When people think of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, they often think of bicycles, canals and progressive social values. Some may even know about its leadership in international trade, catalyzed centuries ago by the Dutch East India Company, the world’s first multinational corporation. Others may be more familiar with Amsterdam because of U.S. President Obama’s recent visit to the Rijksmuseum, which houses the world-famous painting The Night Watch by Rembrandt.
However, close 21st century observers know that Amsterdam is also a modern-day capital of collaborative innovation and some of the world’s most advanced Smart City deployments. Amsterdam was the first city in Europe to be connected to the Internet. It was also one of the first cities to appreciate the importance of extending fiber-optic connectivity to its residents and businesses. At the same time, “green” is a priority and a practice in Amsterdam: The trams and streetcars run on green electricity, and the numerous data centers located in and around the city are required to comply with strict environmental rules.
These forward-thinking uses of technology help make Amsterdam one of the 15 most livable cities in the world according to Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey 2014: innovative, attractive, competitive, and connected! This early Internet pioneer is now set to take the next step by fully embracing the Internet of Everything and all the value it can deliver economically, socially and environmentally.
Cisco is proud to play an important role in this evolution. Two days ago, (April 8), on behalf of Cisco, I had the pleasure of signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, to jointly develop and implement a long-term Internet of Everything strategy for the city that connects people, processes, data, and things (see photo to the left). Cisco and the city of Amsterdam have been working together on a variety of Smart City endeavors for ten years now, including citywide optical fiber to the home, a Smart Grid, Smart Work place and Public TelePresence capabilities. By creating a more holistic Internet of Everything strategy for Amsterdam, the agreement will further strengthen our partnership Mayor and allow us to pursue new opportunities while protecting citizen security and privacy.
We will work with city officials to build a large local ecosystem to bring great exciting new innovations to this city and its citizens, initially focusing on smart lighting, smart parking and smart security in Southeast Amsterdam
According to distinguished Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, the City is human kind’s greatest invention. Imagine combining this with the greatest invention of the modern era: the Internet of Everything. In Amsterdam, and other great cities around the world, we are exploring new ways to more smartly manage water, traffic, energy, pollution, healthcare, travel, waste, lighting, crime and even parking.
In this age of rapid urbanization, I am convinced that cities that don’t embrace the Internet of Everything will be at a competitive disadvantage, and even be left behind. Cities with ambition and vision must help to lead the way. This MoU with Amsterdam is an important step for the Internet of Everything, for all Dutch citizens and for cities and citizens around the world.