As India looks to build 100 smart cities and lower crime levels, French company Thales is trying to get a foothold in the business of keeping Indian cities and the country’s borders safe.

The €13-billion company, which has expertise in deploying total video surveillance systems in countries such as Mexico, says that a safe city is the foundation of a smart city, adding that its project helped Mexico lower the crime and car theft levels.

On what constitutes a safe city, Yan Levy, Business Development Director, Thales Communications and Security, said, “All processes, organisations, tools that are dedicated to security agencies in the city that are able to manage daily security missions apart from large events. We need to define how the city wants to operate in order to provide security to its citizens. After that, tools for citizens and organisations have to be developed and integrated.”

On whether Thales is tying up with Indian players in the software analytics or manufacturing space, Levy said it is in discussion with many local companies.

Local tie-ups

“We are trying to understand this market and so are the local partners. So, we are trying to understand the generic definition of each project.”

Levy said: “We are waiting for bids to understand the nature of project,” without sharing any details.

Paolo Salvato, VP-Director of Eurasia and Asia Pacific clusters, said: “India is the biggest market in the world in terms of planning smart cities.” Also, India has to deal with threats of terrorism, or women’s assault and traffic management, he added.

To deal with potential conflict between video-surveillance and privacy, Levy said Thales operates by the laws of the countries. For instance, they have solutions where the level of surveillance is much detailed in public spaces than in private streets.

‘No compromise’

On whether the company, with over 10,000 patents, has any low-cost solution for India, he said security and health are two areas where people do not compromise on costs.

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