Why large-scale smart city projects are at risk in India

MUMBAI: The lack of a holistic, framework-based approach and a viable revenue model are stalling large-scale smart city projects in India, media research firm Gartner said on Tuesday, predicting that through 2020, less than 10 per cent of smart city projects implemented across the country will be of a large-scale.

“While many Indian cities have announced smart city projects, a structured approach in selecting these projects has thus far been missing from most city councils,” Ganesh Ramamoorthy, Research Vice President at Gartner, said in a statement.

“To succeed, technology product management leaders of smart city products and services must focus on a long-term, consultative approach and innovative revenue models,” Ramamoorthy added.

According to Gartner, engaging early on with the key decision-making officials in city and state departments beyond IT will help product managers of smart city products and solutions to not only gain entry into large-scale physical infrastructure projects but also offer the Internet of Things (IoT) component.

“The good news is that central government has now appointed a CEO for every designated smart city to ensure long-term continuity and a more holistic approach to smart city development,” Ramamoorthy noted.

The city CEO office will need time to establish the necessary protocols, policies, procedures and mechanisms, as well as other modalities for interdepartmental communication, transaction and functioning with respect to smart city projects.

Gartner stated that of the current funding, only about 20 per cent will be used for IT-based smart city product, solution and service implementation, while the remaining 80 per cent will be used for physical infrastructure development.

As a result, city officials will likely look to the service providers to fund initial projects.

“The challenge is the limited budget of the city council, which does not really permit the city to build, operate, maintain and support the entire smart city infrastructure,” Ramamoorthy noted.