Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

The influence of the Internet is often overlooked considering its ubiquitous presence in all facets of our lives today. But we have entered a new era in the life of the Internet and it begs the question, what role will it play in the future? The Internet of Everything is paving the way in to the digital era, bringing with it the proliferation of network-connected objects, processes, living things, and mountains of data that will truly change our world.

Let’s then take a look at a concept of the connected port and the capacity of far-reaching payoffs for the cities that house them, port operators, their business customers, and the end consumers. Today’s ports play a critical role in the global economy, and are at the heart of world trade and the movement of goods. Ports in the United States alone move over $1.3 trillion in cargo annually. With that, any disruption – whether it is a criminal act or a case of simple operational inefficiencies – would be a detriment to the global economy.

As city port authorities face increased safety and security regulations and mandates, they also need to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. Additionally, things like real-time data collection and exchange across vessels, ports, cargo and land logistics are providing new revenue streams. Local businesses can gain a competitive advantage and cities can open new economic and trade markets by embracing the Internet of Everything on its digital transformation journey.

For today’s blog, our digital citizen will be experiencing a full day’s activities on the waterfront. First, we’ll go to work as it’s primetime for unloading the large volume of shipping containers coming through the city’s port.

As a city port official, our citizen spends the morning looking not only at capacity, but also at business process and augmentation to make sure what works today can be scaled for the future. Like Hamburg’s smartPORT project, the ultimate goal is to integrate the transport networks to have a more intelligent and proactive harbor operation. Meaning that our citizen can look at how ship arrival will affect street and rail traffic, manage bridge closures and the roadway congestion that tends to increase when ships are offloading, and allow for the sending and receiving of real-time data to kick start response processes when needed.

A veteran of the shipping industry, our citizen sees containers the same size from 30 years ago. But the ships that carry them keep getting bigger with more containers to unload. For ports [all around the world], trying to move ships in and out as quickly as possible, that’s a problem. But not for our citizen. With an all-encompassing digital strategy, connecting everything on the network, automating operations and logistics, and integrating previously siloed technologies, every step of the journey can be easily monitored. Like the Port of Long Beach in California, the end result is speed – loading and unloading is done more quickly and ships move in and out of the port much faster – and an improvement in the port’s bottom line, lower operational costs, increased efficiency, and improved workplace safety.











After a long day of work, saving the world one shipping container at a time, our digital citizen has a few errands to run. Our citizen can now wander along the bay to a beautiful, sustainable new community of parks, public spaces, and shops. This is much like the Waterfront Toronto effort, with the mission to put Toronto at the forefront of global cities in the 21st century by cleaning up industrial areas to spur economic growth and ultimately, redefine how the city is perceived. Our citizen takes advantage of a bustling digital marketplace, allowing residents to support their own neighborhood and local economy. Widespread network availability at the waterfront brings tangible benefits to residents, businesses, and visitors alike – increasing the overall quality of life and community experience.

An Internet of Everything-enabled and digital-based approach will allow for the coordination of all aspects of harbor, port, waterfront, and water transport operations, building a great starting point for cities. Through digital transformation, network advancement and sustainable community development are able to fully thrive alongside the economic vitality of ports and water transport.

Next Stop

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post to discover more information about our citizen’s meeting with the community’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations.

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Additionally, you can click here and register now to get your IoE questions answered on how to become the next digital community. Finally, we invite you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #WednesdayWalkabout and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter.

For more information and additional examples, visit our Smart+Connected Communities page and our Government page on Cisco.com. Enjoy the Wednesday walkabout!


Mirko Bass

Business Development

Smart & Connected Communities