Indo-German Business Talk: Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities

India has recently become the world’s most populous country and has a rapidly increasing rate of urbanisation. Germany, as the European Union’s most populous country, also has a growing rate of urbanisation; although not as substantial as India’s. As both countries naturally grow, evidently so do their needs to use technology as a tool in developing sustainably while fulfilling their needs and meeting global commitments to climate change. This global view has welcomed the fourth industrial revolution since 2011 (also known as Industry 4.0). One product emerging from this, has been the development of smart cities; defined most commonly as the increased efficiency of networks and services through the use of digital solutions in a sustainable manner, for example waste or traffic management systems. Indo-German relations have shown commitment to this and strengthening cooperation through intitiatives such as the collaboration between Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the CII Smart Manufacturing Platform.

As we see these topics becoming more and more significant in public and private agendas, our latest Indo-German Business Talk, recorded on 26 April, investigated the development and implementation of smart cities, as well as its connection with Industry 4.0.

IGC Deputy Chairman and moderator, Dr Matthias Catón, was joined by Alokananda Nath, Project Manager at FS-UNEP; Anusha Kesarkar-Gavankar, Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation (ORF); Andreas Weiss, Director Digital Business Models at eco – Association of the Internet Industry e.V. and Keshav Jha, Manager (Research and Advocacy) at ICLEI South Asia.

When we are talking about smart buildings, smart mobility, smart public services we also need to talk about smart people for smart living because, at the end of the day, we need to ask: ‘Smart for Whom?’.

Dr Anusha Kesarkar-Gavankar, Senior Fellow, Centre for Economy and Growth, Observer Research Foundation

Our audience participation stimulated interesting questions such as: “What about the inclusion of rural citizens? Do smart rural areas receive as much attention?” and “Is digital transformation too high on agendas? Shouldn’t other global challenges have more of a priority?” The Webinar also addressed the importance of inclusion and participation, the roles of the private and public sector and sovereign identities and federated ecosystems.

This [the caution of data use] was the past 10 years the fact but due to the learnings out of COVID, out of resource constraints and other circumstances, people have learned that digital services are part of the solution.

Andreas Weiss, Director Digital Business Models, eco – Association of the Internet Industry e.V.

When we are moving towards Industry 4.0 which talks a lot about digitalisation, a lot about using AI and a whole lot of data would be generated, it’s very important to take our learning from the EU and see how it can be transferred when it comes to processing.

Alokananda Nath, Project Manager at FS-UNEP, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management

These innovation technologies [Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence] are very relevant and important for Indian smart cities to become livable and sustainable.

Keshav Jha, Manager (Research and Advocacy), ICLEI South Asia

What are our next steps for smart cities? Are we moving too quickly? Or too slowly? Watch the entire stream below and comment your thoughts.

The Indo-German Business Talk is a monthly webinar, free to Panelists and audience members. Subscribe to our Mailing List to be informed of future discussions.