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.
Tags: Busan, Cisco, city systems, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, smart, Smart + Connected Communities, Smart City, Songdo
Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?
Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.
We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.
Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:
- Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
- Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
- Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
- Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.
The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.
New York City is already proactively bringing information to citizens through an integrated platform called City24x7. This offers local information on displays in obsolete spaces such as pay phone booths, and it is accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device. Visitors can discover top-rated restaurants and attractions. Residents can learn about local programs and services, and receive safety alerts. Travelers can save time by accessing real-time data about public transit and roads. The platform has seen astounding results already; currently City 24x7 is in the process of building up to 250 city-approved display locations. Cisco IBSG’s white paper, “Transforming the City of New York,” reveals more about how City 24x7 informs, protects, and revitalizes cities. There is also a video, “A Smart City Transformation of the City of New York.”
Cloud has become a key enabler for those seeking to transform some core aspects of modern life. This includes how schools train the next generation of workers; how companies hire and encourage innovators; and how cities change their economies. ICT has changed the publishing, education, health care, retail, manufacturing, and financial services industries, and it can now address issues that are front and center for every city and government.
The bottom line is that ICT helps leaders to address key problems by helping them to improve government efficiency and strengthen city management. In the process, it provides new ways to encourage economic growth. Cloud, as a critical component of an integrated network of technologies, enables us to think outside the traditional analog box in our quest for solutions.
The benefits are clear, but where exactly to begin? Look for the next edition of this two-part blog for suggestions on next steps toward harnessing Smart City cloud management 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.
Tags: Cisco, city systems, City24x7, cloud, Cloud Management, connectivity, government, IBSG, infrastructure, Intelligent Network, Smart City
Much has been made of the emergence of Software Defined Networking and the programmable network. At its core, SDN involves opening up network interfaces in order to make the network programmable and allow for the development of applications. While some of those applications interact directly with the data plane, determining how individual packets are treated, many applications actually involve what can fundamentally be described as management functionality – automation of workflows, reaction to events, closing of control loops. A popular example concerns orchestration, in which resources are allocated and state modified so that collectively a service is provided – in many ways resembling a reincarnation of service provisioning in a new context and under a new name.
Of course, management applications and management interfaces have been around for a long time, so what is really new and different this time? Is SDN simply an exciting new label for a tired old concept? Does SDN obviate the need for traditional management? At the core of these questions are the concepts of programmability and manageability. Read More »
Tags: applications, Intelligent Network, Manageability, network management, programmability, SDN, software defined networking
When I think about IT security, I don’t immediately start thinking about threats, hackers and countermeasures, but begin with what is happening to IT in general. Right now, the three big megatrends in IT can be summed up in three words: virtualization, collaboration, and mobility. Unfortunately, it’s become something of a Newtonian principle that any action driving information technology forward generates an equal or greater counteraction by hackers to corrupt and exploit the new technology. I also find it disconcerting that at any given time, the most aggressively marketed “solutions” to IT security problems represent a trailing indicator of what cyber criminals are actually doing to raise hell. Read More »
Tags: collaboration, Intelligent Network, IT, it security, mobility, Net-Centric Security, network, security, virtualization
For organizations, the importance of tapping more deeply into their human capital – unlocking the potential each person brings to the table — has never been greater. In my previous blog post, I touched on how Cisco believes people working together can achieve extraordinary things. The challenge is how to best bring them together as participants in a global economy, who may not physically be in the same place at the same time. This requires organizations to:
- Empower their people to work their way — where, when and how they want — without limits.
- Engage their people by providing the right collaboration tools so they can stay more connected with their peers and other organizations, which in turn allows them to …
- Innovate as they foster better relationships and become more creative in developing new products, solutions and process that help their organizations
As the range of available collaboration technologies has continued to broaden, the focus for IT has begun to swing Read More »
Tags: collaboration, empower, engage, innovate, integrated collaboration portfolio, Intelligent Network, superior collaboration experience