Digital transformation is about technology. But, when it comes to creating sustainable smart cities, it is important to understand uniqueness, what makes the community tick and keeps people happily and proudly living there. Through the secure connectivity of digital transformation, cities and communities can become smarter and more connected, while also reinforcing and reflecting the city’s soul rather than submitting to impersonal or homogenized change. But, where do we begin? It is not a simple task to understand what will be valuable for our cities, the people that live there, and for the bottom line.

Digital city initiatives around the world can generate as much as $2.3 trillion over the next seven years. That’s a whole lot of opportunity afforded by digitally-charged transformation. We anticipate at least nine key areas that will drive these cost savings, build efficiencies like never before, and help to generate revenue for thriving communities. It is here, where smart cities and communities can kick-start the digital makeover that will benefit their residents, economies, environments, and fuel their soul.

Countries, cities, municipalities, schools, health facilities, and beyond are all shining brilliantly in every corner of the world with their digital success. Just as Kansas City and their CIO Bob Bennett know, truly smart and connected transformation begins with a solid network foundation.

Houston had a problem. Its fire department was responding to far too many ambulance calls that didn’t require acute or emergency care. By equipping its emergency responders with technology-enabled solutions, they are now eliminating the patients’ burden of emergency room visits by 80 percent, saving the city an estimated $928,000 annually, and allowing its workforce to operate more effectively.

Greater Copenhagen determined that only about 30 percent of its scheduled waste pickups were met with full garbage bins. Its SmartBin solutions use sensor-enabled waste collection when a bin reaches capacity, which cuts fuel costs and allows for more effective use of sanitation crews.

Through its Safe City initiative, Pune, India deployed more than 1200 video cameras along with a state-of-the-art command and control center. The city has been able to mitigate car thefts and other common crimes, while also speeding response times following events like traffic collisions and fires.

By using roadway sensor and video technologies, Stockholm has implemented congestion charging, decreasing traffic by 20 percent in designated areas, cutting toxic emissions by 2 to 3 percent, and increasing public transportation usage by 2 to 3 percent.

Tourist hot spots like New York City are deploying simple, interactive digital kiosks to provide informational things like directions, restaurant suggestions, and public transit schedules. These kiosks also function as a sensor to collect data about citywide conditions for things like air quality, public safety, and traffic status.

But, all of this could be fruitless effort if the network backbone is not secure. Comprehensive cybersecurity will be critical to the success and growth of digital initiatives, helping cities protect their investments and the products of their innovation. With a secure next-generation network in place, the opportunities to thrive are vast and continue to grow.

Each week, the Cisco team and some amazing smart city advocates will be posting here on Tuesday to bring you the latest. Stay tuned until then by:

Following us on Twitter @CiscoGovt;

Finding more information on Cisco.com;

Reading up on the value of digital transformation.

Or by quizzing yourself to see if you’re game-ready for your own digital transformation journey.



Cecile Willems

Director, Global Public Sector

Global Sales Organization