Sunday, 18 September 2016

Technolution - The Future of Smart Cities

Since the new Modi government came into power in May 2016, we have been hearing a lot about Smart Cities. There has been great buzz around which are most likely to be smart cities in India whereas government has already proposed name of few cities based on different criteria. Now all of this sounds so romantic and catchy to us but are we really ready to make our cities smart cities. Though there can be different level and type of smart cities but there are some minimum aspects that must be in every such city. Technolultion event organized by Mind Ignited was one such event where we got to know about requirements to make a city Smart city and how that smart city status can be sustained in long run.

Event started with some beat boxing performance by Emcee of the show Vineeth to get crowd excited for the evening and then it was turn of the first speaker of the evening, Mr Bernard Charles, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer Dassault Systèmes . He has been working on Data points and simulation for last so many years and as per him the same simulation logic must be applied in case of smart cities not only to develop  smart cites but also to predict sustainably of those smart cities. Smart cities must be Vertical like human body and he cited example of Paris as such vertical city. Simulation needs lots of data inputs to predict the future requirement of a smart city, which can go to as low as where to plant trees in that city keeping future growth in mind. The Noise level, the traffic, altitude all play essential role in making of a smart city and simulation is must to predict future of smart cities on these parameters. He shared examples of few of cities globally those have used these simulation technique and have benefited a lot to cater future need of its citizen. The best part of simulation is that it can create multiple scenarios in one go and predict the outcome accordingly and then it is up to the administration on how to take decision on that outcome.

Then it was turn of Harini Nagendra, writer of Book “Nature in the City” and who has worked excessively on Urban evolution to talk about ecological viability of smart cities and what needs to be done to differentiate those from normal cities that are not so ecological. She showcased different statistics from across the world and especially India on how our cities have evolved sacrificing ecological aspect. City like Bengaluru city where precious lakes are frothing and now it is the 3rd most air polluted city in India. It has developed leaps and bounds but by sacrificing ecological aspect. A city can never become smart city if it can’t let its citizen breathe fresh air, drink clean water and let them live in less noisy environment. She explained how cities across globe have developed so rapidly in last few years but failed to cater need of a good environment.

Vishal Chahal of IBM Watson talked about what role industries will play in future of smart cities. The new advancement that will take place in Artificial intelligence will play a key role in how future of smart cities will be like.  He quoted several examples of how systems and machines will be self-activated tasking decisions on its own rather than depending on some server somewhere on cloud system. Systems will predict things in advance rather than individuals asking for it. He concluded his presentation with comments that almost all technical ingredients of smart city in future will be cognitive.

The last presentation was by Divakar Vaish who is one of the genius minds in India when it comes to Robotics and is developer of India’s first ever indigenous robot “Manav” and also word’s first brain controlled wheel chair. He explained about robotics industry has grown up on Artificial intelligence and cognitive intelligence and the next step will be to master Real Intelligence which is probably at first step of its growth. Artificial intelligence has grown up leaps and bounds when it comes to robotics and has given great results too but Real intelligence is future of robotics and machine system. In real intelligence system robots and machines will be able to take decision ion its own rather than being programmed to react. As per him it is still a long distant dream to fully conquer Real Intelligence but things in robotics industry are going in right direction. He showed few of his developments related to it where robots could replicate what a normal person does just with use of brain sensors. The brain controlled chair is one such creation and many more are yet to come soon in near future.

There were session By Saumya Lohia Agarwal on how not only Public-Private collaboration is needed to get things done, it is time for individuals to get involved actively on individual basis as well. Event also had a soulful and melodious musical performance by VarijaShree Venugopal who is award winning singer and flutist.  

More information of the event and videos can be found at Mind Ignited facebook page.


  1. There is no doubt that Smart Cities hold a lot of promise to help make our communities safer, better places to live. But, as with every new technical development, there are risks. What are the components of a Smart City?