As cities and communities prepare for the future and the Internet of Everything, they must confront a tsunami of challenges that can overwhelm how people live, work, play and learn. More than half the world now lives in cities for the first time, and the influx is growing faster than many cities can accommodate.
Today, about 500 million urban dwellers live in poverty, without access to healthcare or education. The world population will swell about 50% to more than 9 billion in the next few decades, placing huge strains on energy and food resources, jobs, transportation and more. The population in many mature cities continues to shrink while it’s booming in developing economies, triggering seismic demographic shifts worldwide.
21st Century is the Century of Urbanization
Indeed, the 21st century is shaping up to be the century of urbanization, and competition will be more between cities – not countries. That’s why it’s increasingly incumbent on all of us to foster more sustainable communities for our children – economically, socially and environmentally.
On June 18th, I had the privilege of hosting a media roundtable at the New Cities Summit held this year in Dallas, Texas, to share insights with urban officials and experts about innovative solutions they are implementing to address many of these challenges. They have turned to “connecting the unconnected” through the power of the Internet of Everything to deliver more effective urban services that are improving everything from education and public safety to parking and even more direct and democratic exchanges between government and citizens.
At Cisco, we have identified $3 trillion of economic value that can be realized by cities alone over the next decade by leveraging sensors, applications and data analytics linked to the Internet through a common platform.
Here are some highlights of the media roundtable:
Midland County, Texas, Library:
In Midland, Texas, officials struggled with declining visitors, especially young students, at the county library, composed of an old building where technology was an afterthought. By converging new digital and physical architectures at the outset, they completely rebuilt the structure into one that’s the envy of libraries everywhere. This resulted in a 1,000% increase in materials circulated and 100% increase in traffic, stated Jason Bates, Midland County, Texas, Library’s IT director; and John Trischitte, the director of Midland County, Texas, Public Libraries.
They shared about how this award-winning library enhanced patronage experience via Cisco’s fast and reliable network and solutions, such as upgrading their portal site, interactive digital signs and kiosks, online book searches, video stories, computer rooms, access controls and much more. Today, they are gratified to see more young readers spending more time there.