Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Government

Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, Taichung Sets the Stage (Perspective from Louis Zacharilla, Co-Founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum)

The Taiwan city of Taichung was in the spotlight twice this year.  Not bad for a place few had heard of in most parts of the Western world -- at least until the Academy Awards broadcast in February.  During that event, Asian-born director Ang Lee, after being named the recipient of four Oscars for his film Life of Pi, thanked Taichung in his acceptance speech for its technical prowess.  Those bragging rights were celebrated.  Four months later the city had something else to claim.  In June, the city’s Secretary-General (the equivalent of City Manager in the United States), Ms Ching-Chih Liao, stood on the stage at Steiner Film Studios in New York to accept the Intelligent Community of the Year award on behalf of Taichung’s 2.7 million citizens and its charismatic mayor, Jason Hu. An international jury and a research company had ranked this city higher (by a few hundredths of a point) than the six other communities that had been invited to New York for their impressive achievement as innovative, job-creating places which used technology to enable growth.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 12.35.39 PM

Madame Liao noted the hard work that her community has done to balance its rural and urban economies, and the role that both broadband and the cloud play to support an infrastructure upon which innovation and technology companies thrive and add value in a place once known as “The Mechanical Kingdom.”

To understand why Taichung went so far in the awards program, it is important to understand that it first grasped the basic importance of the layer of physical infrastructure (telecommunications) and how it would next lead to its ability to exceed at ICF’s other five criteria, including innovation and a knowledge workforce poised to grow its middle-class.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series, How to Be the Most Intelligent Community in the World?

One of the questions I was asked about the awards given by the Intelligent Community Forum is what does it take to become an intelligent community.  I’ll try to summarize what I’ve learned from participating in the ICF as a keynoter, juror and (before Cisco) a leader of a Top 7 community.

Among the few hundred communities that apply in this contest, it is clear the first step is make sure the community has sufficient broadband.  Almost all of the things that intelligent communities can do for and with their residents depend upon that connectivity in one way or the other.

Second, high-speed connectivity is not enough to stand out in this global competition.  The next question is what a community does with the technology.  Is it transforming:

  • The way that residents interact with their government?
  • How residents — from pre-kindergarteners to seniors — are educated?
  • How well the physical aspects of the community are managed?
  • How residents are kept healthy and safe?
  • The local economy and the income opportunities for residents?

… Just to name some of the evidence that ICF is looking for.

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 12.41.16 PM

Intelligent Communities Forum Co-Founder Louis Zacharilla preparing to announce the 2013 winner. Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series Kickoff, The World’s Smartest Cities

I can hardly wait.  In two days the suspense will be over and the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) will have selected its 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year.  With so many extraordinary and innovative communities in the running, I’m glad it’s not up to me to choose one.  But I do have the thrill and privilege of seeing it all happen, live in New York City at the ICF Summit this week.

I and the other attendees will no doubt listen in awe to the inspiring leaders from all around the world as they talk about the way their organizations are changing the way people in their communities or regions work, live, play, and learn.  Who will be this year’s winner?  One strong candidate is Toronto Canada, one of this year’s Top7 communities.  Learn more about their initiatives in the video below:

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 12.36.27 PM

Later today, we’ll hear from Toronto’s Councillor, Michael Thompson, and have the opportunity to pick his brain during a group Q&A session to learn more about how Toronto is improving their economic and social environment by providing community network services to its constituents, with its energy-reducing smart and connected buildings to link residents and businesses, with portals and kiosks to provide real-time services to citizens, and with smart sensors and surveillance for public safety.  I’d say they’re a pretty tough contender!

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: State/Local Government & the Internet of Everything

There’s an increasing drumbeat of news about the “Internet of Everything” (IoE)— the confluence of people, process, data, and things that makes networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.

IoE comprises the ubiquitous ways that billions of people and numerous devices on the Internet communicate and report on their status and location. This covers everything from the location of your smartphone, to where a package might be, to the rate of your pulse or your arrival on a street corner, to the condition of a highway.

The Internet of Everything isn’t way off in the future. Today, the number of physical devices connected to the Internet is already six times the number of people on the Internet, even though there are 2 billion of those people. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices.

These devices will come to dominate the “cloud.” Of course, the complexity of a global system that connects all these devices and people is mind-boggling. This global system has the potential for unpredictable and perhaps disastrous behavior. That alone should get the attention of public leaders.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cities, Counties, Costs, and Clouds

Last week I had a great converstation over lunch with Dr. Norm Jacknis, Cisco IBSG.   We discussed how cities and counties are leveraging technologies to address issues in local communities despite tight budgets.    It was great to catchup in person, but I wanted to continue our conversation so Norm invited me to join him at the National Association of Counties (NACo) conference in Portland, Oregon.   

Thanks to the cloud, I was able to attend the NACo 2011 Technology Summit  remotely via WebEx

The theme for the event was County Survival Strategies in Tough Economic Times and showcased counties that have leveraged technologies to reduce county operations costs and enhance service delivery. 

See below for highlights 

Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,