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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: A Brighter Tomorrow

In my last blog, I discussed the benefits of Smart City cloud management capabilities. An intelligent IP-enabled network unites multiple services onto one infrastructure, allowing for tight operations management and lower expenses. Operating this network remotely, through the cloud, further enhances the capability for sustainable, effective city management.

As Smart City visions emerge in various projects in local government, we will see a combination of new ways of thinking, designing, planning, executing, and managing. Busan, South Korea has already discovered the powerful benefits of cloud infrastructure to create Smart+Connected Communities solutions. The government partnered with companies to create a Mobile Application Center to utilize city assets and the connected network. (You can also watch a video series, “Cities of the Future,” on Songdo, South Korea and how this new connected Smart City was designed, planned, and built.)

There are some important steps that other cities and governments can take to harness the power of the cloud to become more connected, efficient, and sustainable. A process on how to answer the Smart City call to action is further outlined in Cisco’s POV paper, “Smart City Framework,” and video.

1.     Use one intelligent, multiservice IP network.

This is the overarching mantra of a Smart City—connect systems and services to improve city livability. While it can seem daunting, it’s important to remember the long-term benefits of a connected city, especially using cloud management. Some of the most promising Smart City projects have shown that it’s possible to use the network to achieve some major goals of state and local government, including efficient city management and economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Savvy government leaders are recognizing the untapped power of the network and incorporating its potential into the early stages of planning and development. Many cities have experimented with including information and communications technology (ICT) solutions through small-scale “proof of concept” projects. Since budgets are so limited, it can be difficult to adopt a purely centralized approach, which means trying new techniques and learning from the enterprise sector.

2.     Build a foundation for public-private partnerships.

Government agencies and city leaders cannot create smart, connected urban communities alone. Frameworks are needed for relationships between the public and private sectors.

Winning strategies seem to be the ones that enable citizens, business leaders, and policymakers to drive job growth, increase economic opportunity, and provide improved citizen services. The goal is simple: enable effective partnerships by linking governments with private enterprises and citizen organizations focused on creating economically competitive, socially cohesive, and environmentally clean communities. Innovative ICT solutions can be critical tools for those reinventing enterprise, government, and city services. This kind of collaboration between the public and private sectors can provide successful conditions for these new business models, which—ideally—encourage the private sector to take a more active role in upgrading city services and infrastructure.

3.     Regulations are needed to standardize the uses of ICT.

Governments regulate the three traditional utilities—water, gas, and electricity—with a clear and consistent framework. City leaders are discovering that the broadband network has become the fourth utility.  Regulations are necessary to standardize the uses of ICT in developing new urban communities and in providing services to the public.

It is essential to consider design principles for Smart City network regulations that can accelerate development. Governments should consider their role, and the desired outcome of regulations. Incorporating ICT requirements and standardized procedures into Smart City developments will take serious consideration and planning.

As cities continue to experiment with the network and cloud, there will be fantastic opportunities to hear from leaders about their progress, mistakes, and opportunities to readjust. In September, Meeting of the Minds will offer a podium for leaders to discuss what has happened thus far in their journey to become a Smart City, and what is to come in the future. If you are considering next steps to become a Smart City, I would highly recommend this event. As we all work to become more connected, efficient, and sustainable, collaboration among all companies, individuals, and organizations is vital.

Stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this two-part blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.

To read this blog in Spanish, click here.  For Portuguese, click here.

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