News: Mission Smart Cities – Pragyan Youth Summit 2018

The second edition of the Pragyan Youth Summit, an initiative of Pragyan, the annual techno-managerial fest of NIT Trichy, was held on 20th January 2018. The theme for this edition of the Summit was titled “Mission Smart Cities”. The previous edition of the Summit was centred around the theme of “India’s Innovation Imperative”.

Mission Smart Cities as a theme aimed to educate the youth on how they could integrate many new-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet Of Things to create a cleaner and better ecosystem. This kind of an ecosystem, where automation is the most central tool, is expected to serve the citizens better and offer comprehensive development in the sectors of “institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure.”

The Summit, held at the Westin, Velachery in Chennai, was flagged off with the Inauguration, followed by a Keynote address from Mr. Bipin Pradeep Kumar, co-founder, and director of Gaia Smart Cities. The address covered the essential elements of the theme. Mr. Kumar highlighted the various features of a typical Smart City and detailed the working process which will help us ideate and create one.

After a tea break, the Summit’s signature event, Pitchfest, was held. The event saw 8 finalists. shortlisted from an online round held before the beginning of the Summit. The 8 finalists were given a limited period of time to pitch their ideas and solutions to develop the perfect Smart City. The winners of the event were announced in the end by the jury consisting of varied dignitaries from Paypal and IITM Incubation Cell. The winning idea came from Jayvardhan Rathi from NIT Trichy, who proposed the idea of Methartis to combat global warming in Smart Cities. The second and third places were bagged by Swati Dhamodaran from NIT Trichy and Vanthian Balasubramanian from SRM Institute of Science & Technology.

Pitchfest was followed by a luncheon for the participants of the Summit. Later a panel discussion was held on the topic of “Changing Technologies for Future Cities”. The discussion saw the best of experts display a healthy exchange of ideas as to what could be done to achieve the goal of a smart city that serves everyone equally and well.

The panelists were experts from diverse parts of the country namely, Dr. Amiya Kumar Sahu (President, National Solid Waste Association of India), Ms. Karuna Gopal (Founder, Foundation for Futuristic Cities), Mr. Amitabh Satyam (Chief Mentor, Smart City Transformations) and Mr. Srinivasa Raghavan Venkatachari (Principal Consultant, Tata Consultancy Services). Mr. John Samuel Raja D, the founder of How India Lives, functioned as the moderator for the panel, bringing the right amount of balance to the panel.

Later, the founder and CEO of Kabadiwalla Connect, Mr. Siddarth Hande gave an energetic Youth Talk to the audience gathered. The Youth Talk saw Mr. Hande detail what goes behind the effective handling of waste management and how Kabadiwalla Connect makes this handling easier. He also invoked inspiration in the audience by going back down memory lane, chronicling the story of how he was inspired to do what he does.

The participants were in for another enlightening experience, thanks to the Smart Cities Development Workshop conducted by CISCO Systems Inc. The workshop taught the youth how to make use of modern day technologies like Connected Digital Platform and Internet Of Things to better serve people by creating a database of interconnections between humans, data, devices, and processes.

The Pragyan Youth Summit came to an end with the Valediction Ceremony. The event saw participation from youth gathered from various colleges farther and nearer. The Summit is expected to bring considerable amount of traction to Pragyan, which is scheduled on 1 March – 4 March 2018.

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