MoHUA, Cisco launch Urban Observatory to improve productivity of cities

ALIGNED with its mission to help cities across India become more productive, innovative and livable, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in partnership with Cisco, Quantela Inc, ESRI and AWS recently inaugurated a state-of-the-art India Urban Observatory in New Delhi. The first-of-its-kind observatory will leverage data analytics to optimise city operations, improve governance and enhance economic performance of cities across the country.

Housed at Nirman Bhawan, MoHUA, New Delhi, the observatory was inaugurated by Hardeep S Puri, minister of state (independent charge), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs; in the presence of Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary, MoHUA; Kunal Kumar, joint secretary, MoHUA along with other government dignitaries and industry representatives including Harish Krishnan, managing director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC and Sridhar Gadhi CEO & MD, Quantela Inc among others.

The India Urban Observatory will collect data from various IoT devices and sensors, the Integrated Command & Control Center (ICCC) and other urban indicators and analyse them to generate insights for all stakeholders and city planners.

To enable these, Cisco has provided the technological infrastructure such as Cisco WebEx, a Centralised Urban Observatory Software Platform with Analytics and Artificial Intelligence capability. Quantela on its part provided technology to integrate city data-sets. In addition, Quantela provided non-IT support along with workstations, video walls and the necessary physical infrastructure for the India Urban Observatory. The observatory will be further complemented by a specialised data science unit which will analyse data, sourced from across the country to derive insightful trends, helping policymakers take productive decisions.

Hardeep S Puri, minister of state (independent charge), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, said, “The India Urban Observatory is an important component of the recently launched Data Smart Cities strategy that envisions to create a ‘Culture of Data’ in cities, for intelligent use of data in addressing complex urban challenges. The conceptualisation of the India Urban Observatory recognises the value of enhancing engagement among all four stakeholders — government, citizens, academia, and industry, along with improvements in the internal workflow and decision-making processes of city governments. The India Urban Observatory will become the chief data analysis & Management Hub of the Ministry & would enable evidence-based policy formulation, capacity building of ecosystem partners on data-driven governance & foster innovation.”

According to Harish Krishnan, managing director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India and SAARC, “About 60 per cent of India’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. Hence, to achieve sustainable urbanisation, cities need to become smarter and more efficient. Cities can be ‘truly smart’ if they can leverage data for intelligent decision-making and the establishment of India Urban Observatory will go a long way in realising this vision. We are thrilled to be part of this initiative.”

Sridhar Gadhi, CEO, Quantela Inc, said, “The Smart Cities program has been one of the biggest digitisation initiatives launched by any government across the world. We are delighted to partner with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs and Cisco in this initiative in realising the dream of a digitally connected India”.

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