December 2020

As cities are being developed into smart cities, it has become imperative for governments to incorporate world-class communications infrastructure to ensure free flow of information and increase public participation and thereby increase public welfare.

The Covid-19 pandemic has opened up new opportunities for technology adoption at the city level. Technology is being widely used to ensure citizen safety by sending them alerts. A number of innovative technologies have been launched to better develop communications infrastructure. Some technological solutions offered include an integrated command and control centre to provide a real-time unified view of operations, mobile apps for better access to information, mobile wallets for digital payments and an online grievance redressal system. Further, in order to provide efficient and robust Wi-Fi connectivity, smart cities are setting up Wi-Fi hotspots, free Wi-Fi zones, Wi-Fi lounges, Wi-Fi hubs, etc. at various locations.

Smart cities are also setting up exclusive cells for grievance redressal and are increasingly adopting electronic portals, mobile apps, social media, etc. for registering complaints.

Going forward, digital disruptions such as smart mobility, IoT, cloud and big data will be the key enablers for the creation of smart cities. However, this increased application of technology in resolving daily city life issues is new to citizens and officials. Hence, the only way to deepen the penetration of technology is to create greater awareness. Apart from this, effective coordination among various institutions as well as the central government, the state government and local government agencies is the need of the hour.

This issue of Smart Utilities discusses the key information technologies and digital solutions being deployed by smart cities for better communication. Further, it highlights the operations and maintenance practices of water utilities, and the technologies being deployed by gas utilities for customer engagement and remote monitoring. The issue also showcases the digital technologies being deployed by power utilities, and the smart metering solutions being adopted by leading utilities.