[paragraph]The ‘Smart City’ initiative by Indian Government, is widely being looked at one of the most ambitious projects that will help India build more resourceful cities in India, that will create great business opportunities, as well as serve as a hub for massive employment to citizens.
100 smart cities that are currently being evaluated on several factors by experts, the challenges in metro cities like Bangalore & tier – II cities like Nashik are way to different. Smart cities are to be made capable in every way possible, be it infrastructure, technology, energy conservation, waste management & lifestyle, but what drives everything else is Technology in place.
The gap in availability of tech services and its adoption by citizens is huge for different cities, and that is where we think huge emotional and technology empowerment is needed. Following are our two cents on some points we think will pace up the development of smart cities in India.[/paragraph]
17 Points Guide to Smart Cities From Technology Point of View
Our guide to smart cities from a technology perspective focuses on developing a technologically empowered smart citizen, a smart parent, and a smart community member that can help people around them grow in every aspect.
1. It’s Time for Parents to Understand Their Role in Contribution to the ‘Smart’ Initiative.
Parents play a huge role in contributing to this Smart City initiative, and they are in fact the pillars of this development. Gone are the days where Medical, Engineering & Governments services are being pushed by parents as strong career choices. You need to step up now and see hundreds of new opportunities in creative and technology fields.
It is your responsibly to make your children aware of all the new things going on around, research about them, and support your kids in discovering job opportunities they are passionate about.
Your kids can use your computer or smartphone 10 times better than you, but you need to give them the right path, so all their efforts go in the right direction.
If you are already reading this article, you are way ahead of your friends and family in terms of technologies, but your job is to make every parent around you understand the power of the internet, and how it can help them be a ‘Smarter Parent’.
2. Conducting Parents Workshops/Summer Camps to Enlighten Them
Parents in Indian society only have knowledge about their own field and the fields in which their friends and family members are. So it becomes very natural that they incline their children toward these fields only. Therefore, for the children to have knowledge of various fields, it is very important that the parents have that knowledge and understanding of different fields of work.
For example, in our part of the world, very less (nobody) knows what digital marketing, gaming journalism, 3D character animation or technology blogging is, and how much do these people get paid. So they won’t suggest their children to pursue these fields because of their limitation of knowledge.
For this to change, summer camps like events should be conducted for parents, to enlighten them about such very interesting fields and new opportunities their children might have. This should be done on a regular basis and prominent people in those fields, mostly from the same city should be brought to share their experiences of working in their fields with fellow parents.
Technology summer camps are the huge trend in America for a long time, and even though these are for kids, participating with your kids can be a great positive step to empower yourself with opportunities in such new fields. Smart city initiative of India can definitely consider forming such small camps with the help of local talent on a regular basis.
3. Government Should Avail Opportunities to Parents, to Make Their Kids Smarter!
Things like the Internet, which is the biggest source of information, is being made available to the public by various Internet companies but in smaller cities, it is still too costly for a normal family to afford a faster Internet connection. Enlightening parents can cause high adoption of The internet in small cities, which is a major reason such services are very expensive.
The government should normalize the pricing and speeds just like the TRAI does for telecommunication companies. This will ensure, faster access to advanced technologies, and the rate of content consumption will increase. Therefore, efforts must be taken to ensure that more and more people are connected to the Internet which will help the parents to gain new knowledge and pass on the same with their children to be smarter & responsible citizens.
We’ve seen how Jio has solved the internet availability and affordability problems for people who never had internet access before, but its effectiveness can be amplified further the Government dedicates more resources towards this goal.
4. Promote The Unconventional Careers
Indian parents are very concerned about their kids careers, and they suppress the passions and hobbies of their kids in order to reach better marks, score admission to better colleges and land an amazing job.
This unnecessary pressure has been mentally disturbing for kids with average intelligence, which most of us are. Instead of shining at the careers they are naturally skilled at, they are fighting the competition they never even wanted to. Such situations sometimes can make or break your kids emotionally, and sure we have thousands of success stories with this approach, the similar amount has gone into depression and some of them even committed suicides.
This insanely wrong cultural values are pushed generations after generations, and its time to break this evil cycle.
Government and enlightened parents should help people or communities around them, to understand the scope, benefits and commercial opportunities in fields like Sports, media, photography, filmmaking, defense & research.
We have too many engineers & doctors who are fighting for one job opportunity, instead that talent should be well distributed in different fields to build an emotionally strong smart city.
5. Educate Citizens & Promote Internet As Necessity
As I’ve kept mentioning above, The Internet is the biggest source of knowledge and there is nothing which can replace it.
So rather than looking at it as a thing of comfort or Luxury, the internet must be promoted as a necessity. Due to this, more and more families will be connected to it and can use it not only to gain knowledge from others but also to share their own knowledge with the world.
Many parents are also concerned about their kid’s safety and how addictive can a computer be, but the fascination with games, videos don’t last more than a year or two. Just believe that they will naturally start looking for better content that will help them grow as a better and skilled person.
Also, you can take help of numerous parental control tools to limit the usage of your kids and ensure the safety.
6. Promote Success Stories of Tech & Unconventional Careers
Success stories affect people’s decision the most. The older generation has its strong beliefs, and they only turn to the field where someone around them has got tremendous success. So it’s natural for parents to want their kids to walk on the path of these fields with successful people. They won’t allow their kids to take up a path which is still in infancy, and not many people have achieved success in.
So this is more than necessary to share these stories, find people in relatively new industries or careers, and show off their work to inspire parents, so can they can allow their kids take up these unconventional careers.
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates are the big names who have got such huge success which no one ever dreamed of by the use of technology at the time. There are tons of other successful people who have also been extremely successful just by using technology and constantly innovating it.
Technology isn’t just limited to computer desktops, laptops or smartphones; it is much more than that and parents must be made aware of this so their upcoming generations can benefit from it.
These success stories can be told via conducting summer camps or workshops for parents or via the use of technology like a dedicated digital magazine, newspaper & by doing community journalism.
7. Support ISPs To Offer Faster Broadband Plans at Cheap Costs.
Well, this is something for the government to look at. There are still a lot of places in India where there is no internet connection at all. Apart from some prominent cities in the nation, other comparatively smaller cities do have internet connection readily available but its speed is very slow and the rates are quite high.
So normal family won’t look at it as a necessity and for a city to be called as “Smart City”, it is essential that all the people are connected with technology which can be done only via the internet.
Example – ACT Broadband in Hyderabad & Bangalore delivers super speeds at low cost because the adoption rate of the internet is very high.
8. Promote Community Journalism
This is the most important aspect of a “Smart City”. Smart City is basically a city where information is shared at real-time and decisions are taken accordingly based on that information.
There are all kinds of people living n a city who do the very different type of work and are successful in their own way. Many smart engineers, programmers, animators, and game developers are working hard on such interesting projects in their workshop.
The problem is that they don’t know each other and so they can’t share their knowledge. Here comes in community journalism, it is where all the people in a city are connected to each other via a community which is run by a group of people.
The community can appoint some people who are good at writing ( like aspiring bloggers), and let them publish the experience of the people from respective fields on a community newspaper or digitally through community blog. Such articles, video and any other form of content can keep community inspired to do creative things, and solve problems in society.
There can be different communities throughout the city consisting of like-minded people which may belong to the same field. It should be made mandatory for the people of the city to be a member of any of these communities. All these communities must be connected to one single body, which will communicate, monitor activities and help them promote their activities.
Ideally, this main body will consist of people with marketing & management fields. They will take out the best stories and publish them throughout the city in a centralized manner. Due to this very different form of information will be shared which will be nothing but helpful to the people of the city.
In our country, the sense of community is mostly through religion or families, we need to go beyond these to form a self-motivated group of citizens who want to help each other grow in every possible way. And most importantly contribute their innovations for solving problems.
9. Avail Support for Local Communities from Local Bodies
Local communities once formed should be supported by the local municipal corporation. As these communities will have members which belong to the same surrounding, they should be given acknowledgment and constant help should be taken from them in improving the infrastructure on the surrounding. As they are the localities, they will provide the local bodies with essential details and a good partnership will be developed between the citizens and the government.
10. Branding and PR for the Achievements of these Communities.
These communities will need encouragement to keep working for a good future of the city. To keep running effectively, they will need financial and moral support. Therefore, in order to get financial support, branding of the community is necessary. All the achievements of the communities must be highlighted and promoted throughout the city. Therefore, more and more people will get connected and also, a strong community will be built.
This branding and PR can be cross-promoted within communities, but such news should also be spread through mainstream media, to encourage more citizens and volunteers to join in ‘Smart City’ activities.
11. Choose Tech Evangelists or Expert From Respective Communities.
Each of these new communities will have tech-savvy people in them which will be the foundation of them. These tech evangelists/experts should be chosen by the government in helping them to implement any kind of technology effectively throughout the city. This will ensure innovators are driving the community activities instead of political ones as we already have a political body in governments to look after.
A simple example in this respect is the garbage cans which was converted into WiFi hotspots in an attempt to connect the whole city with wireless internet. This was an effective way which apart from providing free internet to the citizens also made them throw garbage into the cans rather on the street. So two goals were achieved simultaneously.
This kind of innovative ideas will only come when communities and government work together, which will be actually successful at the ground level.
12. Bridge for Communication within Local Governments & Tech Evangelists
Local bodies are nothing but government bodies which work at the ground level like the municipal corporation. Whenever they want to do something new which will bring a change to people’s lives in the city, they should take feedback from the people through various communities that are already present which represent a different form of society.
There should be a dedicated team which should communicate with such communities and also takes help of the experts the in respective field in improving the product. Based on the feedbacks government should take appropriate actions and modify their plan in delivering the upcoming technology that will affect the lives of people. This communication if done in the online or open forum, it will bring much-needed transparency to this development.
13. Problem Solving Ideas, Products & Opportunities Should be Produced by Tech Experts –
To help the city be clean, green, and stay high on the tech quotient.
All the tech experts chosen by the government will have to innovate according to the need of a specific city which will differ from place to place. Rather than just implementing the same technology that worked elsewhere, they should innovate based on local problems and resource availability. Being a citizen this should provide a much-needed advantage for product innovation.
So coming up with problem-solving thoughts lay the foundation to build amazing technology products should be core responsibilities of technology evangelists so the city becomes smarter every day.
14. Expert Columns in magazines/newspapers in local & national languages.
As our cities are ever growing, the population is constantly on the rise. Therefore, tech evangelists may find it very difficult to communicate with people from different parts of society.
In order to reach out to every nook and corner of the society, they should run columns in magazines and newspaper in the local languages which will make people aware of all the new things that are being implemented in the city.
These columns can also be used to inform people about future projects and ask for their feedback through various mediums like e-mail, messages etc. In this way, they will be able to connect and communicate with different parts of the society which will help them know the problems those people face and how come up with solutions for them respectively.
16. Develop Tech Culture Across Cities
To bring more business opportunities for small, medium and large size companies from IT, Electronics and Manufacturing Sector.
Technology is at the heart of building a smart city, and innovative ideas are changing the world every year. e.g. – Internet of things is a concept which if implemented properly will bring a huge change to the quality of life we live, just like mobile revolution did a few decades back.
To implement technologies like this, locals play a huge role and thus such kind of projects should be given to small and medium-sized tech companies which in collaboration with big companies, using their ground-level knowledge, implement them effectively.
In doing so, a lot of business will come to the city which will be huge opportunities for small and medium-size companies. Many new companies may emerge which will provide a healthy competition which will only help in improving the city immensely.
17. Avail IT & Industrial Nucleus for Business / Career Opportunities
All small to medium companies and startups in the city must be connected to the central career & business nucleus.
Due to this, companies can interact with each other and bring out the best opportunities for business. Big companies may outsource their business to small and medium-sized companies using this central hub which will, in turn, bring more job opportunities for people in these companies. So we can create more jobs in every sector of the city’s already established small, medium, big scale companies. As the smart city is all about the sharing of information through extensive use of technology, more career opportunities will be developed specifically for graduates from technology, manufacturing & management fields.
From the extensive fields of technology news we consume, and the growth across the world of technology we understand, we have prepared above guide for cities, governments and even for self-motivated citizens like you. We are adding resources, links and even more points to this guide, that is actionable and every level and provides great value for interested individuals.
If you would like to contribute your ideas please write to us [email protected] with your name, and we will feature all the best of them in this guide. Meanwhile, do share your opinions in following comments section, and if you find this article useful please share it across the social media and your best friends.