Avaya keen on building smart cities

11 Aug 2015
Avaya, the multi-national communications solutions provider, said that it was keen on helping to build ‘smart’ cities in India. Speaking to The Hindu, Priyadarshi Mohapatra, Managing Director, Avaya India and SAARC, said the company had built the network for the first “Smart [Winter] Olympics” at Sochi, Russia, in 2014, and hoped to use that experience to help build smart cities in India.
The tipping point for building a smart city is to first build a ‘smart foundation’, Mr. Mohapatra said, adding, “When I talk about a smart foundation, I mean a foundation that is robust enough to enable, on the fly, people coming, connecting, and going … at the same time it does not let [either with or without malicious intent] any ‘mal-device’ to cause problems.”
Talking about smart cities in the context of the larger concept of Digital India, the government’s set of programmes to connect the entire country, including villages, via a broadband network for digital delivery of services, Mr. Mohapatra said that it would require collaboration from multiple entities and no individual entity can build one on its own.
“When someone says they can deliver [a smart city for example] on their own, they’re not making the right statement,” Mr. Mohapatra said, adding that everyone was excited about the vision but it was time to take the next step. The government now needs to start picking its bets, selecting its partners, and start working on certain projects, he said, adding that to get things rolling, 10-20 citizen services ought to be selected along with five or six vendors, for enabling their delivery.”
Mr. Mohapatra said that collaboration would require a fabric or machine-to-machine network and one that did not compromise the security of computers and devices connecting to it. Among the work it would be bidding for, Avaya would seek to bid for the work of building networks for smart cities, according to Mr. Mohapatra.
In response to a question on whether technology could guard the requisite level of privacy, which, in India, is currently a topic of legal debate, Mr. Mohapatra, speaking in a personal capacity (and not representing his company) said that every country or culture had its own definition of what was intrusive and those lines had to be respected.

This article appeared in The Hindu on 11 August 2015