Astrikos Consulting

What is S.M.A.R.T in Smart Cities?

Smart City means different things to different people. There is no universally accepted definition. Conceptualisation of ‘smart city’ differs from city to city and country to country. It depends on the aspirations of the residents of the city. For any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services which provide hassle free transport, uninterrupted power, clean water supply with effective waste management leading to good quality of life.

According to United Nations prediction, based on an ongoing wave of global urbanization, 70% of the world’s population will live and work in urban areas by 2050. As such, smart city technologies, from public Wi-Fi to facilitate access to city services to smart parking application designed to combat congestion and pollution, are gaining traction around the world. 2011 Indian census also substantiates this – In percentage terms, the rural population constitutes 68.8% and Urban population 31.2% of the total population. There has been an increase of 3.4% in the proportion of urban population in the last decade.


Government of India launched the Smart City Mission in the year 2015 as an urban revival and retrofitting program to develop 100 cities all over the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable. Its duration will be five years (FY2015-16 to FY2019-20). The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities. Already, 90 cities to be developed into smart city has been selected through a bidding process. There are 15 cities in the final round bidding for 10 slots.

Seven cities in Karnataka has been allowed to be improvised as smart cities. They are Belagavi and Davanagere (1st Round), Mangaluru, Tumakuru, Shivamogga and Hubli-Dharward (2nd Round), and Bengaluru (3rd Round).


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Smart City

'Smart city' is a city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions. Creating smart cities would entail development of basic infrastructure like adequate water supply, electricity supply, sustainable sanitation and solid waste management mechanism, efficient urban mobility, affordable housing and ensuring robust IT connectivity and e-governance.

S.M.A.R.T is one of the important requirement in goal setting. A goal is said to be SMART Goal, if it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Since the announcement of Smart City Mission (SCM), government has taken all the necessary steps to make this mission as SMART goal driven. Implementation of this mission use Area Based Development (ABD) strategy. Major pillars of this ABD are: city improvement (retrofitting), city renewal (redevelopment) and city extension (Greenfield development), along with a citywide initiative to apply smart solutions covering larger parts of the city.

Source : Smart Cities Guideline, Ministry of Urban Development

There is no standard model prescribed by the government as the requirements and improvements are not ‘one-size-fits-all’. Each city has to formulate its own concept, vision, mission and plan (proposal) for a Smart City that is based on local context, resources and citizens aspirations.

Cities need to prepare Smart City Proposals (SCPs) using the principles of strategic planning process and the proposals contain area-based development plans and pan-city initiatives. The citizens also participate during the process of preparing the SCPs.

As the task of preparing the SCPs is quite challenging, the States/Urban Local Bodies (ULB) s seek technical assistance by hiring consulting firms.The implementation of the SCM at the city level is done by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) created for the purpose. The SPV is responsible for all the plans, appraises, approvals, releasing funds, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of the Smart City projects. Each smart city has a SPV headed by a full time CEO and has nominees of Central government, State government and ULB on its Board.

The SCM is operated as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) and the Central Government proposes to give Rs 48,000 crores over five years, with an average Rs 100 crore per city per year. As States/ULBs have to contribute a matching amount, total amount likely to be allocated for Smart Cities development will be about Rs one lakh crore.

The project cost of each SCPs varies depending upon the level of ambition, model and capacity to execute and repay. The funds from the Centre and the matching contribution by the States/ULB will meet only a part of the project cost. Balance funds are expected to be mobilised from private sector through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

SCM’s backbone is the connectivity, coordination and control between various departments involved in hassle free function of the city. As per MoUD, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based smart solutions should be proposed and implemented. This is possible using Internet of Things (IoT) based real time infrastructure control centres City Command Centre.

The "Internet of Things" (IoT) is a fast growing technological innovation which has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. But what exactly is the "Internet of things" and what is it’s impact on all, if any? Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with Wi-Fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smartphone penetration is expected to be over 70% by 2022. All of these things are creating a "perfect platform" for the IoT


Simply, IoT is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet and/or to each other. This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, vehicles, television and almost anything else you can think of. According to the analyst firm Gartner, says by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. So, the IoT is a giant network of connected "things" (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things. IoT can be applied in waste management, water management, power management and transportation networks making cities real smart.

Complex city infrastructures and legacy systems present a big obstacle in the road map for setting up smart cities. Implementation of IoT concept and setting up of a City Control System will help in reduce costs, optimise investments, mitigate emerging staffing crises, and enables a more resilient, efficient city.


Service continuity and citizen safety are two major challenges faced in most of the cities:

Citizens and ULB may aspire to improve the quality of life in the city, a city is only as good as its underlying physical infrastructure (i.e. power and water systems, safety systems, traffic management, etc). Overall quality of life will improve in a city with a well connected, coordinated and controlled systems. This will be possible when Centralised command and control centre are setup in each of the city to maintain and manage the functioning of entire city operations.

Citizen feel satisfied and are living in a real smart city when city services will be responsive, easily accessible and their complaints are quickly addressed. To make this a reality, require real-time control over the city and its systems. Solution for this will incorporate the city’s physical assets, the service workforce, the changing landscape of the environment and the movement and behaviour of citizens. For providing real time actionable decisions, visibility of the city situation 24x7 is required. This visibility must be combined with ability to enable the workforce to act upon systems in order to control highly unpredictable situations. Overall, the SMART part of smart cities is leveraging the technology to the core to provide all the necessary services for the city dweller and enhance his overall living experience.