In the Name of Innovation:

Technology is only as useful as the processes it changes, the money it saves, and the lives that it improves. In increasingly complex city environments where there are more people, less resources and higher demands than ever, how do we ensure that we’re getting the right solutions to the right people at the right time? Finding the answer to this will require a fair bit of trial and error. But in the end, the importance will lie in the creativity and innovation that will allow us to stretch outside our comfort zones to successfully get us there.

With the digital revolution coinciding at a pivot point in the history of urbanization, we find ourselves in a very unique position to impact improved social, environmental and economic outcomes. Technology becomes valuable when we understand its potential for making our lives better. And it becomes invaluable when it disappears into a series of inspiring experiences.

New Ideas for Smart Growth:

As digital transformation drives an increase in how public, private and constituent organizations interact, there’s a growing need for enhanced coordination across industries and city domains. This means that city leaders must learn how to address diverse departmental goals, innovative partnerships and differentiated funding models.

The complexities of digital transformation for smarter, more connected communities result in difficult choice of scalable deployment options and challenging financial solutions. Ultimately, leveraging limited public funding to address current and future challenges remains an obstacle. Strong multi-stakeholder partnerships are integral in order to implement good governance strategies that can ensure cities and communities emerge as truly smart as well as sustainable. As I outline further in this video, it really takes the coordinated and collaborative effort of an ecosystem of public and private partners to solve for a city’s challenges and address the outcomes desired.

Leaders and organizations don’t want to build dumb cities. And finding the right funding to plan and execute smart, digital city projects can feel much like corporate speed dating. Even as the number of communities and cities seeking digital transformation grows, the question of investment continues to be a gap. As I discuss in detail here, private financiers will play a key role in to address this gap. The bright side is that many stakeholders feel positive toward the idea of innovative financing for smart, connected cities.

As my colleague Bas Boorsma explained in his summary of the Copenhagen deployment, the potential for service providers to bring digital transformation and technology solutions to a multitude of community environments, is simply enormous. And this type of engagement will only continue to become more important and grow more prevalent. We’ve increasingly seen service providers around the world honing their focus to help cities become smarter and more connected. I give some examples in this video of cities benefitting from this shift. These service providers and the types of projects they can help to enable and accelerate will be key to a larger partnership framework in this industry.

Next Up in #TransformationThursday Series:

Stay tuned for next week’s post to see how commuting doesn’t have to be all bumper-to-bumper traffic, pollution, and frustration. And be sure to check back each week as we discuss digital transformation in cities, detailing storylines and examples with various social, environmental and economic outcomes.

We’d also love for you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #TransformationThursday and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter. And for more information and additional examples, visit our smart cities on Cisco.com.


Arvind Satyam

Managing Director, Global Business Development

Smart+Connected Communities