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Smart Cities: Moving from Discussion to a Call for Action

I am in San Francisco this week to attend a City Protocol workshop along with the Meeting of the Minds 2012 conference (Twitter: @meetoftheminds), which brings together thought leaders from the world’s most innovative organizations to spotlight fresh ideas in urban connectivity and sustainability.

All week, I’ve been surrounded by urbanists and city experts talking about ways to make cities better. At many city events worldwide, I see a lot of discussion that seems to center on “what” can be done to improve our cities. This week, however, I’ve heard people asking the presenters “how” the smart innovation actually happened. That is, they wanted to know who did what, and how it was developed, operated, and financed.

This clearly demonstrates that there is need for more replicable and usable information describing “how” Smart Cities are actually made to be smarter. To fill this need, one must understand how cities operate and how Smart City “indicators” are actually delivered. Read More »

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Smart City Frameworks: A Systematic Process for Enabling Smart+Connected Communities

Interest in Smart Cities has triggered plenty of theoretical and technology-led discussions, but not enough progress has been made in implementing related initiatives. In addition, there are a number of factors hindering adoption of Smart City solutions: scaling of newer technologies is unproven; technology challenges the existing status quo in how cities are run; and technology is not well-understood across city sectors.

However, the main barrier to adopting such solutions is the complexity of how cities are operated, financed, regulated, and planned. For instance, city operations are multidimensional and comprised of multiple stakeholders whose dependencies and interdependencies affect and ultimately determine the built environment. Smart Cities, however, present an opportunity to integrate physical city infrastructures—from utilities, transportation, and real estate to city services. Read More »

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Transforming the World’s Largest Cities

For centuries, cities have generated most of humankind’s art, religion, culture, commerce, and technology. And while this trend is expected to continue, several challenges are emerging, including stress on aging public infrastructures, limited success of public-private partnerships, reduced budgets, and the loss of “brain power” to fast-growing suburban areas.

To revitalize the world’s largest cities, City24/7—a company committed to making public communications more accessible to everyone, everywhere—in collaboration with Cisco IBSG and the City of New York, has launched an interactive platform that integrates information from open government programs, local businesses, and citizens to provide meaningful and powerful knowledge anytime, anywhere, on any device. In short, City24/7 delivers the information people need to know, where and when it helps them most.

Located at bus stops, train stations, major entryways, shopping malls, and sports facilities, City24/7 Smart Screens incorporate touch, voice, and audio technology to deliver a wide array of hyper-local (about two square city blocks) information, services, and offerings in real time. The Smart Screens can also be accessed via Wi-Fi on nearby smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers.

The overarching goals of the City24/7 Smart Screens are to inform, protect, and revitalize. Read More »

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Cisco collaborates with Insigma to accelerate the development of Smart+Connected Communities in China

Those of you who have visited Hangzhou will know that it is one of the most beautiful cities in China with the stunning West Lake as one the city’s key attractions. Hangzhou plays a key role in Cisco’s innovation and research and development strategy for China, with one of our main R&D campuses based in the city. Hangzhou is also home to Insigma, a global strategic IT services and solution provider that works with leading companies around the world. Insigma collaborates closely with Zhejiang University, one of China’s oldest and most prestigious universities, based in Hangzhou. The city was therefore the perfect setting today to announce a strategic collaboration with Insigma which will deepen Cisco’s expertise in Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC) in China.

Hangzou West Lake

As part of the collaboration, Cisco and Insigma have made a strategic investment in City Cloud International Co., Ltd., a company that will help scale the devopment of  S+CC in China using intelligent networks to deliver new, platform-based cloud services across the country. Cisco has a strong collaboration with Insigma on S+CC; the company announced its smart city strategy at the Cisco Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

China’s urban population will expand to the 1 billion mark by 2030 with 350 million added to the urban population by 2025. The country will have 221 cities with a population of more than a million. I’m Dutch, and to put that in perspective, the whole of Europe has only 35 such cities today. 5 billion square meters of road will be paved. 5 million buildings will be built of which 50,000 could be skyscrapers – the equivalent of constructing up to ten New York cities. This unprecedented pace of urbanization in China is accompanied by rapid growth in the adoption of technology: video-on-demand traffic; the Internet of Things and data passing through the cloud. Cisco estimates that by 2016, China will be the second highest IP-traffic generating country in the world.

At Cisco, we truly believe technology will play a key enablement role in the achievement of China’s ambitious goals, as outlined in the 12th Five Year Plan. Sustainable urbanization, access to healthcare for everyone at an affordable cost and educational scaling can only be achieved via technology and new business models such as cloud computing. The future of competition will be between cities. Enabling overall sustainability – economic, social and environmental – using technology, will be integral for cities to develop and prosper.

Madam Jiang Yi, CEO of Insigma Technology Company Ltd. and Owen Chan of Cisco conclude the proceedings

City Cloud International Co., Ltd. will help  build Smart+Connected Communities thought leadership, platform and solutions using intelligent networks to deliver public and private services in cities across China. There has been great collaboration between the leadership teams of Insigma, which is backed up by the Zhejiang University, and Cisco led by our Greater China Chairman and CEO, Owen Chan. We are very excited about the innovation we can create for the city of Hangzhou, the province of Zhejiang and the whole of China.

At Cisco, we believe that we are creating a new industry for this next generation of smart+connected communities that will depend upon five key areas: visionary leadership, global open standards, smart regulation, public private partnerships and a new ecosystem. Our collaboration with Insigma through City Cloud International Co., Ltd is a great example of these five key areas coming together.

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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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