The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a whitepaper on ‘smart cities in India: framework for ICT infrastructure’. In this study paper, TRAI has emphasised on the role of ICT in making smart cities sustainable in the long run.

In this white paper, TRAI noted that lack of regulation and standards for ICT solutions pose a risk for smart cities as they prevent data sharing, integration of devices and applications, and increase cost.

While studying ICT infrastructure being planned and deployed in various smart cities in India, TRAI observed that smart cities plan and deploy technology solutions their own way, without any common framework to implement a technology. Consequently, in absence of any regulation or standards, non-standardised proprietary devices and solutions have come up in the market.

“Such proprietary or non-standardised solutions have been created in silos and pose problems of inter-operability and prevent sharing of data amongst divergent applications,” TRAI noted.

According TRAI, non-standardised and non-interoperable ICT solutions will pose a risk as it will suffer from various constraints. This includes- proprietary solutions will have maintenance and vendor lock-ins; upgradation and scalability will also be proprietary and hence costly; replicability in other areas will be a challenge; integration of various applications and information sharing will be a challenge; in disaster situation, it will be difficult to have integrated relief operations.

“The purport of the creation of smart cities will only be achieved with a holistic approach, supported by globally acceptable standards that enable fully interoperable solutions that can be deployed and replicated at scale,” Trai said in the white paper.

Under non-standardised proprietary implementations, devices and applications do not interoperate, leading to higher cost and preventing data sharing among applications.