Smart maps for smart cities

Study says their use will help save $8 billion

April 24, 2015 01:55 am | Updated 01:55 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The use of smart maps in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious smart cities project will lead to $8 billion in savings and value in a year, according to a study by Dalberg Global Development Advisors, a strategy and policy consulting firm. This also needs a strong policy and regulatory framework, it said.

The firm’s report, “Smart maps for smart cities: India’s $8 Billion+ opportunity”, said India was expected to see the greatest migration to cities of any country in the world in the next three decades, with over 400 million new inhabitants moving into urban areas. “The expansion of India’s urban population will also have to be met with an expansion of infrastructure that is 20 times the capacity that has been added to India’s cities over the last decade,” it added. The report points out nine high potential uses of smart maps including traffic and commuting, local retail, tourism, women’s safety, city planning, civic engagement, emergency services, logistics and delivery and disaster response.

Pritha Venkatachalam, principal at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, pointed out the benefits in terms of emergency services and local retail.

“Surveys show that emergency vehicles in India spend about 25 per cent of their response time or one fourth of their time to reach their patient or beneficiary. And that time is spent in looking at the exact location from where the call originated. A use of smart maps can reduce that time to 2-3 minutes, which is our conservative estimate and save 13,000 lives,” she added.

The report also pointed out that local retailers could increase revenue by $2 billion. “There are 116 million smartphone users and 78 per cent of smartphone users use maps to search for local business or services at least once a week. In the U.S., 73 per cent of such searches result in purchases, while in India it is only 20 per cent,” Ms. Venkatachalam said. “This is because 80 per cent of kirana shops are not listed,” she added.

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