• Oracle and Maharashtra partner to launch Smart City Centre of Excellence

    Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is pretty pleased with the recent announcement of five cities from his state being added to the Smart City mission launched by the Modi government. Currently on a trip to San Francisco, USA, he delivered a keynote speech at the Oracle Open World 2016, a first for any Indian politician, announcing his CEO-like vision for the state he administers.

    Quick to make a move and deliver on the smart city promise, he signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Oracle Corporation to create a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Mumbai to help connect 29,000 villages of Maharashtra and launch government-to-citizen and government-to-business services in the state. The MoU plans to accelerate the state’s digital transformation initiatives, leveraging Oracle’s Cloud solutions and develop the state’s smart city programme.

    The Centre will become a research platform to design, develop and test new capabilities and offer a flexible and scalable common framework to run various government schemes and create robust IT infrastructure that aids government utilities and services for citizens. Oracle will use the learnings from this first Centre of Excellence and drive its Smart City initiatives in other states of India and also take the learnings to other countries, said Safra Catz, CEO, Oracle Corp.

    Making the first move, Fadnavis said the CoE can become a prototype for all other states to emulate and learn from their experiences of building a smart city. Using cloud capabilities, Catz believes Maharashtra can leapfrog to using the latest technology and skip what other cities having legacy technology capabilities have had to go through to bring about the transformation.

    If Fadnavis’s plan goes through, expect Mumbai city itself to have about 1200 hotspots for instant Wi-fi connectivity; he says 500 of them will be ready by November this year.

    Using technology and by inviting many other partners on this tech-transformation journey, he also plans to unify Mumbai’s transportation infrastructure and offer its residents a single ticket to hail a ride on the city bus, metro train, mono rail as well as the trusty old Mumbai suburban local trains. Much like the one-ticket for all rides offered globally by cities like London and Paris.

    He admits it’s not an easy task but he has set a firm deadline to achieve it – end of 2018. The biggest challenge is to take the network to all villages, catering to the 113 million people in Maharashtra. As one of the many solutions to achieve his goal, he plans to use the electricity poles to help spread the tentacles of optic fibre network across his state.

    The proposed projects to be covered under the CoE initiative include: Smart city in a box, mobile platform to address service queries, unified app development for services like drivers license, renewals or property tax payments, resources to manage transportation logistics, including analytics, asset tracking, fleet management and resources to manage utilities, including water and power

    Oracle and the government of Maharashtra plan to invest in IT infrastructure, training and skill-set resources to run the CoE.

    “Cloud computing has changed the landscape of governance. It has the power to enable inclusive growth and to transform the state into a digitally empowered society,” said Fadnavis. “Together with Oracle, we want to build a new, efficient, transparent and inclusive system that benefits our people. The CoE is a step in that direction and will make more government services available with the click of a button.”

    Catz plans to use this initiative to invite many other technology companies and join hands with them to support the Digital India initiative outlined by Indian government.

    “We are thrilled to further our commitment in India by working with the Government of Maharashtra and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to help position India as a world-class design and manufacturing epicentre. The Cloud Center of Excellence powered by Oracle will play a key role in improving the lives of the people of this state,” said Catz. “By moving to the Cloud, the government has the opportunity to create a digitally empowered society and a growing knowledge economy. We look forward to making this partnership a success.”

    Oracle plans to tap the potential business that will emanate from the India over the next few years. She expects Oracle India’s revenue to grow 10 times in near future. On an earlier trip to India, Catz unveiled a state-of-the-art campus centre at Bengalaru.

    Oracle also has nine incubation centres in India, and has launched an initiative to train more than half a million students each year to develop computer science skills. When Catz joined Oracle Corp, it had 40 thousand employees globally; today Oracle India alone employs about 40 thousand people. She believes India has the single largest growth potential for Oracle and thus is committed to invest in resources that will help it grow the India business 10 times. Evander Kane Authentic Jersey

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