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resulted in enormous urban challenges:  scarcity of resources; skyrocketing passenger, cargo, and digital traffic; and outdated and overloaded infrastructures.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.

For example, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil used a holistic, integrated approach to infrastructure management, and has seen a 15 percent reduction in traffic delays, improved response to water outages, and reduced operational costs of utility networks. Cisco IBSG addressed the importance of resource connectivity in its white paper, “The Time Is Right for Connected Public Lighting Within Smart Cities.”

As cities embark on their own “smart” journey, they need long-term collaboration among all stakeholders, including the private sector, with a shared vision of efficiency and sustainability.

Additionally, in order to finance a “smart” project, cities need to develop and implement innovative business models. This can be achieved by creating additional revenue streams (such as selling systems information) or through the resulting operational savings (for example, performance contracting).

Cisco and Schneider are already using tailored solutions to help cities envision their futures, develop roadmaps, and deliver measurable results. With an integrated, collaborative infrastructure in place, think of the infinite possibilities to further improve city livability, connectivity, and sustainability.

To discover more about developing a Smart City Framework, click here.

 On Sept 9-11 of this year, in Canada’s City of Toronto, Cisco and Schneider are teaming up (alongside IBM and some others) to convene a special invitation-only leadership summit: the “Meeting of the Minds” <http://cityminded.org/events/toronto>. The issues raised in this blog post will be debated, discussed, dissected and deliberated. Tune in for more details, since the live webcast will be accessible to you on any device connected to the network on both Sept 10 and 11.


Gordon Feller

Director, Urban Innovations, Public Sector Practice Internet Business Solutions Group

Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)