How has the journey for this year been for you?
The journey so far has been wonderful. We remain committed in growing NEC’s presence in the public safety business in India. To leverage on its technological expertise in the field of public safety, NEC has established a regional competency centre in public safety to expand its capabilities and expertise to support businesses in the Asia Pacific region. Our business took a huge hit at the time of 2G scam. But, for the past two years, we have been able to enhance in the telecom industry and we are consistently growing our other business units too.
The new brand message, ‘Orchestrating a brighter world’, which initiates the global promotion of its Solutions for Society, was launched this year. This message comprehends NEC’s commitment to fully exploit our cutting-edge technologies and know-how for the creation of new value in concert with people around the world, and through our efforts, creating a brighter, more affluent lifestyle, society and future. NEC has also embarked upon corporate social responsibility, initiatives to support nature, education and community. We have also intensified our telecom business, from billing, customer care, real-time charging and policy solutions, to resource and network management, service fulfilment, and assurance. Software’s and services have enhanced the customer experience through content-rich offerings and hence has reduced costs.
How do you define a smart city? What does NEC offer in making a city competent?
While there are some basic parameters that smart cities must meet, every city is unique in terms of its resources and requirements. And that defines what goes into transforming it into a smart city. A city can be defined as ‘smart’ when the investments in human, social capital, traditional and modern communication infrastructure that fuel sustainable economic development leads to high quality of life.
A wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement is also needed for developing a city. Each city needs to have its own focus. Some cities focus on digitalisation, while others focus on attracting more people and investment for development projects.
With safety and security on top of their minds, city planners nowadays have begun deploying some of the most sophisticated technologies around, such as advanced video analytics, for tasks ranging from hotels to police surveillance. Intelligent management with information and communication technology and with active citizen participation makes for a smart city. The access given to the citizens for smart energy and making better use of scarce resources are also important. Moreover, safety of citizens and its resources are the key attributions. For disaster management, we have various sensors needed to gather information such as surveillance cameras, water level sensor, rain gauges and seismometers. We also provide the necessary intelligence to analyse, assess and alert relevant authorities.
With its core competency in IT, is NEC preparing on some e-governance initiatives?
NEC has been selected as one of the potential partners for Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) to establish a logistics databank that will enable full visibility for cargo. End consumers will now be able to track the whereabouts of their vehicles and know the time of delivery too. This is made possible with NEC’s end user visibility mechanism called logistics databank. NEC is also planning to participate in Digital India by leveraging our experience and expertise in projects and e-governance initiatives to empower financial inclusion in rural areas. In rural areas, it is very difficult for people to access banking. NEC has been working for India more than 50 years and the plan is to focus more on digitalising the country. Previously, it was a conventional box supply but in the recent past we have introduced a solution centric model. Tremendous potential lies in the public safety and identity solutions business in India. With the objective of developing India as a market of strategic importance for NEC globally, we are constantly engaging with the central and state governments to drive e-governance projects in India, participating in infrastructure security projects and taking interest in national security initiatives. Even major IT firms have developed solutions to identify the needs of urbanites and solving them.
How different is it for a private company like NEC to work in collaboration with central and state governments. What are the various challenges oscillating between the two?
We need to go through multiple layers of authorities, authentications and approvals. In addition, Indian cities are so diverse – each with its own set of geographic and demographic complexities, strengths and requirements. In India, NEC is working closely with the central and state governments to understand the need of utilising technology for tackling governance challenges and making a smart city safe. We welcome the government’s ambitious 100 smart cities vision, presented in the Union Budget 2015. It aims at bolstering the IT sector through investments focussed at enhancing scientific research that will support and help key players grow. Both central and state governments have different needs, like health, digital, personal, law enforcement, harbour monitoring which are the main fields for enhancing these areas digitally.
We are currently interacting with both the centre and state governments in India. The execution of smart city project is directly handled by individual state authorities. We offer a variety of solutions including biometrics and fingerprinting technology for police forensic departments and cyber crimes. Face Recognition Solution, which transforms CCTV cameras into proactive monitoring tools, is also being used. We are also one of the biometric solution providers for India’s largest national ID project. This approach ensures that the city eventually will get the best suited solutions for its requirements. In any case, our primary objective is to increase safety and security, which is a basic yet essential need for any smart city. In future, this can be leveraged for providing smart governance in all major areas in the country.
How different is NEC from its contemporaries?
Several global companies are trying to participate in Smart City projects in India and many of them already have their own advantages and expertise in certain areas.Contemporary improvisation is a term that really liberates the idea of improvisation from any specific genre, and reflects what’s been going on for years. Leveraging on NEC’s unique capabilities in integrating IT and networking technologies for a diverse customer base across governments, businesses, individuals and societies worldwide, NEC India customises solutions to construct large-scale, highly reliable, scalable and flexible IT and network systems, such as Security and Surveillance Systems, Carrier Network, IP Telephony Solutions, Retail solutions, Private Network Solutions, High Performance Computing, IT products such as Servers, Storage and Thin Clients, as well as Multimedia Products such as Projectors and Commercial Display Products and Solutions for the Indian market. With the aim of enabling citizens to live their lives with a sense of security and peace of mind, our contributions range from protecting vital facilities such as power plants, factories with surveillance and crime prevention technology to advanced systems that mitigate traffic congestion and encourages investments in the country. Good planning, setting the target, products and solutions and industries like, Education, Hospitality, Healthcare, Government, Aviation, Banking and Financial services are the sectors which are worked upon. I strongly believe that with the union of softwares, hardwares and human beings, a safe and smart city can emerge, because to make business is not so easy.
What would we see in “Smart Delhi”, the brain child of NEC, in the near future?
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is going to make the Delhi NCR region a smart city with an initiative to replace 18,500 street light poles with smart poles and installing CCTV cameras. They are also planning a master idea for generation of solar power and finally establishing a chain of waste to energy plants of small sizes in various localities of the NDMC resulting in recycling of waste in an eco-friendly manner for maximising the power output. There is a need to develop a more efficient urban infrastructure network in order to cope up with the current and future needs of the people in Delhi. Safety from man-made and natural threats, energy efficiency, quality of life, conservation of natural resources are some of the key objectives of developing the capital. Safety of the citizens and resources are one of the most crucial aspects.
Components can only work if it’s social and physical infrastructure are safeguarded from any threats. Intelligent management integrated with information and communication technology and active citizen participation will drive the creation of smart and safe capital. NEC defines city evolution as a three-stage process consisting of growth, maturation and reconstruction stages. It helps realise sensing, authentication, monitoring, control, and cloud computing which would be very essential for New Delhi.