With social innovation as its agenda, the Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has partnered with various Indian Government agencies on several technological fronts. After its successful collaboration with the Government on its “myGovt” initiative, the UIDAI and the National Knowledge Network project, the Japan-oriented company is now vying for the “smart cities” project of India with its innovative intelligence techniques and software solutions. In a conversation with Bureaucracy Today, Vivekanand Venugopal, Vice-President and General Manager of the HDS (India), talks about building safer, smarter and more efficient cities through the connected intelligence system.
There is no denying the fact that the digital transformation projects of the Indian Government have given access to people to avail themselves of their services on their mobile phones and computer devices discounting their physical presence in government offices. Likewise, in recent times, through the Digital India project, the Government has been trying to eliminate corruption, lessen the strength of the bureaucracy and bring transparency in the administration, says the Vice-President and GM of the Hitachi Data Systems, Vivekanand Venugopal.
Venugopal says that after partnering with the Indian Government on information infrastructure for the Mygov.in project, which is a crowd sourcing initiative from the Prime Minister’s Office and after working as a key partner in the National Knowledge Network project (a multi-gigabit pan-India network which is a key enabler of the Digital India project), “our collaboration with it is anchored around what we call a social innovation theme which is our global strategy focussed around how we can transform society.” He adds, “If one has to impact the lives of people, then one has to first address underlying problems which society is facing.”
It was long ago that the Hitachi recognized the importance of enabling government-to-government and government-to-citizens interaction on a common platform. Therefore, it started building technological innovation and software solutions which would leverage operational intelligence and data.
SMART CITIES -- THERE’S MORE TO SURVEILLANCE THAN MEETS THE EYE
A city becomes smart only after leveraging operational technologies, believes the HDS Vice-President as the company is trying to build connected intelligence for the “smart cities” project. He adds, “If you look at smart cities, the first thing the Government is putting in place is surveillance system for better situational awareness as it wants to prevent incidences which will adversely affect society.” And the Hitachi, feels Venugopal, “is in a better position in providing the connected intelligence for public safety.”
According to him, the Hitachi’s connected intelligence solution integrates all the elements of the Internet of Things (IoT), including cameras, sensors, smart infrastructure, and intrusion detection which are a few of its features. He says that if one is aware of situations, one is in a better position to deploy resources.
“ The Hitachi has got a very unique connected intelligence system for public safety which is called predictive crime analytics. This could help in preventing crime, improve patrol effectiveness and local policing strategies for safer streets, ” Venugopal tells Bureaucracy Today. Under the predictive analytics system, the Hitachi’s solutions would collect information from various social media, static cameras and sensors and predict next incidences of theft, crime, arson and other anti-social activities.
“Predictability gives the Hitachi a strong value addition to government solutions,” says Venugopal. He adds, “It’s not every time feasible to deploy an increasing number of security forces. Thus, it is time for India to leverage its technology.”
For “smart cities”, the Hitachi has also chalked out a unique technology which would enable face recognition. According to Venugopal, it is through this technological solution that feeds will be collected after recognizing good emotions on a face from a bad one. Under the solution, nervousness, anger and agitation are few of the emotions which will be highlighted and potential risk based on one’s behavioural pattern will be judged. Along with the face recognition solution, the Hitachi has also come up with a live-items search technique which identifies and detects hazardous metals and material. “We plan to support the Indian Government through connected intelligence for public safety,” says the GM.
CITIES ARE SAFER WHEN DATA CREATES VISIBILITY
In “smart cities”, real-time data will be connected and used to take smarter action which will play a key role in improving public safety and making the cities smarter. However, “public safety is not the sole responsibility of the Government alone,” feels Venugopal. According to him, citizens and private and corporate stakeholders play an equivalent role in public safety. Therefore, the Hitachi has envisioned a City Data Exchange solution which aims to reduce the digital divide.
While the Hitachi’s CDE model is already functioning in the Copenhagen city of Denmark, the company is keen to optimise the same technology in Indian cities. Under the system, the company aims to create a centralised pool of data systems, including information collected through gram panchayats, blocks and district bodies. This will enable a free flow of data that can be leveraged by any resources. “ The Hitachi’s goal is to convert a city into a smart one and reduce the digital divide. These solutions will accelerate the ‘smart cities’ initiative,” says Venugopal.
WORKING WITH STATE GOVERNMENTS
At present, 24 State Governments across India are operating on the Hitachi technology for their various e-governance functions. The analytics of the Unique Identification Authority of India for the Aadhaar card system has been carried out on the Hitachi platform. “If we look at the Make in India, Digital India or Smart Cities projects, the Internet of Things is their biggest enabler,” says Venugopal.
While the company boasts of the participative governance mechanism of myGov initiative which is built on the HDS IT platform, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation’s application is also successfully working on the Hitachi IT platform which is enabling registered users to access their Provident Fund statements and conduct transactions on their mobile devices. “One large project that we are very proud of is out of 33 State data centres that are available in India. Twentyeight of them are of the Hitachi IT which provides business continuity services for all the State data centres,” says Venugopal.
Venugopal says that the world of tomorrow is depended on operational technologies and Information Technology will be a very small part of it. “Thus, it is imperative that the Indian Government should leverage this integration of technology,” he concludes.