If Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is trying to build a future ready Internet City, called Neom, in his country in the next few years, the Telangana government in India is already on the job —of developing Hyderabad as an Internet City, where Internet of Things (IoT), media, animation, gaming and entertainment sectors will converge into a hub, also called IMAGE.

Already one of the top Information Technology (IT) exports centers in the country, Hyderabad, backed by its strong logistics and favourable topographical advantages, is poised to emerge as the hub of Internet allied fields, thanks to a policy initiative to boost the sector which is estimated to be the future of the world and India. Named after the sectors, the IMAGE policy 2016 will also have a tower by the same name in the next three years here. 

The global digital landscape has been at the receiving end of a major transition on the technical, social and economic fronts, thanks to IoTs, commonly addressed as IoT. The advent of IoT has led to direct advancements in development of consumer products, automobiles, industry components and sensors, to name a few, a preface of the policy says.

Further, the IT industry’s apex body, NASSCOM’s report on IoT in India for 2016 states that the IoT market in India is poised to reach $15 billion by 2020, accounting for a little over 5% of the total global market, which is estimated to reach $262 billion. Many developed countries in the world are competing for a pie here, but Hyderabad has already joined the race.

IoT exhibits a unique promise of not only simplifying implementation of mechanisms in various fields, but also transforms multiple aspects of the way we live. 

The Telangana government understands the strong potential IoT possesses, and envisions to transform specific priority areas that are linked to the strengths of the state.

The Government of India has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop Smart Cities across the nation, leading to a massive expansion and adoption of IoT in the country. Further, with the advent of the Digital India programme, digital initiatives in multiple sectors have been launched with the aim of “transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”.

IoT is the key to developing Smart Cities with the following aspects: Smart City Solutions, Smart Parking, Smart Lighting, Intelligent Transportation, Intelligent Logistics Management, Citizen Safety, Smart Power Management, Smart Waste Management, Smart Environment, Smart Control Centre and Connected Home. Hyderabad is the base to several major pharmaceutical companies and R&D centres in the biotechnology space. The city houses several multinational life sciences’ giants such as DuPont, AMRI, Sanofi Aventis, Novartis, Dr Reddy’s, Aurobindo Pharma, etc. The innovation drive here is high due to presence of world famous institutes such as IICT and CCMB, and a large number of super-specialty hospitals.

 Hyderabad has a dominant position in the pharma sector as the leader in manufacturing drugs in the country. With about 40% of the total Indian bulk drug production and 50% of the total bulk drug exports happening from the state, industrial manufacturing, with focus on pharmaceuticals, is one of the key areas that could be transformed by IoT.

In addition to industrial IoT in the pharma sector, there has been a trend of people increasingly adopting wearable technology to monitor vitals and some bodily functions. Telangana wishes to ride on this growth and facilitate the development of newer and more advanced technologies in this area. A dedicated park for medical devices is also in the pipeline to enable this.

The logistics industry in India, dominated by unorganised players is plagued by low utilisation rates, primarily due to the absence of free information exchange across industry participants. 

Shared Logistics and Warehousing platforms, connecting transportation and warehousing companies in real-time with logistics customers, addresses the challenge of empty backhauls and low utilisation rates.

By providing real-time information, these logistics platforms enable logistics companies to enhance utilisation rates leading to higher profits. With a larger share of the industry becoming organised, through use of IoT based smart solutions, the government will benefit from higher tax realisation, consumers benefit from lower costs, and the broader society benefits from reduced emissions and traffic congestions.

One of the key focus areas under the Digital Telangana programme is agriculture. The Telangana government is working with ICRISAT to develop a platform for the Agriculture Extension System to extract maximum output from farmers by connecting them with advanced research, weather information system, pest identification system etc.

Moving forward, the government would like to adopt agriculture IoT solutions that will increase farm output and efficiency of the markets. The global digital landscape has been at the receiving end of a major transition on the technical, social and economic fronts, thanks to Internet of Things, commonly addressed as IoT.

IoT projects a great promise of not only simplifying implementation of mechanisms in various fields, but also transform multiple aspects of the way we live. 

In the Innovation Policy 2017, the government of Telangana has announced that access to securing financial support shall be provided through various channels initiated by T-Hub and T-Works. 

In addition to providing assistance, through the startup cell, to enterprises to apply for various funding opportunities, the government shall also extend necessary support to startups applying to Central government funds.

Eligible startups shall be provided with a certifying document from the state government that shall amplify the startup’s chances to benefit from Central government programmes. In addition to partnering with VCs and other investment entities to create funds to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the IoT space, the government will set up a dedicated pavilion for IoT at investors’ meets.

Further, IoT, as a field, shall be showcased as one of the focus areas of the government at investors’ meets and road-shows that the state shall participate in. Local HNI angel networks —similar to what T-Hub did, the ITE&C Department, through T-Works, is working towards building a bustling ecosystem around hardware product startups, including IoT products.

These will create a pool of investors and mentors who, in turn, will play an active role in nurturing the ecosystem. T-Works shall work with startups to help them create pitch decks and connect with local angel investors, hand-holding them through the entire funding process. The ITE&C Department, through T-Works, will also assist startups in raising money through various crowd-funding sources.

All these measures, in a combined manner, will create an eco-system for the IoT and allied fields to grow organically in Hyderabad. This city is close to another global IT hub, Bangalore, and business hub, Mumbai, and is ideally located in a dry climatic condition zone of southern plateau. The policies of the KCR government will result in convergence of knowledge, talents and resources for growth of an Internet city.