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Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Cisco are betting big on India’s ‘smart cities’ project


Global majors such as Ericsson, Nokia,Huawei and Cisco are betting big on India’s ‘smart cities’ project, which is estimated to be an up to $50 billion (Rs 340,000 crore) business opportunity over five years.

Players like Ericsson and Huawei have started working on some of the projects in the country, while Nokia could soon bid for some projects. Cisco, on the other hand, is involved in more than 25 cities, including the government’s 20 officialsmart cities shortlist.

The government has defined a smart city in the Indian context as one that provides a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment, and supports the application of smart solutions.

It has shortlisted 20 cities, including Pune, Jaipur, Surat, Kochi, Ahmedbad, New Delhi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Ludhiana and Bhopal, which will be developed as smart cities. The smart city market opportunity in India will be $45-50 billion over the next five years, according to a report by Sustainability Outlook.

The electronic equipment business, just for the first phase, will be a $220-250 million opportunity for these vendors. For companies like Cisco, which are largely looking at IT solutions, the opportunity is pegged at around $25 million per city, according to industry estimates. “The Indian government’s vision of a Smart Digital India is creating enormous opportunities,” said Orvar Hurtig, global head of industry and society at 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 in the utilities space—to install 15,000 smart meters in Assam over the next three years for a public sector power company.

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