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#IoTWF: How Smart Cities Can Transform and Revitalize Municipalities in the 21st Century

At Cisco’s inaugural Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Barcelona this week, I spoke about how IoT is impacting multiple industries and public sector creating tremendous business value for companies, cities and governments around the world. IoT, which we define as the networked connection of physical objects has made its way from vision to an explicit part of Cisco’s agenda and to a definition in the Oxford dictionary. Together with mobility, cloud, big data, IPv6, and an apps world, IoT is one of the technology transitions that make up the Internet of Everything which includes the networked connection of people, data, process and things.

It is fascinating to see how IoT is rapidly gaining traction. We talked to more than 700 business and global thought leaders from across industries, governments and technologies at the IoT World Forum, who like Cisco, are passionate about innovation and accelerating the advancement of the Internet of Things for their organizations and society as a whole. As we move towards an application economy, we are working to make the world more connected. Barcelona was the logical choice for this Forum as a prime example of a city that understands the IoE vision and has embraced IoT to become a Smart City with the potential for creating new companies, more than 55,000 new jobs and $3 Billion in profits over the next ten years.

 

Smart Cities

As world populations shift to urban areas, community leaders are seeking to transform their cities to solve a range of pressing social and economic problems and capture new opportunities. The Smart City vision with applications like smart parking, smart waste disposal, smart lighting,  smart environmental monitoring and, new citizen services offers a path towards building better communities where people want to live, learn and play and where businesses seek to invest. It also enables the creation of urban centers that work more efficiently, effectively and productively.

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: A Brighter Tomorrow

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.

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Urban Sustainability – Not Just A Dream

As world leaders ponder how to meet the growing demand for energy and resources, while reducing global carbon emissions, cities are challenged even further. The exponential growth of cities has resulted in enormous urban challenges:  scarcity of resources; skyrocketing passenger, cargo, and digital traffic; and outdated and overloaded infrastructures.

The continued expansion of the Internet and our society’s increased connectivity seemingly amplify these urban challenges. However, Cisco and Schneider Electric see an opportunity to create a new future for cities, and they are already making cities more efficient and connected today.

The key is transforming a city from the inside out:

  • Developing an efficient infrastructure for the utilities network, transportation systems, buildings, and public services.
  • Adding connectivity to integrate these efficiency solutions, and including people in the social conversation.
  • Reducing carbon emissions and environmental consequences of urban life to ensure sustainability.

This transformation requires that the city’s operating systems, such as utilities and transportation, function with optimal efficiency, allowing data collection for operations optimization. In order to solve the “pain points” that negatively affect city residents (such as power outages), it is critical to optimize each individual system, as well as the overall structure and connections among systems. Efficient integrated operating systems that create connections will improve services, offer better information sharing, and enhance a city’s sustainability and livability, transforming it into a Smart City.

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A Big Day for Small Cells

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity for Cisco at Mobile World Congress 2012, and a big day for our smallest networking devices.

On the heels of the past week’s 4G/LTE announcements with Magyar Telekom, LG U+ , Vodafone Hungary, Telefonica Spain, and Bell Canada, yesterday we stood with business partners Orange, and Shaw to announce a new era in the evolution of the mobile Internet: the era of the small cell.

Cisco CEO  John Chambers declared “We are now entering the post-macrocell era, where small cells also will play a critical role in delivering the next-generation mobile Internet.”

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