Exclusive Interview – Nitin Shah


Truly transformational leaders who have the ability to preempt the shift in the industry with their knowledge and foresight remain rare in business. Which is why Nitin Shah is so fascinating.

For over two decades, ever since he started Allied Digital Services, Nitin Shah, the Chairman and Managing Director of this fastest growing global IT Company with Indian origin, he has been a commercial innovator, cultural inspiration, and entrepreneurial icon. His passionate perfectionism, enthusiastic commitment, piercing dedication and vision, is embedded in the DNA of Allied Digital Services today.

With a degree in Electrical Engineering from VJTI, India followed by a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; Nitin Shah hailed to become one of the frontrunners of India’s IT revolution. Back in 1984, Shah started his venture to support and service large mainframes and minicomputers after gaining valuable experience in companies like Crompton Greaves Ltd, CMC Limited etc. Over time, he expanded his services to clients across the domestic market and managed to list his company in the National Stock Exchange. A visionary of sorts, Nitin Shah decided to expand his company’s footprint into global markets and as we speak, Allied Digital has set foot and established itself in markets such as USA, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, Europe and the Middle East.

Mr Shah is a member of Manufacturer’s Association of Information Technology and Traders Association of Information Technology. He is also a member in the Business Expert’s Panel in Indian Express publication. Mr Shah has an experience of thirty two (32) years in the IT industry. He was nominated in the Who’s Who of the World list and won the International Professional of the Year in 2005. He had been nominated for the 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Ernst & Young. Mr Shah was honoured with Pride of India award given by IES, Dubai and Chairman of The Year award given by 24MRC/IBN7 in New Delhi. Mr Shah has been recognized by Enterprise Asia for the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award as the Most Outstanding Entrepreneur, 2011 for building a high-flying IT company without taking his feet off the ground. Mr Shah has also been featured as Mr Modesty in THE SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP a Coffee Table Book by Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL).

Mr Shah formed Padma Pragna Trust in the year 2009-2010, an initiative to share and provide necessary support in the form of expertise, consulting, monetary incentives etc. for social initiatives. He is a supreme example of a transformational leader who has always stood for higher order values and has become one of the leading entrepreneurial icons of the IT industry.

1) Can you share with us what new projects your company is doing now days ?

Allied Digital is currently engaged in addressing requirement of Smart and Safe city and providing digital transformation for several enterprise customers. We are also engaged in cyber security and offering Infrastructure management services.

2) CCTV surveillance is a component of the Smart Cities project. There is also a fair chance for this round – the – clock monitoring to be misused & it might infringe on a citizen’s privacy. What efforts should be taken to protect the privacy of the citizens ?

There should be a clearly defined Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure that only authorised persons are allowed to operate the system and copying / distribution of Video footage should be monitored and logged. There should also be features such as selectively masking certain areas in the frame from monitoring that may infringe on citizens privacy.

3) Can Smart Cities change the face of this country?

Smart Cities will have enormous impact on the way the agencies operate since data will be collected in real time from various sources such as water supply, pollution sensors for harmful gases, waste management to create a Big Data that will be analysed to generate reports for taking timely and appropriate decisions by the concerned authorities. In essence this will significantly improve the efficiency of the administration that will help in improving the quality of life of the citizens. Smart City projects are long term – typically 10 to 15 years and require meticulous planning and execution combined with financial resources. Also solution for each city will be unique due to local conditions. Therefore one can safely say that Smart Cities will change the face of this country over a period of time. It cannot have significant impact in short time and people should be realistic about their expectations from the Smart Cities.

4) Will increasing number of smart cities boost PM’s vision of Digital India program ?

Increasing the number of smart cities will certainly boost PM’s vision of Digital India since digital backbone is a precursor to such projects that will enable various entities to be digitally connected. Smart city is a citizen centric initiative and will help in better governance for all citizens -rural and urban, leading to reducing the digital divide in the country.

5) How do you think that Smart Cities will benefit its citizens ?

Smart city will benefit the citizens through : Better and efficient administration Improved infrastructure for mobility with unified payment system for government levies and utility bills from common service centre and also for fare collection for all forms of transportation such as metro, bus and ferry enhancing productivity. Smart City will attract investment that will result in increased employment opportunity for the inhabitants.

6) Is Smart City just a new name for an old idea & can it work in India ?

The idea of managing a city efficiently has always been under consideration. However the emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IOT) and Big Data Analytics are providing the tools that can deliver Smart City Project most effectively that has created the interests of Government and citizens.

7) What are some revolutionary ideas in making a city “Smart” ?

Each City has its own intrinsic issues. Therefore a revolutionary idea for one city may not be applicable to another. Cities like Mumbai and Kolkata will need very creative thinking to make them Smart.

8) How do you think Communication can be improved under the Smart City concept ?

The Smart City Concept has a common digital backbone that is used by multiple solutions such as City Surveillance, ITMS, and e – Governance. The digital backbone provides an efficient communication platform for all stakeholders – Government, agencies and inhabitants.

9) How Can the Snarled Traffic be tackled in Smart Cities ?

Intelligent Traffic Management system (ITMS) is an important part of the smart city project that helps in efficient management of the traffic reducing congestion. As part of this system the Adaptive Traffic Control system helps in dynamically controlling the traffic signalling system in the city depending on the traffic volume. This system alters the duration of the signal time based on traffic volume monitored through CCTV cameras to ensure steady movement of vehicles. Furthermore ITMS provides real time data on traffic to allow people to plan their route avoiding congested roads.

10) Will health care also improve in Smart Cities ? How can it benefit the residents?

Smart Cities will certainly have a positive impact on the health care delivery infrastructure of the city. Remote diagnostic, telemedicine and diagnostic reports being available on health care provider portal will greatly facilitate providing efficient medical service to the patients. For residents, the commuting time to the health centre will reduce significantly and the healthcare service provider will be able to attend more patients in a given time frame.

11) How do you think that the Smart City concept would improve the Government Department Dealing ?

Internet access to everyone will provide citizens with easy access to Government e – Services that will compel Government Employees to raise their efficiency level due to online transactions that leaves a digital trace for future auditing. This increase in efficiency will project a better image of the Government and encourage adoption at other levels.

12) You are a very well-known name, What is your advice to the youth of our nation & also to the industry in general ?

Entire industry is going digital and has to provide digital platform to undertake transactions be it e-commerce, e-healthcare, e-education etc. We expect the gen-next to adapt to digital world and start using the digital platform for every sphere of life. Enhanced use of social media to share information, network with the outside world and providing opinion is gaining impetus and will enable them to be a part of policy making. This will also lead to inclusive decision making.