Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the industry association focused on driving the next generation Wi-Fi experience, in association with FICCI, hosted the WBA Vision Forum 2015 today at FICCI offices, Tansen Marg, New Delhi. WBA introduced its first initiative in India to discuss the transformational role of Wi-Fi in Connected City Deployments by bringing together close to 200 executives and experts from around the world, including Indian network operators, technology providers, senior government officials and regulators.
The ‘100 Smart Cities’ mission was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year to encourage implementation of smart solutions to all the developmental issues and complications for proficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure. Facilitating a profound dialogue and a collective process for the same, WBA founded the Connected City Advisory Board to help deliver the vision of Connected Cities being pursued by a growing number of cities from around the world. It provides an exclusive platform for City Managers and CIOs to knowledge-share and create best practices with their counterparts in other cities and also determine the best way to leverage public-private partnerships.
Delhi is now the first Indian city to join the Advisory Board, has motivated & paved the way for other cities to take a positive step towards facilitating a discussion for the much awaited topic.
Speaking at the occasion, Ashish Khetan, Vice Chairman, Government of Delhi, said, “I would like to congratulate Wireless Broadband Alliance for launching the Connected City Advisory Board initiative which will have leading cities from around the world join together to enable the vision for Connected Cities. This provides a great platform for city managers and CIOs to share knowledge and learn from best practices. I am happy to announce that the Government of Delhi has decided to join the Connected City Advisory Board and will be working in close association with WBA and ecosystem partners to develop Connected City plans and blue prints & create public-private ecosystems for collaboration. We see this association playing a major role helping our vision for city wide Wi-Fi.”
The morning session provided attendees with the current state-of-the-art of Connected Cities, by providing case studies and real life experiences & challenges faced by cities in India, USA, China & other leading city representatives.Talking about India’s hotspot-density as compared to the world, Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, WBA, mentioned that China was way ahead to India. India stands at 1 hotspot per 41.733 people, whereas, China stands at 1 hotspot per 253 people. Also, technology partners presented case studies and experiences from similar deployments around the world, including convergence of licensed and unlicensed wireless and wire-line technologies.
Adding to the discussion, Shrikant Shenwai, CEO, WBA, said, “We are excited that the first ever WBA Vision Forum in India initiated a thought-provoking and candid dialogue on the opportunities and challenges associated with delivering transformational connectivity for the IndianGovernment’s 100 Smart Cities Program. And we are elated to further develop this initiative with the Delhi Government who has decidedbecome the first city to sign up for the Connected City Advisory Board.”
“I would like to congratulate WBA for this promising initiative. WBA Vision Forum has provided a very interactive platform for knowledge sharing amongst key players in the telecom ecosystem. This dialogue will be the beginning of endless possibilities towards the better, connected India.”, said MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Ministry ICT/DoT
The panel discussions focused on the findings of the presentations and engaged presenters and audiences on the next steps to be taken within India and identified major challenges that need to be addressed.
Aruna Sundarraj, Secretary, Govt. of India and Head of USFO Fund & Managing Director of Bharat Government said, “I acknowledge the fact that Wi-Fi will play a transformational role in building the Smart Cities and it will work as a robust platform for a better, connected India. The global population continues to grow at a steady pace& more and more people are moving to cities every single day, accordingly, there is a crying need for the cities to get smarter to handle this large-scale urbanization and finding new ways to manage complexity, increase efficiency, reduce expenses, and improve quality of life.”
“We are glad to have taken the first step towards putting the foundation stone towards a better connected future. All the players in the telecom ecosystem should come together to perpetuate the success of this initiative taken by WBA and ensure the sustained realization of the Smart Cities, connected cities vision.” Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, COAI.
The afternoon roundtable discussion brought together executive level delegates from the government and operators, and continued to discuss the opportunities and challenges of
Connected City deployments, monetization strategies and how private/public partnerships could support the city developments.