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Smart cities opportunity in India worth $4 bn: Quantela chief Sridhar Gadhi

Quantela has a five-year agreement with Fira de Barcelona to hold the Smart City Expo in India. After Jaipur, several Indian cities have expressed interest to host the event next year

Vandana Ramnani @vandanaramnani1

Quantela, a company that provides artificial intelligence-based smart city solutions, recently organised the Smart City Expo in Jaipur, a regional offshoot of the FIRA Barcelona Smart Cities World Congress.

In a chat with Vandana Ramnani at the Jaipur Expo, Sridhar Gadhi, Founder and CEO of the US-based digital technology solutions company, told Moneycontrol that Quantela has a five-year agreement with Fira de Barcelona to hold the regional event in India and the business opportunity offered by smart cities in India was worth around $4 billion.

Q: Quantela recently organised the Smart City Expo in Jaipur, a regional offshoot of the FIRA Barcelona Smart Cities World Congress, being held since 2011. Can you tell us the reasons why the need to hold such an event was felt?

A: India is one of those countries that have a unique distinction of being one of the earliest adopters of the Smart Cities initiative. The country has been one of the forerunners in championing the smart infrastructure and has made the smart city a mainstream mission by creating many schemes and heavily investing in those. It continues to invest and expand its horizon in the space of smart cities through various urban transformation missions like 100 Smart Cities, 500 AMRUT Cities, Digital India, Startup India to name a few.

There are many stakeholders like cities, system integrator, OEMs, solution providers involved in the implementation of smart cities. And there is no single platform currently in India that can bring all of these and also the ones from outside India at one single place. We understand this gap very well as we have been in this industry for more than three years. And that is why we thought of creating a massive international platform in India to attract governments, industry experts, policy makers, companies, innovators, influencers, entrepreneurs, research centers etc. not only from India but from across the globe to share their solutions, product innovations and best management practices with industry peers.  Not just that, India as a country has the necessary infrastructure and also the global recall and recognition to host such an important global event of this scale.

Q: Did FIRA approach the Rajasthan government or did the latter approach FIRA to hold such an event?

A: It was Quantela that approached FIRA during the Smart City Expo World Congress held in Barcelona in 2017. We have an exclusive agreement with them for the next five years to organise this event in India. And then we went ahead and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jaipur Development Authority for partnering with us in organising an event of this scale.

Q: How big is the business opportunity offered by smart cities in the country?

A: As per estimates by Market and Market, the total global market for smart cities is expected to touch $1,206 billion by 2022 and Quantela’s addressable market is $40 billion by 2022. The Indian smart cities market throws up an opportunity worth $4 billion.

Under the 100 Smart Cities Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015, a total of Rs 98,000 crore ($14 billion) has been approved by the Indian Cabinet for the development of 100 smart cities and the rejuvenation of 500 others.

Q: What were the challenges you faced while organising an event of this magnitude?

A: The biggest challenge for us was to disseminate the information about the event to the right channels, partners and the stakeholders. There were also learnings for us from the expo – from inception until the last day. The most important one is getting the right partners and stakeholders in the smart cities space on board.

Q: In which Indian state would the next Smart City Expo be held? I am told Hyderabad has expressed interest, is it true?

A: Though there are many cities that have expressed their interest in hosting the Smart City Expo next year, no decision has yet been taken on that. We will be holding meetings with all stakeholders.

Q: The Smart City Expo for the first time introduced the Proof of Concept (POC) where companies give live demonstrations of their products at an exhibition. At the Expo, 31 successful POCs were reportedly executed. Can you tell us more about the concept, the top three products that were showcased and their potential?

A: Companies active in the Smart City ecosystem with a special focus on startups were invited to present their solutions at the POC zone. Each of them was given a 15-minute window where they demonstrated live POC (Proof-of-Concept), including a presentation and took questions from members.

The event saw some exciting solutions being showcased, including augmented reality\virtual reality, drone-based solutions, face recognition, smart waste management, smart parking, video analytics, capturing smart traffic violations and happy smart cities.

Q: What is the Smart City in a Box concept? Which Indian cities have implemented it so far?

A: Smart City in a Box, launched at the Smart City Expo held in Jaipur, is an innovative approach to implement smart cities initiatives. Traditionally implementing smart cities has been complex, inefficient and a time-consuming process due to complexities involved in integrating several urban solutions. Smart City in a Box is a pre-integrated solution aimed at making smart city implementation simple, efficient and cost-effective.

The intelligence behind Smart City in a Box is powered by our artificial intelligence engine - Atlantis Platform that uses predictive and prescriptive analytics to provide key recommendations and insights to city administrators. It enables city administrators to proactively monitor city services, improve the efficiency of the urban infrastructure and also increase monetisation opportunities through city services.

Quantela is leveraging Cisco Kinetic for Cities (CKC), which is a platform available for on-premise deployment or cloud deployment to run its Smart City in a Box solution. Smart City in a Box offers several urban services solutions like smart lighting, smart parking, environment, safety, security and transport solutions through a single platform. This easy to deploy solution helps reduce the time taken to implement and the project costs involved.

Apart from smart cities, Smart City in a Box caters to smart communities and smart campuses.

We want to target Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities for the Smart City in a Box initiative. These include 115 aspiring districts and the new set of cities (expected to be around 500) that may be declared in the next round.
First Published on Oct 9, 2018 03:12 pm
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