During major economic events, citizens look to their governments for credible information, guidance, and leadership. Technology used in developing smart cities could be the way forward. 

Back in 2015 India launched an initiative, Smart Cities Mission. It was designed to enable cities to effectively leverage technology in improving citizen services and quality of life. This year the Indian government was able to leverage this as part of their emergency response to the pandemic.

The World Economic Forum and Deloitte compiled a report on 3 Indian cities that were able to utilize this technology. The report is titled Technology and Data Governance in Smart Cities: On the Frontlines of India’s Fight against COVID-19. It shows how the technology was used between different city-level agencies to plan and monitor their emergency response.

These smart cities used their control centers for analyzing city-specific data, coordinating activities, and connecting with citizens. The data was collected through various sensors and smart solutions. This allowed cities to carry out data modelling and predictive analytics, create dashboards, scenario visualization and simulation models to analyze the virus spread and plan their response.

The magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis presented many challenges for cities to overcome, including a lack of available staff, technical knowledge to repurpose existing smart solutions, and capacity building and training for those manning COVID-19 War Rooms.

The experience of Indian cities in responding to COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated that technology and data-driven decision making are critical for ensuring effective citizen outreach and service delivery.

This new bite was adapted from an article originally written for WE Forum.

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