Smart Cities – A Success Story

The Smart Cities Mission aimed to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environments, and a decent quality of life.

VoicenData Bureau
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Smart Cities A Success Story

Some amazing innovations have come through the smart city projects in India


By S. Krishna

The Smart Cities Mission aimed to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environments, and a decent quality of life to citizens through ‘smart solutions’.

Towards this, a holistic strategy based on a platform-based approach is slowly developing. The book “Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You” describes this effect:


“A platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform provides an open, participative infrastructure for these interactions and sets governance conditions for them...enabling value creation for all participants.

A great example is an infrastructure created by Tejas networks for the Electronic City Industrial Township Authority (ELCITA) in Bangalore. They needed reliable bandwidth connectivity to run various smart city services. Tejas deployed its gigabit ethernet passive optical network (GPON) Terminals and Ethernet switches across more than 100 poles. They were for backhauling video, providing Wi-Fi, traffic surveillance, Public announcement systems, Smart lighting, smart waste management, and integrating IOT devices into a network operating center or NOC. The same infrastructure will be extended later to provide other smart city services with no change in the network. It is a connectivity platform of multi-dimensions.

Ashish Wattal

“Our Smart City solutions are used to provide a unified management experience for city infrastructure, simplifying control room operations and integration.”

Ashish Wattal, Managing Director, Public Sector and Commercial segments, Cisco India & SAARC.

Digital Transformation (DT) of Indian Cities

Digital transformation of the selected Smart Cities has started in earnest and goes beyond connectivity.


DT requires the use of data to create actionable intelligence. Cities need to reach and engage residents, and make them more informed, more connected to the community they live in. City administrators are faced with the challenge of managing their services better. Data must be freely moved or shared whenever, wherever, and in whatever format it is needed.

The Open Data Initiative was an outcome of this requirement. The Indian Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) was born out of the need to enable data exchange between various city departments, government agencies, citizens, and the private sector. IUDX helps cities to use data intelligently to address complex urban challenges. IUDX is completely open-source, based on an underlying framework of open standard APIs, data models, and the security, privacy, and accounting mechanisms that will facilitate its easy adoption across the digital ecosystem.

The multiplication of IoT (Internet of Things) introduces complexities in data management, analysis, and governance:

  • Massive volumes and intermittent data streams from a variety of legacy and new devices
  • Data from varied sources – sensors, connected mobiles and vehicles and electricity grids, and traffic lights
  • The formats and schemas are all different

IUDX is helping break the data silos to enable sharing of public and privately-owned data. And also for creating compelling use cases to address major civic issues.

Then there is also the unified monitoring and management of data. Smart Cities have given an impetus to the Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) in each city. ICCCs, is designed to enable seamless monitoring in real-time. Initially, it was aimed at monitoring water and power supplies, sanitation, traffic movement, integrated building management, and Internet infrastructure. They have evolved into the monitoring of various other parameters like CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).


The Pandemic gave the ICCC a completely new life. For example, Cisco, the networking giant, collaborated with the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA). “Our Smart City solutions are used to provide a unified management experience for city infrastructure, simplifying control room operations and integration,” says Ashish Wattal, Director, Public Sector, Sales – Cisco India. “We have partnered with the GMDA to support the city’s futuristic ICCC, which is designed to enhance citizen safety, optimize public infrastructure, and manage traffic.”

The platform allows city administrators to collect and integrate data from multiple sensors and sources, enabling them to use data analytics to optimize city operations, improve governance, and accelerate decision-making.

Within the ICCC, GMDA is using its solution to align parking, lighting, waste management, surveillance, e-governance, and city planning systems.



The Bhopal Smart City Development Corporation Limited partnered with Bharti-Infratel, Ericsson, and HPL for its efforts to create Smart, Connected, and eco-friendly Communities. One of the highlights of this project is the deployment of smart poles and street lighting as a multi-application platform.

The ubiquitous street pole for lighting, which is usually ignored for its ugly designs has been redesigned as a multi-application smart pole with the capability to accommodate multi-operator telecom base stations to enhance mobile coverage.

It also has inbuilt surveillance cameras, Wi-Fi hotspots, interactive digital signage for traffic and business, environment sensors & Cloud controlled EV charging. All of these poles are connected via a citywide optical fiber network to a state-of-the-art control and command center. And, it works as a streetlight too.

Sounds amazing? It doesn’t stop here. They also have an app “Bhopal Plus” for providing citizen services. The Common platform on this application enables a dynamic marketplace for the citizens of Bhopal to avail various kinds of domestic and household services with quality and efficiency. A smart parking initiative allows citizens to pre-book a parking slot, making it easier to locate it and pay for it via different modes. All buses are equipped with a GPS-based Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS) and connected to a Central Control and Command Center. All these initiatives make Bhopal a truly shining example of the smart city movement in India.


In Gujarat, GIFT City became India’s first greenfield smart City to achieve the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) Green Cities Platinum rating. The futuristic infrastructure development at GIFT City has won several awards and accolades at various forums. The infrastructure developed in GIFT City, such as District Cooling System (DCS), Automated Waste Collection System (AWCS), and Underground Utility Tunnel, contributes to making the city ready for a sustainable way of living. GIFT city has embraced water management through a 35% reduction in potable water and treatment & reuse of 100% wastewater. GIFT City has also installed an automated waste collection and segregation plant.

We have partnered with the GMDA to support the city’s futuristic ICCC, which is designed to enhance citizen safety, optimize public infrastructure, and manage traffic.


Chandigarh has several initiatives to promote sustainable development as part of the smart city project. One of them is the Tertiary Treated (TT) Water SCADA project that is being implemented to monitor the quantity and quality of Recycled Water to save the precious water resources being used for irrigation purposes in the city.

Presently, the TT Water is being supplied to all the sectors without any automatic monitoring resulting in a non-equitable distribution of TT Water. The SCADA system enables monitoring of residual minerals and pH levels and Residual Chlorine as well as Flow measurement, Pressure measurement, etc. by installing various IOT sensors and analyzing equipment.

New Delhi

The New Delhi Municipal Council is working towards launching a unique addressing solution for urban properties by allotting a unique digital door number to each property under their jurisdiction. The idea is to integrate and expedite the provision of municipal services and enable a more efficient gathering of data on these properties.

Each property will be given an alpha-numeric code that will contain information on the main road, sub-road, landmark, building, and floor of the address, and will be affixed with a radio frequency identification and QR-based plate.

In renewable energy, NDMC has developed Solar Integrated Lighting Poles, Solar Bus Queue Shelters, and Solar Trees to enable clean production of energy using the urban infrastructure. Smart nurseries aim to improve the availability of high-quality seedlings and plants by controlling weather conditions.

Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure solution (AMI) that measures and records consumers’ electricity usage at different times of the day and send this information to the energy supplier through over-the-air communication technology. This gives consumers better access to information and enables them to make more informed decisions on the use of electricity in their homes, leading to reduced power wastage, and providing long-term carbon and financial savings. NDMC has completed the project of replacing 50,000 conventional electricity meters with smart meters and become the first distribution company in India to implement a 100 percent smart metering solution.

In the field of smart healthcare, NDMC has deployed e-Hospital, a hospital management system. It is a workflow-based ICT solution for Hospitals specifically in Government Sector. This software covers major functional areas like patient care, laboratory services, workflow-based document information exchange, human resources, and medical records management of a Hospital. It is deployed in cloud infrastructure to manage multiple hospitals seamlessly.

New Delhi leveraged high-end Cisco networking technology to set up an Urban Observatory with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA). The observatory uses data analytics to optimize city operations and improve governance.

Cisco deployed its WebEx and Centralized Urban Observatory Software Platform with Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. This proved to be extremely useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICCC (War room) in New Delhi was a first-of-its-kind that used data analytics and collaboration tools to monitor, measure, and analyze COVID-19 data for preventive/corrective containment actions.

It served as a central management node connecting various government ministries, emergency responders, hospitals, quarantine centers, etc. for on-ground actions. In addition, it integrated with smart-city infrastructure across the country to collect and analyze data.

The digital dashboard was replicated in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Telangana, and 20 other cities of India (for lockdown protocols, density monitoring, agency coordination, etc.).


In Bengaluru, the Electronics City Industrial Township Authority (ELCITA) partnered with technology partner IISc, platform partner Wipro, network partner Tejas Networks, Velankani, Bosch, Siemens, Vedionetics, Mindtree, among other companies to provide an “affordable” smart city that is relevant to citizens. The Smart City initiative comprises of e-Governance, Smart lighting, Smart water/waste, management, Smart Parking, Smart surveillance, Traffic management, Waste management, Complaints management through citizen App, Town planning, among others.

It is built on a combination of IoT devices with Apps from vendors and locally developed Apps for specific data. One example of the service being provided to citizens is “Dynamic Syncronized Signals” which utilises Google Maps technology to measure traffic volume and speed and regulates the timing of traffic lights. This helps commuters reach their destinations in time and with fewer traffic hiccups.


The Delhi to Meerut regional rapid transit system (RRTS) is the first in a phased development of a high-speed rail network. Aims to enable sustainable economic and social development through enhanced connectivity in Delhi and the surrounding districts. The fully redundant private network, based on the Nokia Modular Private Wireless solution (MPW) including its latest Radios, Evolved Packet Core, IP/MPLS backhaul routers, Group Communication platform for mission-critical push to talk/video (MCx/GC), and Network Services Platform (NSP) management, will span the 82 km rail route which incorporates 25 stations.

The private network is being deployed for the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 & 3 signaling as well as automated operation (ATO), which enables trains to use radio signals to continuously receive their movement authorities and to report their exact direction and position. The introduction of LTE/4.9G technology for ETCS is an important asset for railway operators and will pave the way for a smooth transition to FRMCS (Future Railway Communication System). Expected to be fully operational in 2025, the low-emission RRTS will transport more people at average speeds of 100 kmph to reduce travel time and road congestion.

These are some truly great examples of the amazing innovations happening on account of the smart city projects in India.

One example of the service being provided to citizens is “Dynamic Syncronized Signals” which utilises Google Maps technology to measure traffic volume and speed and regulates the timing of traffic lights. This helps commuters reach their destinations in time and with fewer traffic hiccups.


Street lights play a very important role in improving security. To understand the street light coverage in the city an analysis was carried out by Kohima Smart City.


Out of 19 wards that exist in the city, some have more street lights as compared to other wards. And the average number of poles in each ward in the city is 44, with only 5 wards having more than the average number of poles.


Kohima is implementing an Intelligent Motion Sensor Street Lighting Control System that automatically activates when a car or a pedestrian is noticed in the area is being deployed. The solution is cost-effective because if there is no activity in the area, the light is automatically adjusted to an optimized minimum illumination level. A backbone consisting of Smart Sensors Wireless Network (SSWN) and Central Street Light Management Network monitors and provides uptime even in the remotest areas in Kohima. This is helping improve Street Light coverage with lower operating costs.

Smart Data Case Study – Fitness — Pimpri Chinchwad

The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has built over 85 gyms that provide gym services such as strength and conditioning, weightlifting, cardio, Zumba, combat centers, and similar other services.

The vision of PCMC gyms is to provide the people of its area with easy and affordable access to fitness centers.

Through its Public Gym Services, PCMC wanted to be the first urban local body to have set up easily accessible gym facilities, at such a large scale, for its residents at highly concessional rates.

One of the oldest PCMC gyms runnings is 39 years old and was started in the year 1983. The PCMC gyms are partly managed by the PCMC staff and partly managed by private parties. There is a cap on the maximum chargeable membership fees for the gym operators.

PCMC wanted to understand how beneficial the gyms have been for its people and what are the areas of improvement to make it a successful first-of-its-kind public gym model. However, the challenge was that there was no real-time data.

To understand its impact the PCMC decided to assess the current state of the gyms in the PCMC area and prepare an analysis report along with a recommendation report for determining the action plan.

PCMC Gym analysis study

The study was launched in the month of September 2021 and followed the following procedure:

Entries from 75 gyms were received and analysis was conducted. The data collection process involved a lot of parameters, out of which Facility Area (sq ft) was shortlisted as the key indicator which can be used as a center point to classify Gyms into 3 categories.


Categorising the gyms helped in understanding the ideal requirements of a gym, the popularity of each type of gym, and the preference of the customers, whether the ‘Small’ gym had more footfalls or ‘Large’ gyms had more customers.

Going forward, the PCMC can utilize the data points to construct a successful business model for its gyms by addressing the gaps. Medium and Large gyms are the better segments to invest time and resources, and where possible Small Gyms can be converted into one Medium or Large gym to increase the utilization rates of their facilities.

Krishna is a Tech enthusiast (Engineering from India & UK, Over 18 years of telecom industry experience, ex-Reliance, and a writer of many Technology Capsules for the industry)