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How France is Embracing Digitization of Everything

I spent time in France last week, and it’s clear to me that the French tech scene is at an inflection point. The time to invest in France’s future is now. And with more startups than any other European country at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, and a strong infrastructure in place, France is primed to embrace the latest technology transition: digitization of everything.

Digitization, which harnesses the power of what we call the Internet of Everything at Cisco — the connection of people, process, data and things — will change everything from the way we work to how we serve citizens, and teach our young people.

I believe that France will lead in this new era of country digitization. The French government truly understands the economic and societal benefits digitization will bring. Last week, I met with Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and together we announced an ambitious partnership, pledging to transform France into a digital republic. By creating a connected ecosystem, there is tremendous opportunity to fuel economic growth, create jobs, foster innovation — even improve energy use.

Cisco will power this initiative through the network. France has a strong traditional infrastructure in place — roads, water lines, buildings, even parking spaces — and the country is now committing to build out their digital infrastructure, which will help increase productivity, create jobs, and improve the lives of citizens. Cybersecurity will also be enhanced for the country and its businesses and citizens, and the results for France could be dramatic.

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Student Entrepreneurs Develop Smart Device for the Visually Impaired

The city of Nancy was once the Art Nouveau capital of France. Today it is a smart city, incorporating tagging systems in its municipal infrastructure to give citizens access to data captured from traffic lights, bus systems, crosswalks, and more. Companies are developing technologies that combine this data and location information to solve everyday inconveniences for people. A team of Cisco Networking Academy students from University of Lorraine used this connection of people, process, data, and things to improve life for visually impaired people. They created a networked walking stick that helps users move safely and independently in smart cities like Nancy.

Handisco Stick users will be able to use data from tagged locations to move independently and safely around cities

Handisco Stick users will be able to use data from tagged locations to move independently and safely around cities

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With Cloud, SMBs Will Lead Emerging Economies Across the Digital Divide

By Peter Ford, Director, IBSG Service Provider

Service providers in developing countries have the potential to kick-start economic growth by helping small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) take advantage of information and communications technology (ICT), especially cloud services. The “greenfield” nature of ICT in many emerging economies creates the opportunity to “leapfrog” to cloud computing.

For some time, governments have recognized the role of broadband in supporting economic development. The World Bank states that for every 10 percent of broadband penetration in a developing economy, there is typically a 1.38 percent increase in GDP.

Each year, there have been tangible improvements in broadband networks across emerging markets. However, in Read More »

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The Future of Nice: Networked, Hyper-Connected, and Extremely Smart

What will the ideal city of the future look like?

Urban policymakers around the world are striving to answer this question, while positioning their citizens to compete and thrive in a time of accelerated innovation and change. Many are seeking the best possible convergence of technology and infrastructure within the urban environment. But the overall goal is to enhance the success, livability, and overall appeal of their cities. Read More »

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Nice, France: A Model City of the Future in the Making


Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities efforts around the world have seen both the creation of new cities and the revitalization of existing ones. Although we’re no strangers to the transformation process, it is still eye-opening to see one of the oldest areas of France well on its way to becoming a model city of the future.


Nice by Night

Last month, Cisco and city officials of Nice, France convened at the Innovative City Convention to announce a strategic collaboration in future development. In recent times, policy makers and industry leaders have increasingly been tasked with city improvement goals that require the careful integration of citizen needs, city-wide operations and prevailing infrastructures. Through the signing of an MoU, both parties have agreed to embrace a more holistic view in the next stage of planning and development for Nice. As a key technology partner, Cisco plays an important role in taking advantage of our core networking competencies to transform Nice from a physical community into a connected community. With the help of relevant technologies, we hope to create the level of innovation and socio-economic development needed to bolster the city’s sustainability, growth and global competitiveness.


As the fifth most heavily populated city in France, Nice sits on 28 square miles of land and houses around 350,000 citizens. Projects that are being put into place will largely focus on improving quality of life, creating jobs, sustaining the appeal of local industries and maintaining overall social welfare. The implementation of networked technologies will aim to provide the following:


  • A network of smart sensors connected to intelligent communication systems that are capable of capturing and analyzing relevant data on city operations
  • Mechanisms in place that will alert citizens on air/water quality and flash flood warnings
  • Technologies that provide drivers with pertinent information on traffic patterns and available parking, with the aim of improving traffic flow
  • Consumer mobile devices that help facilitate payment for services and customize on-demand data for nearby recreational activities and entertainment
  • Technologies that nurture and promote interaction amongst students, teachers, neighbors, researchers, companies and governments
  • Improved healthcare technology that provides efficient care at a distance, diagnostics and treatments to improve citizen health


In taking a more holistic approach to planning and development efforts, the city of Nice has taken on the economic and social welfare of its citizens as a priority. The development of new services and industries will effectively help create new jobs, while innovative technologies will support better education, healthcare and workplace services. As a testing ground for many of these solutions, we’re optimistic that Nice will one day serve as a model for what a smart and connected community could achieve.


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