Global technology and mobility giants like Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Cisco are looking upon the India’s ‘smart cities’ project as a major business opportunity involving up to US $50 billion (Rs 340,000 crore) money.
Companies like Ericsson and Huawei have already started working on some of the projects in the country, while Nokia is also expected to bid for some projects. Cisco is also involved in more than 25 cities, including the first shortlisted 20 smart cities.
A report by Sustainability Outlook also put the smart city market opportunity in India at USD 45-50 billion over the next five years.
In the first phase alone, the electronic equipment business will be a USD 220-250-million opportunity for these vendors. It is estimated that for companies like Cisco, which are largely looking at IT solutions, the opportunity is pegged at around USD 25 million per city.
“The Indian government’s vision of a Smart Digital India is creating enormous opportunities,” said Orvar Hurtig, Global Head of Industry and Society, Ericsson. The company has identified three key industry segments—public safety, utilities and transport—as its focus areas in the country.
The Swedish company has just won its first deal in India to install 15,000 smart meters in Assam over the next three years for a public sector power company.
Ericsson, which earlier created a separate vertical called ‘industry & society’ to tap Smart City and Digital India opportunities, expects up to 20 per cent of its India sales to come from this segment by 2020. Sales from this segment are negligible now.
Sandeep Girotra, Nokia’s head of India market, said that the company is in talks with various state governments and the Centre and may soon bid for some projects. “We believe that there is no single approach that fits all cities and each city can have multiple drivers, therefore, it is absolutely vital to engage with state government, city administration and planners to understand their objectives and KPIs,” Girotra added.
Cisco, which has worked on more than 120 smart cities globally, is working in 12-13 cities out of the list of 20. Besides, the company has been working in another 14-15 cities, according to Purushottam Kaushik, managing director-sales at Cisco India & Saarc.
“We are not just providing IT solutions to the authorities, but also providing consultancy services,” Kaushik said.