Smart Cities Mission – this week at the Smart City Expo in Delhi.
Over a 24 week effort, Nasscom in partnership with several industry members and partners has built a framework to highlight the role of ICT in developing smart cities, and categorise ways and means to make relevant ICT interventions that will enable management of future smart cities in a sustainable and transparent manner. This effort was mounted by Nasscom in response to the suggestion by the Ministry of Urban Development.
India is expected to witness a threefold increase in its urban population by 2031. This rapid urbanisation is putting an additional pressure on Indian cities in terms of delivering basic city services and infrastructure to citizens and businesses. Therefore, there is a growing need to embrace innovative approaches to new city development and city management.
A smart city will effectively deliver public services to citizens and businesses with a balanced focus in terms of modernising city infrastructure and leveraging technology to improve efficiency and capacity of city services. Therefore, it is important for all the stakeholders to think of an integrated framework and come together to build a smart and sustainable future for India.
The ICT framework suggested by Nasscom will address the challenges faced by Indian cities and provide an integrated perspective across the key pillars of physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, environmental and institutional (governance). The framework further defines and assesses the core of each subsystem of a potential smart city, identifies ICT governance interventions, organisational requirements and capability development needs at city levels.
“The smart cities initiative is a much needed step as it aims to broad base urban infrastructure in the country,” said R Chandrashekhar, president of Nasscom. “It is imperative that the ICT application framework is integrated across the key infrastructure and environmental pillars, especially when procured as a component of individual infrastructure pillars. The report aims to demystify the role of ICT and enable state governments and urban local bodies to integrate ICT into their future city master plans.”
He said this also represented an opportunity for the industry to partner with the government, as the total ICT spending for smart cities can account for 10 to 15 per cent of the overall budget.
“This would translate into as much as $30bn to $40bn over the next ten years,” he said. “We also thank the ministry of urban development for reaching out to Nasscom to devise appropriate strategies to leverage the capabilities of ICT in the overall development of India. It is also very important that this programme has synergies with vital national plans for urban areas like Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (Amrut), Heritage City Development & Augmentation Yojana (HRIDay) and Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Accordingly, this report also showcases how these initiatives are aligned with the smart cities planning and roll-out.”
He said that efficient use of technology could help in the improvement of city subsystems to improve quality of life of citizens, and help improve urban management using mobile and internet channels. Developing smart cities requires investment and therefore will need different financing institutions and models involving both public and private stakeholders.