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Today’s cities are experiencing the emergence of a new imperative from public leaders and industries. “Digital urbanism” is rapidly becoming a central pillar for urban planners, architects, developers, and transportation providers, as well as in public service provision.

From a public leadership perspective, cities can be viewed as microcosms of the interconnected networks that make up the Internet of Everything (IoE). In fact, cities serve as “fertile ground” for realizing value from IoE.

The Cisco Consulting Services public sector and economics teams are beginning to measure the potential impact of IoE on government and the public sector. That work starts with the premise that public-sector bodies will find opportunities similar to those already being exploited in the commercial world to create new services and capabilities, or to improve existing ones.

SmartCities

For this to happen, however, city leadership must understand how the components of IoE—people, process, data, and things—play specific roles, and work together, to enable our future cities and communities.

Smart City development and services is a major theme at the Meeting of the Minds 2013 conference in Toronto, September 10-11, 2013. This event continues an ongoing global dialogue among the public and private sectors, NGOs, academia, and citizen groups. Leading urban thinkers will engage in lively discussions on how to “connect the dots” across key sectors: mobility, building systems, energy and water resources, and finance.

Cisco has been working with cities for more than a decade to address key public and private priorities; develop new business / governance models and public-private partnerships; and engage citizens in the development of enhanced experiences and utility for individuals, organizations, and society. Working with cities — Amsterdam, BarcelonaNice, New York, Busan, Chicago, and many others — Cisco has been at the forefront of new thinking about how we advance our existing and new development-led urban communities.

Cities’ explorations of the roles for technology have evolved toward a number of significant transitions:

Stage 1: Networking infrastructures
Stage 2: Transforming digital public services
Stage 3: Realizing mobility and personal interconnections
Stage 4: Growth in data: from opening up public information (open data) to real-time data flows from sensors, connected devices, and applications
Stage 5: Making use of data and analytics

Data in Motion
Networking is no longer about “data transport”; it is about “intelligence” derived from network data to achieve better business and policy outcomes. A distributed architecture is emerging where data can be analyzed in real time at the edge of the network as well as in batch-mode in the cloud. High-performance computing capability is increasingly embedded in the network to filter, screen, and analyze “data in motion.” An increasing range of new business insights, operational and policy decision making, revenue services for the public and private sectors, and city management solutions is based on data analytics derived from the network.

Developing ways to access the latent intelligence being created in the network—directly at its edges—brings information closer to communities, and promotes better citizen engagement and participation. Geo-mapping data analysis platforms, and applications of data for the retail, financial services, and real estate industries, are contributing to a rich understanding and expertise, which is being applied and developed further with some of the leading innovative city projects.

Other hot topics we are seeing emerge for city stakeholders include new approaches to city operating models, collaborative public-private ecosystems, accessing consumption economics, design thinking for effective citizen experiences, social engagement, and how technology architectures can be designed to enable all of these areas.

The lessons and frameworks from many “lighthouse” engagements can provide other cities with a “pattern language” for progressing strategies, and for developing their own city initiatives.

For more information on these perspectives, a point-of-view paper is available here:

The Internet of Everything for Cities – A Cisco Point of View paper

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