Enlightening a Smart India: Xtreme Media and the Smart City Vision for Surat


On June 25, 2015, Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi declared an ambitious mission - to create 100 smart cities across India.

However, to many observers, this was a vision termed too ambitious. How can you create 100 smart cities in a country like India, where even small infrastructure projects often take decades to take off from the ground? The answer is fairly straightforward - you take one step at a time in the right direction.

The Smart City Mission selected Surat as one of the 100 cities to be transformed into Smart Cities over the next few years. In January the subsequent year, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Minister of Urban Development for the Government of India, announced a list of twenty winners in the Smart City Challenge - Round 1. To no surprise, Surat's achievements, strategic initiatives, and inclusivity ranked it in this list of twenty cities.

Hence, began the journey of transforming one of the most iconic industrial centres in India into one of its very first smart cities. But, as you would notice, the ambition was indeed hefty and immediately after the win, the city had to announce a megaproject.

Project Details

LED series Rigel Plus
Pixel Pitch (mm) 5.9 mm
Screen size 4800mm x 1920mm
Screen resolution 810 x 324
Innovation Remote monitoring via Vigilant Technology

Enlightening the Vision: From Vision to Execution

If you have ever owned a commercial property or worked with one, you would know the lead time required to install one LED display unit. It takes several weeks to look for alternative vendors, establish decision-making criteria, finalise the commercials, and install a reliable solution. Despite the care in the process, the result is often underwhelming.

Now, take the same set of challenges and multiply them by 60. Then, add the complexities of government bureaucracies and the need to deliver on a demanding schedule. As a result, the ambitions of the Smart City project started shadowing the execution plans at Surat.

The city invited bids from several vendors and technology companies in the commercial LED lighting space to install 60 outdoor LED displays across the city with the necessary software to operate and administer them. Xtreme Media was one of the frontrunners in the tendering process.

The biggest challenge for the government authorities was to ensure that the solution they finalised would deliver on the national government's vision and stand as a tall example of what the local authorities could deliver. The world was watching, and hence every step in the process had to be perfect.

The governmental authorities did a commendable job of running the tendering process. Towards the culmination of the process, Xtreme Media was declared the chosen solution partner for all the 60 LED walls. And hence, the vision that was envisioned in 2015 eventually started coming to reality in the streets of Surat.

How Did Xtreme Media Emerge as the Partner of Choice?

In the eventual stages of the tendering process, Xtreme Media stood against two major American LED-supplying multinational companies. To many, this might seem to be a challenge. But, for Team Xtreme Media, this was an opportunity.

The initial challenge was to put together the documentation & certifications required to be in the running of the due process. The Tender Team at Xtreme Media shouldered these responsibilities and took care of every checkbox, list, and constraint established in the tendering process.

The real reason Xtreme Media stood out among the contenders was simple - all the solutions offered by Xtreme Media have been developed, engineered, and tested for the Indian environment. Moreover, Xtreme has been establishing new standards of reliable innovation since its inception with projects like India’s tallest LED Video wall, India’s largest LED video wall, and the country’s first 4K LED video wall, curved LED video wall, and floating LED video wall.

The Chosen One: Xtreme Media’s Rigel Plus, Signage, and More

Scale is both the driving force and the biggest risk parameter for such projects. Many vendors are attracted by the scale of installing 60 LED displays across a city. But, only a selected few can maintain performance standards and unit economics for projects of such scale. Xtreme Media delivered on both promises with an industry-revered set of solutions.

1. Rigel Plus

The project is ambitious - no matter how you look at it. So the team decided to work with one of the most reliable solutions engineered under the Xtreme Media banner - Rigel Plus.

Rigel Plus carries a pixel pitch of 5.9 mm. (Refresher: Pixel pitch is the distance between two pixels. The closer the pixels, the clearer the picture.)

The LEDs measure 4800mm x 1920mm . The pixel pitch, in that context, is 0.02 foot or less than 0.13% of the LED's width. This level of accuracy ensures that the images and messages displayed on the LEDs would be visible from all reasonable distances. The only challenge is the weather. So how do you ensure display consistency in the Indian climate?

This is exactly the type of challenge Rigel Plus was engineered to solve. It delivers consistent display performance in sunlight, dust, and water. Moreover, it delivers a brightness of 6,000 nits. To put this measure in context, your phone's display is perfectly visible in the sunlight and has a brightness of about 400-500 nits.

One of the most critical challenges in such projects is to ensure reliable performance. Historically, government projects are not the most reliable projects in terms of performance in India. However, that is changing with initiatives like the Smart City project. Xtreme Media was in tandem with this change in trend and hence developed Vigilant Technology.

Most LED display units, even the commercial ones, have a reactive approach to power surges, pixel distortion, or screen outages. As a result, the problem is addressed only after it has occurred. Vigilant Technology changes this and provides proactive control in the hands of the operator. Xtreme Media provided Vigilant Technology integration for all the 60 LEDs to the designated officials. This ensures that the operators have access to real-time fault updates, auto-brightness adjustment, intelligent analytics, reduced response times, and a dedicated performance dashboard.

To top it off, Rigel Plus is built with die-cast aluminium. This ensures that the entire unit is lightweight, easier to install, and more cost-effective for maintenance.

2. Xtreme Signage + XM Media Player

The LED screen is the end of the solution to the untrained eye. But industry experts understand that the display is only the user-side of the project. The right software integrations ensure that each LED functions like clockwork and showcases the message it is designed to deliver.

The Xtreme Media team integrated the XtremeSignage & XM Media Player into a cohesive solution. XtremeSignage provides a registered media player, content uploading system, layout design functionality, and scheduling features. In short, the government's media team can run each of the 60 LEDs like a media agency. The XM Media Player is a one-of-its-kind range of media players that help LED screens turn into media behemoths that can deliver 4k resolution in different screen orientations & sizes.

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