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The need for cities to balance social, economic, and environmental resources is becoming increasingly critical. Cities, however, now have an opportunity to use the network as the platform for visualizing and modeling urban infrastructure to provide innovative urban services and manage urban sustainability. Using the network as the fourth utility (in addition to electricity, water, and natural gas), cities can integrate multiple systems to deliver on-demand services over an Internet-enabled cloud infrastructure supported by open innovation.

Busan Metropolitan City is one example of a city poised for Smart City development. Busan is South Korea’s second-largest metropolis and home to the fifth-largest port in the world. It also boasts an established 10GB broadband infrastructure, Busan Information Highway. As the city continues to grow, it faces the same environmental, economic, and social issues as other metropolitan areas. Because of this, the Busan government is investing in expanding the existing broadband infrastructure to improve urban services and service quality.

Smart City development and services is a major theme at the Meeting of the Minds 2011 conference in Boulder, CO, September 22-23, 2011. Presented by Toyota, with global sponsorship from Philips, Deutsche Bank, and Cisco, Meeting of the Minds allows participants from the public, NGO, and private sectors to engage in lively discussions on how to “connect the dots” across key sectors: mobility, building systems, energy and water resources, and finance.

Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC) provide a cloud-based Smart City services infrastructure that can help city leaders understand the necessary frameworks needed to develop management systems that accelerate information delivery and thereby improve quality of life, achieve urban sustainability and environmental goals, and increase economic efficiency and social inclusion. Cisco and its global consultancy, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), worked with the Busan Metropolitan Government to develop plans for an S+CC model called “u-City” that will help transform physical communities into Smart+Connected Communities, utilizing the network as the platform for city planning and management, and for connecting, processing, and sharing information efficiently, in real time.

Busan’s “Green u-City” incorporates a combination of green-growth initiatives and information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. u-City is based on the idea of “ubiquity”—being present everywhere at once—supported by ICT to enable the exchange of information, anywhere, at any time. In u-City, ICT infrastructure, technology, and services are integrated into housing (home automation), economic, transportation, tourism, safety and security, environmental, and other city infrastructures and systems. The result is an intelligent management system that delivers better urban services to increase economic growth and improve quality of life.

The blueprint defines a pervasive IP-enabled environment offering cloud services that improve the way citizens and businesses interact with city government and public agencies, while achieving carbon-reduction and resource-consumption goals. The blueprint also calls for a combination of free public services (referred to as “freemium”) and value-added commercial urban services through an open-innovation approach that includes services ideation, development, deployment, distribution, operation, and maintenance.

The blueprint’s ecosystem provides developers (content, applications, and infrastructure) a shared platform and convenient access to municipal data for the creation and delivery of, for example, Personal Life Assistant (PLA) services in the areas of work, energy, and security. Busan u-City is a leading example of how investments in infrastructure can enable numerous choices regarding public service provision, community engagement, public-private collaboration/partnerships, and economic growth. Public institutions (with political responsibilities) and SPs (as primary citizen interfaces) are both central to the delivery of Smart+Connected Community services.

Figure 1.     Day in the Life of a Green u-city Citizen.

Source: Cisco IBSG, 2011

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