Smart Cities


The city of Jaipur will soon boast of its own, state set-up, innovation lab. Set up by the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA), the innovation lab will focus on smart city solutions in collaboration with tech players and startups and will be operational before the new year sets in, Shikhar Agrawal, Joint Development Commissioner of JDA told us.

The space and technology infrastructure for the innovation lab will be provided by the JDA, which will invite startups and other companies to come and collaborate for locally relevant solutions. “Innovation labs will be a tremendous platform for startups who can come and build their solutions here without any CAPEX investment. It could be a mobile app for garbage management or an Internet of things solutions for surveillance. If we find the solution relevant and scalable, we shall adopt it,” Agrawal said. The innovation labs will come up under a master MoU with networking giant Cisco. The other companies involved with the labs are  Qualcomm and GE. The labs is going to be operational within the JDA campus and will start with 25-30 seats. “Basically the tech infrastructure and space will be ours and the expertise will be bought in by our partners and the startups,” Agrawal said.

According to Agrawal, the initial solutions coming out of the labs will mostly be mobile centric. “We are looking at an app on the lines of Basically we are open to considering everything that can make citizens lives simpler- from a waste management solution to a bill payment one.” This innovation lab will be the first of its kind in a city in India, if not in Asia, Agrawal said.

Rajasthan already has a platform called Startup Oasis which was conceptualized and set up by Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Limited (RIICO) in association with IIM Ahmedabad. Oasis was set up to foster startup innovation in the state and already has some 31 startups like Basil Systems, 11TechSquare, Blub and Chaloge Kya as incubatees. Agrawal thinks that would be a good place to begin for getting startups on board for the innovation labs.

Jaipur is one of the few cities that have started tech initiatives as a part of moving towards being a smart city. It is primarily collaborating with Cisco for its smart city solutions like surveillance, smart kiosks, analytics, networking, smart lights etc. About a year and a half back, JDA set up a task force comprising people from the police, transportation department, city services and other departments to actively identify smart city solutions and evaluate best suited vendors. Agrawal said that they invited a number of companies to showcase their solutions. A number of current projec ts in Jaipur, like the Amer Fort one, are being done by Cisco and implemented by L&T. JDA is implementing these solutions at 6 tourist attractions, 9 metro stations and 6 parks in phase one of this smart city project.

These efforts, Agrawal informed us, are at a state level and independent of the central government’s smart cities mission which has earmarked funds of Rs. 500 crore over a period of 5 years (Rs 100 crores a year) for the 98 shortlisted cities (Jaipur is one of them). “We (JDA) are generating a revenue of Rs. 2000 crore per year so we do not need to depend on the 100 crore from the centre for our smart city initiatives.” Being self-reliant financially,JDA did not want to wait for that money to come in for starting their efforts. “We wanted to get familiar with the tech and solutions around smart cities.” It was then that JDA signed a tech alliance with Cisco and asked them to help with prioG A·ritization of projects.

When that Rs. 100 crore does start coming in- it’s path is set. With those funds, Jaipur plans to deploy its intelligent bus systems which includes putting GPS, cameras and intelligent systems on state buses. The other project earmarked for the central funds is solid waste truck tracking systems. These projects will be implemented by the city’s municipal corporation and not the JDA.