Networking major Cisco on Wednesday announced that it has inked a pact with the Electronics City Industrial Association (ELCIA) to develop Asia’s first Internet of Things (IoT) hub here. An area of five square kilometres has been earmarked to develop a ‘living’ IoT lab where the latest sensor-based technology will be deployed to create a smart city environment.

Starting next week, Cisco will begin the task of setting up network infrastructure – ruggedised equipment which will be connected to a data centre in the back-end. The company hopes to finish the task by October, which will be followed by four weeks of software testing. By December end, Cisco hopes to have the ‘smart city’ patch up and running. Apart from building a live lab here, the idea is to attract companies to become part of the ecosystem. The smart city concept has been on the newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda, with the BJP manifesto promising to build 100 smart cities in the country. Last week, top officials of Cisco reportedly met Union government officials to evince interest in the same.

Anil Menon, president, Smart+Connected Communities and Deputy Chief Globalisation Officer, CISCO, said that they were in talks with several State governments on this and that the company does not intend to restrict itself to Electronics City.

The idea here is to create a replicable model like we have done in Barcelona, Nice, Songdo and Hamburg, Mr. Menon said. “Our channel partners will be able to get bootstrap funding for their ventures under Cisco’s IoT Innovation Fund, provided there is a strong idea for new IoT product/application development with a commercially viable business case, as well as a chance to participate in the global Cisco IoT Challenge,” he added.

What it entails

Cisco said it will invite electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) startups and companies to build solutions on the IoT platform. What really do these IoT-enabled smart cities entail? Cisco’s roadmap for now includes City Infrastructure Management (CIM) solutions including smart surveillance, smart street lighting, smart safety/security, smart traffic management and smart parking. The backbone of this project will be Cisco’s Smart+Connected City Wifi solution.

Aruna Newton, president of ELCIA said, “This provides an opportunity for ELCIA along with ESDM and other Electronics City companies to innovate and develop products and software applications that could be deployed in real world Smart City projects across India and emerging countries”.

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