Last month I wrote about the Connected Mobile Experiences deployment in Nice. One of the most interesting things I saw at the iCity launch in Nice was a real cool application that can leverage the power of Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution to deliver very unique and exciting capabilities.
Imagine visiting a city and being able to leave your friends digital messages that only they can read when they get to a specific location. Or walking into a new area and getting localized information right then about a specific event. Or customizing signage in whatever language in native to the visitor. Imagine being able to create your own sticky note and making it public or private anytime anyplace electronically.
All of these things are just some of the possibilities that are now made available using ‘digital graffiti’ from a small startup in the South of France called Geekgaps.
In 1983, Clark W. Griswold and his family embarked on an epic road trip across the country, encountering numerous obstacles on their way to Wally World. The film, National Lampoon’s Vacation, was released during a time when the family road trip was an American staple and exaggeratedly illustrated some of driving’s biggest pain points. From getting lost in not-so-pleasant areas and running out of gas in the middle of the desert, to finally reaching your destination only to find it closed, it is easy to imagine how in today’s world of constant connectivity, these problems could be easily avoided. Cisco is doing its part in laying the groundwork for a fully connected driving experience – bringing the power of the Internet of Everything to the streets.
Working with the Think Global Eco System, including companies like Sude (smart mobility), Urbiotica (sensors) and Citelum (smart lighting), Cisco recently showcased what could be considered one of the smartest streets in the world. The “Connected Boulevard” in Nice, France, the world’s first Internet of Everything (IoE) proof-of-concept for a smart city, showcases what IoE can enable for a connected world and for connected transportation. The project is more than just a street loaded with sensors; the PoC will serve as a blueprint for future deployments, taking the lessons learned from Nice and other innovative cities and sharing this information with other aspiring communities.
Two of the city services will directly affect the driving experience in Nice. The smart circulation technology will tackle city traffic by offering intelligent parking solutions. With about 25 percent of urban traffic caused by those looking for parking, the solutions will significantly reduce the time it currently takes for drivers in Nice to find a parking space. The smart lighting solutions will optimize street lighting intensity based on situational factors. For example, a streetlight will automatically increase the amount of light it provides when motion is detected within its effective range. Conversely, the light will dim when there is no movement.
This type of deployment may not be too far off for a U.S. city also. Already, Cisco is working with Streetline and the cities of San Mateo, CA and San Carlos, CA to tackle smart circulation and smart parking. Citizens and visitors to downtown San Mateo or Laurel Street in San Carlos are able to easily find parking spaces through the use of a free mobile application, which connects to a network of sensors. With the PoC, San Mateo, San Carlos and cities like them will find it easier to adopt smart city technologies and implement them successfully.
Check out this video about the Connected Boulevard project in Nice:
Cisco is not only looking to change transportation from outside the vehicle, but from inside as well. We’re living in times of changing consumer propensities for automotive technology. The Cisco Connected Customer Experience Report on the automotive industry recently showed that consumers are open and willing to adopt these new technologies, from autonomous vehicles or biometric monitoring. In fact, 57% of those surveyed would be likely to ride in a car controlled entirely by technology and does not require a human driver. This “Internet of cars” will create new business models for auto manufacturers and technology companies, and Cisco is able to provide the highly secure core network to enable and optimize new technologies. Cisco seeks to play an instrumental role in connecting vehicles to other vehicles, devices, the cloud and city infrastructures. Through partnerships with companies such as NXP and Cohda Wireless, Cisco is looking to embrace the next wave of innovation with in-car technologies.
The Internet of Everything provides enormous potential for transportation. When a car is connected to the street it is driving on, a host of capabilities could improve safety, traffic congestion, parking and the overall driving experience. Car-to-car and car-to-X communications could be used to avoid accidents, provide rapid assistance for those who need it or optimize routes to avoid traffic jams. Emergency vehicles could connect with streetlights, creating a faster response time to emergencies. These capabilities are not just possible, but inevitable. By “connecting the unconnected,” the morning commute (or the great American family roundtrip) could be safer, quicker and less stressful.
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.