EVP & Head-Smart World & Communication
Government of India’s Smart City Mission has been steadily gathering steam as more and more cities are brought within the ‘smart’ fold. Yet, the concept of ‘Smart Cities’is yet not correctly or entirely understood as the connotation varies from state to state,city to city; suffice it to say that a Smart City is determined by the existing infrastructure, the available resources and, most importantly, the readiness to change.
The vista of opportunity that the Smart City Mission has opened up is huge. The Smart World Communication (SWC) business unit, that resides within the fold of L&T Construction, the construction arm of the US $ 17 billion conglomerate, Larsen & Toubro, was formed with this very purpose that offers solutions in the areas of Smart Security, Smart Communication and Smart Infrastructure as a Master Systems Integrator.
Rich bouquet of solutions:
L&T’s SWC offers a wide pallet of relevant smart solutions.
Security Solutions: With safety & security an imperative for modern life, on offer is a whole spectrum of sustainable & scalable systems in security solutions for city surveillance, intelligent traffic management for critical infrastructure across ports, airports, metros, IT parks & public buildings and homeland security.
Communication Network & Telecom Infrastructure: For a more secure and smarter world, a robust communication backbone on which smart elements reside and telecom infrastructure is an imperative. SWC has the capability to provide end-to-end solutions for a range of requirements covering - Fiber Optic network; Microwave & Satellite Communication; Network Infrastructure; Early Warning Dissemination Systems; Emergency Response Systems and Metro Communication.
Smart Infrastructure: Multi-pronged smart solutions are available on a turnkey basis that are postmodern & reliable for a whole spectrum of smart infrastructure which covers smart city solutions, integrated Command & Control; smart communication; smart mobility; smart energy; smart lighting and citizen Apps to mention a few.
L&T has the proven capability and talent to convert India into a new age, modern, smart and ‘connected’ country
“L&T helps in empowering some of India’s smart cities, enabling them to roll out specific need based initiatives, adding elements one-by-one to a central command and control center -integrating utilities like water, electricity, surveillance, mobility and environment,” says, R. Srinivasan, EVP & Head, L&T Smart World & Communication and true to his words, SWC is already engineering smart solutions for Jaipur, Pune, Nagpur, Vizag and Raipur. Conceptually a smart city is one which uses smart elements for collating live data from utilities and interprets these inputs to create use cases, facilitating better decision making and improvement in quality of life, by addressing the respective city’s pain points.
The city of Jaipur was its first 'Smart City’ project where historic locations were chosen and smart elements installed to enable the authorities and engineers to utilize the data generated for better decision making. A simple parking solution brought down the waiting time in parking areas by half there by saving time and fuel, and decreasing pollution. Wi-Fi hotspots, interactive information kiosks, surveillance cameras, environmental sensors, parking information and remote kiosks along with facility management services at selected locations were other smart solutions provided. Tourists and citizens can now enjoy free WiFi at all heritage locations reducing the digital divide, opening up information channels for more citizen engagement while at the same time enables a citizen centric, interactive model of governance.
Services such as travel ticket booking, phone recharge, etc. can now be availed at interactive kiosks installed at the
tourist locations that also inform the visitor about the significance of each heritage location. The Remote Expert Governance Service(REGS) Kiosks solution provides real-time access to government services for citizens.
“The challenge in building smart cities is that each city is unique and so are its requirements that call for different sets of solutions and innovative ideas,”shares Srinivasan and cites the 6 Km Smart Strip being developed in Nagpur as a case in point. This strip will incorporate several smart city solutions like smart lighting, parking, bin management; environmental sensors and Wi-Fi connectivity which can be extended to the rest of the city by the hub-and-spoke model. Nagpur City has a dedicated fiber backbone across 1200 kms supporting its systems.
Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS) offers traffic signal optimizing functionalities, using data from vehicle detectors to optimize traffic signal settings to in turn reduce vehicle delays and stops. Variable Message Systems (VaMS) informs and guides the public on the road about traffic, diversions and the like. “Our solutions are effective and going a long way in enhancing the quality of life of citizens,” says Srinivasan,“and therefore some of these solutions were recognized and won us Business India’s ‘Smart Solution of the Year’ award.”
Early Warning Dissemination Systems (EWDS) are being implemented in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha that are prone to frequent storms and cyclones enabling authorities to evacuate citizens to shelters through alert sirens, mass messaging, location based sensing to reach the fishermen in high seas for rescue operations.
Towards a Smart and Digital India
Another major initiative embarked on by the GoI is Digital India aiming to create a ‘connected’ India. With experience and expertise garnered over the past almost 8 decades across almost every sector of relevance, L&T has the proven capability and talent to convert India into a new age, modern, smart and ‘connected’ country.
The capability is readily available; all that the country requires is the collective will to change, readiness and preparedness. Perhaps, that is why Srinivasan and all like him at L&T are confident of a bright and positive future!