Exponential Technologies Drive: Pimpri Chinchwad Smart City’s COVID-19 Combat Strategy

From a small agglomeration of villages, the City of Pimpri Chinchwad has evolved into a model modern city playing a definitive role in the region and is vouched for as a frontrunner in the digital transformation journey of India

The Smart Cities Mission is a bold new initiative of the Government of India to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.

From a small agglomeration of villages, the City of Pimpri Chinchwad has evolved into a modern model city which, now plays a definitive role in the region. Thanks to the trailblasing efforts & achievements of the Municipal Corporation in the provision of adequate infrastructure & amenities, Pimpri Chinchwad has arrived as a well provisioned, progressive City, on the brink of transformation. Using the “Smart City” platform, the city now envisages to “redefine” itself into an attractive, vibrant, and liveable destination.

Moving beyond providing necessary facilities, the city aspires to invest in urban “software” – society, environment, community – to improve the quality of life of its citizens. And therefore today, Pimpri Chinchwad is among the frontrunners in the digital transformation journey of India.

Digitalisation a priority

In recent times, we have seen quite a lot of disruptions brought about by technological advancements and by the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have fast-tracked the digital transformation journeys of almost all public sector organisations today. Talking about how these changes have impacted the digital transformation strategy for them, Nilkhant Poman, Joint CEO, PCSCL & Chief IT Officer, PCMC shares, “Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March; we set up a war room where we made our dashboard and connected all the government hospitals and private hospitals to it. It enabled them to put all the data from their side, and we could then consolidate it in our war room. Secondly, with the help of the police department, we now have the facility to review all the CCTV feeds of the entire city from our war room. Thirdly, which is the most appropriate thing, is that we have created the Smart Sarathi mobile app, which is helping us facilitate all the containment zones in the areas. These are some of the digital transformation initiatives that we have built during the COVID-19 time.”

While there are multiple reasons for any organisation to kick-start its digital transformation journey, for Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, since they are a government organisation and their business is to serve the people especially in this pandemic, their main objective was to reach out to the people with the help of digital communication. “This was our main aim. So, in the lockdown period, we gave information about all the medical shops, nearby facilities, hospitals, dispensaries, grocery shops, etc. that are available in the vicinity in that area to our people. We displayed this information on our mobile app. Secondly, we created a 24/7 helpline which gives all the information and data to the citizens and in that way, we can serve all our people,” shares Poman.

Poman further adds that the critical factor behind their motivation for this digital transformation was the Commissioner and Honorable Mayor of Pimpri Chinchwad, who gave them the freedom and support to work towards getting the best technology on board. “We were able to deploy our solutions in the shortest duration of time, and for that, the hospitals, doctors, front-end workers, additional commissioners, everyone took on the challenge and worked towards making it a success.”

Collaborating with the best-in-class

Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has been a VMware customer, and the collaboration has turned out to be highly beneficial for them in terms of achieving efficiency and managing scale along with time and cost optimisation. Poman shares, “VMware has helped us in deploying all our COVID-19 related war rooms where multiple solutions came to one platform, and that platform is available for the administration, and part of it is also available to the citizens. We are broadcasting all our data to the citizens through this platform. Also, VMware solutions are there in our Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC). Our vantage control command centre is going to work in full swing so that we can see how all these services are integrated into our single-source solution.”

Planning for a digital future

The future is going to be digital, and for organisations who want to stay ahead of the curve, they would need to keep working towards enhancing their digital initiatives. With regards to their next technology adoption plans to improve their digital initiatives and how technology leaders like VMware can help them achieve these goals, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has a lot planned for the future.

“Our next plan for the smart city is the IoT enabled platform which we will be running throughout the city in terms of city surveillance, environment, water, electricity, and sanitation. So, this platform will be used everywhere, and we will be centrally monitoring it from our control and command centre. That is how the solutions will be made effective. Our ultimate goal with VMware solutions is to make the city smarter, safe and secure,” says Poman.

Measuring impact for the long run

Pimpri Chinchwad is already a success story in many ways. It has shown some exemplary work in using exponential technologies to improve the quality of life of its citizens. And they are also using the right methods to measure and document the impact that their digital initiatives have created. Poman shares, “Basically, we are making a document on the impact of all our Smart City solutions. So, when we are going to measure our ground impact, we will be seeing what the situation was before the implementation and what it is after implementing the solution. The impact on the citizens would be how they can get this information, what benefits are they getting, and how are we able to deliver those messages to them. Change is the need of the hour and how are we enabling smart change with our interventions is the motivation behind all the work that we are doing for our citizens.”