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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.

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Inside One Asian City’s Strategy

Busan is at the forefront of something big.

As South Korea’s second-largest metropolitan city, Busan boasts a population of about 3.6 million, and is home to a slew of major companies, government agencies, universities, annual festivals, and conferences. Busan is the country’s largest container-handling port, and the fifth- largest in the world. Like other metropolitan areas, the city struggles with managing terrible traffic congestion and the attendant high logistical costs; maintaining job-creation momentum for the 60,000 high-quality and high-skill job seekers who graduate from area universities each year; and meeting the demand for an innovative city operations system that helps ensure global competitiveness.

Cisco IBSG has been working with Busan’s Metropolitan Government to develop plans for a “u-City.” U, in this case, stands for “ubiquitous,” which also describes the city’s broadband penetration. Busan’s “smart and connected” urban communities use the network as a platform—on top of which it can deploy innovative urban-planning solutions and city management services. The city uses the network to connect, process, and share information efficiently, and in real time. Read More »

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Building Cities in the Clouds in Asia

Imagine being able to download services such as an e-learning course, health check-ups or a high-definition video conference session with your friends, family or business associates anywhere in the world from your smart phone or network-enabled TV at home.

Need to tweak your energy usage up or down? Check on your little one in kindergarten? Or ask your city council to help with some bulky refuse? Just a few taps on your smart phone or remote control gets the job done.

Just as we today download apps for our iPhone or Android devices, citizens in Busan Metropolitan City, at the heart Korea’s second largest mega city region, will soon be able to request for services or download applications for their everyday needs.

Busan may only have a population of around 3.7 million but it’s the world’s fifth largest port, and also a leading producer of semi-conductors, automobiles and iron and steel. The city is clearly aiming higher and working with private sector companies like Cisco to achieve its ambitions to be a smart city.

This bold vision took the first step towards reality with the opening of an innovation center, called the Busan Mobile Application Center (BMAC), which will provide developers with an environment to create and test these applications and services.

Launch of the Busan Mobile Application Center.

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