Shafik Jiwani: Geography is central to most smart cities solutions

Shafik Jiwani: Geography is central to most smart cities solutions

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Greater Noida: At the session on Geosmart Infrastructure & Smart Cities at GeoSmart India 2016, Shafik Jiwani, who is the global head of smart cities and GIS for Rolta International pointed out that the governments, the private sector, and the academia; all have a different definition of smart city. He pointed out that the Indian government accepts that there is no one way to define a smart city. And that’s not a bad thing, because each city has different needs. Therefore, the government has settled on a general mission to improve the citizens’ quality of life through smart solutions.

Jiwani detailed how Rolta helped Dubai in its mGovernment initiative, which is dedicated to making the citizens happy. The company also implemented Enterprise GIS, which allowed them to view spatial data and link it to various government systems.

Talking about the aim of the Indian government to build real benefits for the average citizen, Jiwani said, “This needs to evolve in the form of services that improve the Quality of Life (QoL). In many respects, measuring QoL is a measure of the ease with which services are provided to citizens, and the citizens, response to it (i.e. their relationship with city government).”

So, what specifically drives the demand to develop smart solutions in India? “At first, the challenge of building a smart city may seem unsurmountable. But, as they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in one day’. If you start with the right core technologies, new services can be built one at a time. Externally, it is all about engaging the citizens through services and providing transparency. Internally, it is about building efficiency, breaking the silos and improving the services,” he said.

Jiwani pointed out that geography is central to most smart cities solutions. Since most of the city services have a geographic component, they are inherently defined by ‘Where’ things are, whether it is a pipe, a property or a permit. He said, “

Pointing to the localization of services, Jiwani detailed that Rolta’s solutions can also be implemented in regional languages like Gujarati, Hindi and Marathi. He said, “People who are providing the solutions have to sensitive to not just the language, but also to the culture of the place. That’s why the planning process is also very important. India has done the right thing why first spending the time to plan, but they should get technology guys also involved right from ground zero.”

Source: Our correspondent