‘Smart city has nothing to do with technology’

Anil Menon  

Smart cities have nothing to do with digitisation, technology, cameras, or sensors. Planning a smart city would involve an understanding of the soul of the city and managing it for the future of citizens, according to Anil Menon, Global President – Smart + Connected Communities, CISCO Systems.

The expert, who was recently in the city to participate in a discussion on smart cities under the auspices of Alliance Francaise, emphasised that it should first start with smart planning, seeking solutions, and having regulations. “One should ask if there is anything that technology can do to enhance what we are trying to do. If we consider technology first, then we will come up with something fancy but not useful for citizens and society,” he said.

Stating that India faced a different problem when it comes to smart cities, he said that challenge faced was a wicked problem. “There is no simple solution for wicked problems. At least, 60 per cent of the world’s defecators are in India. “There are several issues in healthcare and education crisis. In the 21st century, we are trying solving the 18th century problems that many other countries have solved,” he said. India should not only look at solving the problems of Puducherry or Bengaluru but instead create the next Wipro or Infosys. At the same time, smart cities were too important to be left to the technology companies. he said. Forecasting the urban services industry as the future, Mr. Menon said: “We are talking about smart cities when the citizens are facing basic problems. There are no simple solutions available to develop smart cities in India. One has to address the basic problems and work towards synergising digital infrastructure with physical infrastructure to develop a smart city.