Cities: Engines of growth and economic development

India is poised for unprecedented urbanization in coming years

According to information, 90 percent of the world’s urban population growth will take place in developing countries, with India taking a significant share of that. While the urban population currently hovering at around 31 percent of the total population, it contributes over 60 percent of India’s GDP. It is projected that urban India will contribute nearly 75 percent of the national GDP in the next 15 years.


It is in this context that the Government of India has decided to develop 100 “Smart Cities” across the country. Accordingly, in his budget speech of July 2014, the Finance Minister has stated as follows: “As the fruits of development reach an increasingly large number of people, the pace of migration from the rural areas to the cities is increasing. A neo middle class is emerging which has the aspiration of better living standards. Unless, new cities are developed to accommodate the burgeoning number of people, the existing cities would soon become unliveable.” On July 10, 2014 the Indian Government announced the vision of developing ‘one hundred Smart Cities’, as satellite towns of larger cities by modernising the existing mid-sized cities.

To establish 100 smart cities is no mean task. The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has painstakingly been working to kick off the project over the last six to nine months. Finally the project has been approved by the cabinet on April 29, 2015. According to the latest plans of Govt. of India, apart from 100 Smart Cities another scheme Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) has been approved for 500 town and cities with more than a population of one hundred thousand.

The Government of India has earmarked central outlay of INR 48,000 crores for 100 Smart Cities over next five years. The plan is to have a city challenge competition for selecting 100 smart cities across India. A SPV will be created for each city to implement the action plan.

Many ways to describe a Smart City:

  • Smart City is a change of culture – not just technology
  • Smartness in a city means different things to different people.
  • The key pillars on which a Smart City relies are Institutional Infrastructure (including Governance), Physical Infrastructure, Social Infrastructure and Economic Infrastructure

A Smart City is ecologically friendly technologically integrated and meticulously planned, with the intervention of information technology to improve efficiency.
A Smart City leverages data gathered from smart sensors through a smart grid to create a city that is livable, workable and sustainable.
According to another school of thought – the criteria for qualifying as a smart city is that it must have three of the five infrastructure requirements matured and well established – energy management, water management, transport and traffic, safety and security and solid waste management.

A smart city has to be equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment though application of some smart solutions.
Whatever be the definition of a smart city, people migrate to cities primarily in search of employment and economic activities beside better quality of life. Therefore, a Smart City for its sustainability needs to offer economic activities and employment opportunities to a wide section of its residents, regardless of their level of education, skills or income levels. In a nutshell a Smart City needs to offer to all its citizens the following: Assured water & electricity supply, sanitation & solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizens.

What Bosch has to offer for Smart Cities:

  • Smart City market is about to develop and still immature – challenge and chance ! There is an increasing number of SC projects worldwide
  • Being an OEM with 128 years of deep rooted knowledge of diverse industry from Automotive to Industrial to Energy & Building to Consumer Goods.
  • In addition Bosch has its development centre for engineering and IT in India.
  • This gives Bosch a unique advantage to offer various products, solutions and services in the smart city context.

PictographInternet of things (IoT): The number of devices that we use on an everyday basis continues to grow. Globally there will be more than 50Bn devices connected by 2020 from currently 9Bn devices. The data from these devices are enormous with each device becoming independent administration, apart from monitoring infrastructure software architecture is likely to be another challenge. So the devices need to be optimized and should have a high level of interoperability with a certain degree of flexibility. This is where Information, communication, and technology (ICT) comes in to play. ICT provides a dashboard of solutions through real-time situational awareness by integrating data from a wide range of sources using distributed sensor array and cameras which monitor critical infrastructure, transportation systems, traffic, power supply and buildings. Bosch has built an ICT platform for M2M communication and provides the dash board on real time basis.

PictographSecurity: With 31 percent of India’s people already living in urban areas supplemented by the rapidly increasing trend of urbanization, safety and security needs are on the increase both in terms of coverage and complexity. Safety and security needs to be planned for city markets and shopping malls, commercial establishments, railway stations, metro rail, airports, public places; residential areas; schools and colleges. Some of the important safety and security building blocks/solutions for a city are video surveillance, fire alarms and protection, access control, intrusion alarm, public address and emergency evacuation systems. A smart city needs to have such solutions properly planned and effectively deployed and monitored by the administrative agencies.

Bosch is a one-stop-shop offering smart solutions for safety, security and communication needs of a city. The solutions are complemented by data and video analytics; building integration systems to add smartness to the solutions. Using Bosch’s innovative analytics tools and sensor technology, artificial intelligence can be added both to existing and new surveillance installations i.e. for crowd monitoring, crowd detection by which system is capable of informing the concerned authorities to take preventive actions.

PictographUrban traffic and transportation systems: Prominent traffic areas need to have surveillance cameras that detect traffic violations, help in traffic management and capture images that could be presented as legal evidence. Bosch offers a wide range of networked solutions for efficiently monitoring public areas in cities and effectively monitoring traffic flow, thereby mitigating congestion by collecting data on traffic patterns.

Intelligent Traffic Solutions (ITS) is an important intervention to automate the operations of State Road Transport Corporations. Some of the prominent advantages of ITS is vehicle tracking, vehicle diagnostics, driver behaviour, public information display system, automatic fare collection etc. Bosch having a strong transport technology lineage offers automotive grade ITS solutions which are supplemented by data analytic tools to provide important insights into the operations.

Apart from establishing good transportation options, seamless mobility across multi modal transportation options like metro, bus, taxi, auto makes a city truly efficient. Keeping this requirement in mind Bosch has developed contemporary Multi Modal Ticketing Solution (MMTS) for smart cities.

PictographSmart homes and energy management: With smart technology, future homes, instead of being energy consumers, can be energy producers. Normally 40 percent of energy is consumed by buildings (i.e., homes, shops, malls, offices), 32 percent by industry and remaining 28 percent for mobility. By 2035, 30 percent of the global energy will come from renewable sources. Bosch has made steady inroads into the green energy sector and developed several roof-top installations ranging from 25kWp to 200kWp capacity across India. Another key element of a smart city is its street lighting system. Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd (RBEI) has not only developed a smart street lighting system, but also created a smart meter for India’s rural electrification needs.

Home automation technologies are also viewed as integral additions to the smart grid. For a home to be “smart,” it is crucial that all the appliances and systems in the home – e.g., washing machine, heating units, lamps or window blinds – can simply and securely exchange data with each other as well as with smart phones and tablets. A common language for all domains is decisive when it comes to the connected home. Globally, Bosch has devised a solution that allows various home appliances from different brands to be controlled using just one app.

PictographEnvironment: Every citizen in the country has a right to have clean air and water. Global warming, Climate concerns and Fossil Fuels are key focus topics today amongst environmentalists, policy makers and industry. There is also widespread interest amongst people in the mega cities about environment and its effect on health. There is however very sparse and accurate real-time data about the quality of air. Accurate data supports in the cause and effect analysis of pollution.

Lawmakers, environment monitoring agencies can make informed judgments about how to manage and control the quality of air that we breathe. The source, be it vehicles, industries or natural reasons, could be isolated and measures put in place to bring about stability. The Bosch ‘Micro-Climate Pollution Monitoring Sensing System’ is a high performance unit designed with set of gateway and sensor platform to be state-of-art, highly scalable, secured all the way from the sensor till the cloud, rugged and robust in construction, field replaceable sensors with little or no technical knowledge, true plug-and-play HID (Human Interface Device) sensors and multiple wired and wireless interface options can be used in Cities, Manufacturing Plants, Mines, Industrial complexes and Highways

From a macro level, the issue of urbanization in India has become an important and irreversible process, and an important determinant of national economic growth and poverty reduction. Rapid and unprecedented population growth has contributed to common, pressing issues for India’s cities. Many of these are inherently linked to transportation, including reducing urban sprawl, ensuring safe access to city services.

A smart city with connected solutions is able to listen and understand what is happening in the city and also make better decisions and provide appropriate information and services to its inhabitants. Furthermore, the use of advanced analytical techniques in real time is what allows you to create a kind of awareness and understanding about the city which undoubtedly improves the services being provided.

Published in Smart Cities for BW Smart Cities (May, 2015)

About the author

Dhiraj Wali

Dhiraj Wali

Head, Smart Cities, Bosch India
Mr. Dhiraj Wali is currently the head of Bosch India’s smart cities business unit. He joined Bosch in 2003 and was part of the security technology division. Mr. Wali has over 28 years of work experience, he holds an engineering Degree from Regional Engineering College (Kashmir University) in Electronics & Communication stream. Post that, he also completed the Robert Bosch Kolleg Executive General Program from IIM, Bangalore.

Mr. Dhiraj Wali is no longer associated with the organization since April 2018. 
One Response
  1. Dilip Doraiswamy April 1, 2017 Reply

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