Smart cities in India are eventually coming into existence. To expedite the process, the Government of India had in 2016 announced the ‘100 Smart Cities Mission’ to make several cities in the country more sustainable, safe and citizen friendly. Despite the challenges the initiative might have faced, smart cities in India are much needed for they would make the residents’ life a lot more tech savvy with technologies like IoT and 24X7 surveillance. In an interview with DataQuest, Rajeev Samanta, Regional Director, Sales – South Asia, Tyco Security Solutions, talks about the reality of smart cities in India, the challenges faced, the impact of smart cities on consumers, and more.
Current reality of smart cities in India
The smart cities mission in India was introduced at a time when it was much needed and therefore, it caught speed very quickly. Since the launch of the mission, 5,151 projects identified by the cities worth more than Rs 2 lakh crore are in various stages of implementation in 100 cities and 534 projects worth Rs 10,116 crore have been completed, according to a Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation statement. 536 Kms of metro rail lines are now operational in 10 cities across India. There has been very good progress in this field and the projects seem to be heading in the right directions as intended. There have been some challenges in meeting all timelines considering we have a large existing infrastructure that gets overlapped with newer efforts and leads to human interruption, however, these challenges are routine in such projects and can be overcome in the longer run.
Smart cities, IoT and cyber attacks
The future of technology is almost impossible to predict in entirety. Yes there are blueprints and roadmaps of what is there in store for future to see; however, the relevance of the same continues to remain dynamic. Our organizations will increasingly become proactive instead of reactive when assessing risks. Companies need to constantly assess their security systems to find out possibilities for breaches. Many companies hire expert hackers in order to poke holes in their own systems to find out weak breach areas. Insurers now offer plans that cover not only the cost of the data breach but also the costs of reputation management in the aftermath of the breach. Most companies now have crisis management plans that facilitate a reactive approach to security breaches. One of the ways to deal with the emerging security threat is to create a strong response system. The last few years have seen an increased focus on setting up of cybercrime cells and cyber forensic labs.
Impact of smart cities on consumers
The solutions that are deployed in a smart city equip the city to better serve its citizens. Hence, a smart city is nothing if consumer impact can’t be measured. The entire concept of smart cities revolves around enhancing citizen standard of living. The creation of smart cities will also create a demand for people in sectors such as ICT, Data Analytics and E-governance. Smart technology will also impact other areas of a consumer’s life. For example, a product such as smart street lights can greatly enhance safety for people across a city. The installation of smart video cameras in crime-prone areas may lead to an assessment and reduction of crime rates in these neighborhoods.
How technological advancement affects the security and surveillance space
The security industry is in the midst of a paradigm shift where technology is playing a key role in industry development. Just like any other activity, there are pros and cons to technological advancement. While technological advancement expands the surface area for cyber attacks, it also equips us with ways to take proactive and reactive measures in case a tragedy happens. User experience has become a top priority for the development of security solutions. For example, many organizations are adopting an access control technology wherein mobile phones, instead of access cards, can now be used for access. Hence, the two major things that are being kept in mind are first, user experience should be enhanced and second, every product should strive to improve the current security scenario in the country. The advancement in technology is aiding this through the removal of bottlenecks that were present earlier but can now be eliminated easily.