With the aim of setting up smart cities in India in partnership with citizens, the University of California, Berkeley, has announced the launch of a Smart City Co-Innovation lab (Smart City 4.0) on Monday to provide a platform to large, mid-size companies, start-ups and the local government to innovate with citizens for creating sustainable smart-city solutions and last-mile business models.

“The programme will invite young people between the ages of 18 and 29 and students. Artificial intelligence, water, energy, transportation, waste management, healthcare, climate and smart agriculture will be the areas of focus,” an official release said.

Set up in collaboration with United States India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and 1M1B (1 Million for 1 Billion), an India-based job creation initiative, the Smart City 4.0 aims to develop skills for the fourth industrial revolution and accelerates technologies from young innovators, start-ups and large corporations to create the best solutions for making cities smart, safe and sustainable.

“We are trying to think differently. Our main focus is on customers, then on business mode and lastly on product development. There are many institutes which focus on building products but that goes last here,” said Andre Marquis, Founder, Innovation Acceleration Group at UC Berkeley Executive Education.

The platform will provide an opportunity for young innovators to come up with the best solution for making Indian cities smart. Allahabad will be the first city where the Smart City Co-Innovation lab would be set up.

“Since everything cannot focus around metro cities, we are looking at tier II cities as there is a need to develop talent in such areas. The aim is to teach them how to create solutions that have most impact on their cities,” said Manav Subodh, Director, International Development, Innovation Acceleration Group at UC Berkeley Executive Education.

He added, that the initiative was focusing on how to co-create and co-innovate the technology which is made in India, for India and by the people of India.