IBM partners to build India’s smart city benchmark

Fri, 2014-06-20 06:00 -- Kevin Ebi

SCC Global Partner IBM is partnering with the Indian city of Palava to help it become a showcase of that country’s smart cities vision.

India announced ambitious plans to have 100 new smart cities in the coming years, and IBM says Palava will serve as a benchmark for others. Palava will span more than 4,000 acres and will become the largest private, completely planned development in urban India. IBM and developer Lodha Group plan to make the city one of the top 50 places to live in the world by 2020.

"Palava was born out of a vision to create a city of opportunity, one that would not just offer an unparalleled quality of life to its citizens but also become an ecosystem – nurturing business, creating jobs and delivering growth,” Shaishav Dharia, Development Director, Palava, Lodha Group, said in a statement. “To achieve this, we are planning decades ahead, and embedding smart elements in the city's design and infrastructure.”

IBM will build a technology foundation that lets all city departments work together and share information with citizens. The goals are to make citizens more involved with the government and for the government to use technology to more efficiently meet their needs.

The goals are challenging, yet critical, given forecasts that India’s population will nearly double in 20 years and the number of cars on the roads will quadruple in 10 years. The need to be smart about managing resources to handle that tremendous growth is at the heart of the “100 smart cities” pledge.

The technology foundation will touch several areas:

  • Public safety. A central hub will provide real-time incident monitoring, enabling city agencies to coordinate their response.
  • Intelligent operations. Different city services -- energy, water, transportation, public safety and smart cards -- will all be linked with a central command and control center.
  • Participative governance. Citizens can access services and provide feedback easily via mobile devices and social media.

Only about one-third of India’s residents live in urban areas now. That figure is expected to grow to one-half by 2050, which is why the country is making urban redevelopment a priority.