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Creating common information highway of machines-sensors-meters to connect to the Net and get integrated into our daily lives and processes.



Gaia Team proposes creation of a Ultra-Narrow-Band Low-Power, Low Throughput sensor network for smart cities and villages with a common infrastructure for the 2 proposed cities and 6 villages close to the city.

The pilot will provide a smart and common metering infrastructure for Utilities, integrating meter data reading capabilities for Water, Gas and Power meters, a first in the world.

The proposed pilot is at the city of Hubli-Dharwad and the nearby city of Ilkal and the cost of the entire pilot project is USD 20 Million, spread over 7 years, with first 2 years for meter and infrastructure deployment and the next 5 years for operations.

We seek 15 Million USD to implement, operate and manage the pilot. The funding cost is the fixed cost of the pilot for the first 2 years and the break even is in the 4th year of operations, with water and gas meter data reading itself. Implementation of all other smart solutions, will use the same infrastructure and happen at an marginal incremental cost and will generate their own revenue stream.

The reason to chose the pilot site is the presence of existing private clients, who already have won contracts to manage water and gas utilities individually and can immediately benefit from the proposed GAIA network


The municipalities at the pilot site have awarded the client, Subhash Projects And Marketing Limited (SPML), the contract for a pilot to serve 150,000 citizens including slum dwellers, for 24*7 continuous supply of water, at Hubli - Dharwad region and another 65,000 citizens at nearby city of Ilkal.

Another private Gas operator is supplying the piped natural gas to the same 2,25,000 citizens at Hubli-Dharwad region and to the citizens of Ilkal city

The proposed network of the pilot can be replicated at all the MoUD’s propsoed 98 Smart Cities, along with the Amrut Cities (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation), the Hriday City anchors (Heritage City Development & Augmentation Yojana) and the Hon Prime Minister Modi’s Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan.

Gaia Smart Cities proposal is a combination of several ideas that make it very unique.

Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

About Gaia

At Gaia "We connect things together" is our philosophy. Gaia is the Next Generation Telecom Solutions company that aims to build a country-wide Telco-grade IOT (Internet of Things) platform and a Low-Power Sensor Network that will provide heterogeneous network platform for Smart City Solutions.

The Proposal

Our proposal ‘Smart City Common ICT infrastructure for Internet of Meters and Sensors’ is an innovative way of creating common information highway of machines-sensors-meters to connect to the Net and get integrated into our daily lives and processes.

The pilot is to create awareness in the society against wastages and bring in self consciousness among citizens by using an innovative approach for measuring utility  distribution and consumption in the city, at a pilot scale, using LoRA technology which would include implanting a chip on the existing  water and gas meters, to give them the ability to become smart and capable for M2M communication.

We aim to first create a benchmark of water & gas distribution and consumption scenario in the city, starting with the pilot. The benchmark analysis would provide an ‘as-is’ picture of the utility usage pattern prevalent in the cities and would give us an opportunity to make the entire water and gas distribution network more efficient by showing the baseline scenario of usage pattern, theft, loses, illegal connections, leakages and non-revenue water and gas, which is at present resulting in large quantities being wasted per day.

Earlier in India, AMR projects have been done, which included AMR modules, meter reading system (handheld terminals) and the AMR software. Their success though has been limited because of the requirement of the system for GPS functionality and the lack of training of the meter readers of contractors, which have led to non-successful deployments.

Our suggested solution through LoRA technology, will overcome the problems faced by previous deployments and would build on the learnings of earlier pilot projects. The uniqueness of the pilot is the integration of all the utilities through one communication module and the ability to use common infrastructure. Our intended solution will provide alerts for fraud attempts and leakages events, which will enable the utilities, both public and private, to accurately, bill its customers.

We are also suggesting a path-breaking approach to implementing smartness across India and have included it in the scope of our pilot. We will follow a 6+6 model, which uses the shared infrastructure with the adjoining 6 villages to the city making both smart cities and smart villages. Solutions like Smart Healthcare, Smart Agriculture, Smart Education would have a exponential rate of adoption in our Indian villages, once the network reaches the villages , doing that by leveraging the cost of smart implementation at the nearby big cities. Going forward, we would aim to replicate our 6+6 models to all the major cities in India and develop our Gaia network, all using the common infrastructure.

Details about the Pilot                                                                                                                                             

1          The proposed pilot is at the city of Hubli-Dharwad and the nearby city of Ilkal                                                                                                                           

2          The reason to chose the site is due to the presence of private clients, who already have won contracts to manage water and gas utilities and can immediately benefit from GAIA network                                                                                                                             

3          Our private client, Subhash Projects And Marketing Limited (SPML) is incharge of both Bulk and city distribution (Karnataka Water Board) and have implemented Customer Information System covering more than 4,00,000 population, GIS and Network Asset (Pipe) Management of the entire Dharwad city, with NRW reduction from 46% to 28%. As part of phase 2, they have won the contract for a pilot to serve 1,50,000, including slum dwellers, for 24*7 continuous supply of water, at Hubli - Dharwad region and another 65,000 citizens at nearby city of Ilkal. The Gaia network would directly impact their profitability.                                                                                                                                      

4          Another private gas operator plans to supply the gas to the same citizens at Hubli-Dharwad region and to the citizens of Ilkal city.                                                                                                                                                                            


With the MSP Approach (M2M service provider) of creating a virtualization layer over existing 2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi Networks that allows machines to connect ubiquitously without external developers worrying about underlying network technology from existing telecom companies. The access device will be powered by a chipset that supports all the above networks.

Sensor Network:  We will create a separate Ultra-Narrow-Band Low-Power, Low Throughput Sensor Network that will allow sensors and actuators to connect to the head-end at low cost and remain hands-free over multiple years. This is of utmost importance to get the Smart City infrastructure implemented.

The Network comprises of:

a)        Communication module made up of a LORA chip, a sensor and a battery 

b)        A gateway with an antenna

c)         Cloud based server 

d)        2G/3G/4G data pack for gateway communication to the server, monthly requirement of 100 MB of data transfer, per gateway

Explanation of the per unit cost

a)        The cost of a communication module is INR 1500, one communication module is required per connection of both water and gas meter.

b)        The cost of water meter and gas meter is INR 900 respectively

c)         The gateway with antenna cost is USD 1000 per unit and the cloud server cost is USD 1000 per year per server

d)        One gateway covers an area of ~ 2 sq km in an urban setting and ~ 5 km in villages, therefore we require 70 Antennas for Hubli-Dharwad region (200 sq km)and 30 antennas in the Ilkal city.

e)        Similarly, 7 servers for the Hubli-Dharwad region and 3 servers for Ilkal city 

f)         The deployment is INR 250 per meter which will be recovered from the client

g)         The software development cost is a one time cost for continuous development of software

h)        Data Pack cost of INR 150 per gateway available from any telecom operator for INR 300

i)         The network maintenance cost is roughly 20% of the capital asset of the communication modules

Funding Required

We are seeking a funding of 15 Million USD, to set up the entire network infrastructure for the first two years of the pilot.

Our proposed network will be World’s first for reading Water, Gas and Power through a Common data infrastructure with the ability to bill the customer 

The innovation is not in the technology but the application of available solutions and its integration for all the smart solutions

With the help of the money for the pilot, we intend to prove scale of the proposal and not the ‘proof of concept’ as all the things work independently, but their integration through a common infrastructure on which other smart solutions cane be integrated has not been done. 

Policy Support

The Governemnt of India has a major thrust for implementation of smart cities. The focus is on improving urban areas, the government's three schemes for the purpose — 100 Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for 500 cities and towns, and Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) covering 12 — will cover most of the cities and towns across the country.

The following missions have a direct relation with the proposed pilot:

•          Smart Cities Mission

•          Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)

•          Swatch Bharat Mission

•          Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana

•          Digital India Mission – Center of Excellence for IoT

Our innovation is the use of same funds and same network as being used for developing the smart city for the adjoining villages and converting them into smart and sustainable villages.


Our aim through the network is to create not just smart cities but Sustainable smart cities, and have thus identified all the stakeholders for a sustainable smart city as follows:

•          Municipalities and city administration areas

•          National and regional governments

•          City services companies

•          Utility providers

•          ICT Companies

•          NGOs

•          International, Regional & Multilateral Organizations

•          Industry associations

•          Academia, research organizations & specialized bodies scientific community

•          Citizens and citizen organizations

•          Urban Planners

•          Standardization Bodies

Relationship between Water, Energy and Climate Change

Both water and energy are essential in our life. The global demand for energy and water is increasing and at the same time water and energy issues are closely interlinked. Water is used to produce energy; energy is needed to provide water. Both water and energy are needed to grow food crops; crops can in turn be used to provide energy.

Both water and energy use can have adverse impact on the ecosystems. Climate change will affect the availability and use of both energy and water. Supplies of water and energy are thus interdependent.

In addition to climate change, the forecasted increase in world population growth (especially in urban areas and cities) over the next 20 year or so will also lead to significant challenges to problem of increasing water demand especially in areas of food security and fresh water supply availability.

Smart Network for Utility providers

Utility providers offer services, such as electricity and gas, directly to the citizen. They usually integrate production, distribution and commercialization aspects, which provide them with expertise in all the different links of the value chain.

Utility providers cover extensive parts of the city’s territory. For this reason, the upgrade of their systems and the inclusion of ICT in their infrastructures implies a massive rollout and requires a considerable investment. One of the problems that they face nowadays is the morphology of the demand curve, which has peak and valley hours with very different consumption values. In the case of the electricity providers is complex to adapt to this curve, which is one of the issues that constraints the development and implementation of renewable energies. With the implementation of ICT based solutions, a smarter and sustainable network could flatten the demand curve and also increase the predictability of the demand.

Common Information Grid

Breaking the silos, and building a common information infrastructure for a city that can be shared or utilized across departments and utilities. A common information model needs to be evolved, which integrates data catalogs by all government departments. It promotes transparency and greater citizen engagement by making government data, documents, tools and processes publicly available, and it reduces costs and brings in solutions that can scale.

To summarize, to truly turn the Smart city vision into reality, we need to dream - of new possibilities; of achieving the yet unachieved. We need to look at bigger pictures and be more inclusive; we are interconnected, so stop looking at it as one isolated city. And we need to put in more holistically impacting systems, city-wide; not go back to silo’d, verticalized solutions.

Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

Regional Stanford EMF27 modeling tool

The analysis shows a reduction of 2 Gigatons of GHG emissions over the time frame of 100 years.

Reason for emission reduction is, measurement of consumption of water, gas and power leads to peak load demand management by utilities.

Measurement through sensor network over the entire water network of the city leads to reduction of non- revenue water (NRW), which averages 40% for most Indian cities, i.e. savings on an average of overall 40% of water which otherwise gets wasted.

An Indian family pays more in pumping costs than in water tariffs, because of private storage tanks, pumps and treatment systems, and experts estimate 40% as the cost of power to supply water.

As, IPCC Technical Paper VI, shows India experiencing water stress and rainfall likely to decrease as the climate changes, 40% savings in water and 40% savings in power through the sensor network means more water available for land use, agriculture and forestry.

What are the plan’s key benefits?

The benefits of the common ICT infrastructure for Internet of Meters and Sensors is effective utilization of resources and leveraging costs of network for pan city operation and also achieving the end state goals of a society leading to better quality of life for the citizens of a state.

Benefits to the utilities include ability to reduce peak load consumption through demand side management, volumetric tariffs, lifeline tariffs, awareness building, 100% metering and implement demand response measures.

Specific smart solution providers can create more refined solutions in different domains like power, water, sewage, waste management, healthcare, transportation, agriculture etc using these core capabilities.

  • Repeatable Solutions, working with customers in cooperation
  • Partnerships and networks across the value chain
  • Shared infrastructures and shared information
  • Networks with characteristics that are suited to machines
  • Collaboration between citizens, industry and governments


What are the plan’s costs?


a) Fixed Cost = 14.735 M$ (Million USD)

b) Operational Cost = 5.015 M$

Project time period = 7 years

Fixed cost of 15 M$ is our funding requirement to set up the sensor network for the first 2 years.

Total project cost is = 13.75 M$ + 6 M$= 19.75 M$

B) Revenue

a) Recovery cost: from the private client, SPML & Gas network operator, for deploying the sensor network.

This is cost of meters + cost of deployment = 8.25 M$ which will be available post deployment in the 3rd year.

b) Meter Reading Revenue charged at 1 Re / meter / day

This is available as we start the operations, i.e from the 3rd year till the 7th year.

The meter reading revenue per year is 2.62 M$ totaling to 13.1 M$ for 5 years.

Thus, the overall revenue generated is 8.25 M$ + 13.1 M$ = 21.35 M$

C) Overall Profit = 21.35 M$ - 19.75 M$ = 1.6 M$

The payback is after 4 years of operation with water and gas meter data reading itself.

Other smart solutions would be added using the same network at a marginal incremental cost.

What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

Key risks to a rapid adoption and growth include:

1.     Technology and platform standardization

2.     Spectrum for Sensor networks

3.     Fragmented requirements

4.     Governmental apathy and implementation paralysis 

5.     Continuing evolution of business models

6.     Relatively low M2M ARPU (typically 1/10th of handset ARPU)

7.     Team that understands solutions

We intend to overcome the challenges by having a ‘ready team’.

The Gaia team consists of M2M/IOT teams of all the telcos in India (Reliance, Tata, Vodafone, Idea) in India, and solution providers like Ericsson, IBM, Cisco, Qualcomm, Google, GE and Honeywell. 

We have also signed agreement to merge three start-up companies and 120 people to get quick access to an IOT Platform and a young dynamic team.

The founders are associated with National and International Standards bodies like TSDSI, ITU and also visiting faculty in reputed US Universities as experts on Smart Cities, Telecom and Information Systems. 



The pilot project is for a period of 7 years.

For the initial 2 years, we intend to deploy water meters and gas meters at 2,25,000 connections and create the communication the sensor network infrastructure for meter data reading.

The operations of the network will happen from the third year till the seventh year of the pilot.

The network pays for itself, through water & gas meter data readings, by the end of fourth year of operation.

The key initiative between now and 2015 will be meter data reading for Power meters and implementation of smart solutions like smart healthcare, smart agriculture, waste management, asset tracking through the same network at a marginal incremental cost.

The Smart City Common ICT infrastructure will be replicated at all the Indian cities (and global cities) which aim to convert into smart cities through the MoUD’s Smart Cities Mission, the AMRUT Mission and the HRIDAY scheme, with an additional incentive to convert the nearby villages into Smart villages.

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Smart Cities Readiness Guide: The Planning Manual for Building Tomorrow's Cities Today, Smart Cities Council,