Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

We’re ready, are you?

We are now in an age so normalized by the proliferation of technology that the United Nations has declared access to the Internet a basic human right and securing ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband is a common goal around the world. Communities and countries are actively engaged in learning how to best capture the unparalleled advantages that can be realized across the urban landscape. As smart digital communities cover more and more of the global map, the social, economic, political, and environmental benefits afforded to broadly-connected digital societies are becoming crystal clear.

Technology has and will continue to dramatically change the world. It already affects all of our lives in myriad ways. Digital transformation or digitization—the connection of objects, devices, sensors, cameras, machines, and people to the Internet—has now emerged as the most transformative means to ignite sustainable growth and improve society. Those countries and communities that get ahead and embrace digital innovation will uncover limitless possibilities to drive change, embrace economic growth, attract talent for jobs of the future, reduce their carbon footprint, and keep citizens happy and healthy.


Around the World in 106 (Business) Days

Since July, we’ve met you here each Wednesday to discuss and explore important themes, challenges, and observations of digital transformation. We’ve visited cities, countries, schools, hospitals, and businesses around the world that all share one common thread in their story—the quest toward digitization. Taken together, this series demonstrate the significance of digital technology innovation in shaping our future.

We set out with one core goal in mind—to make complicated, and often times intangible, technological changes recognizable and relatable to everyday life for you, our digital citizens. In August, we relied on smart parking and lighting to save a first date. And then there were the frustrating challenges of summertime travels on the road, in the air, and on the railway. Our citizen took ill and experienced the benefits of technology innovation in the field of health and wellness. And with the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil approaching, who could forget our backpacking adventure through Latin America? All wonderful experiences (and perhaps evidence that our citizen isn’t exactly a workaholic).

The weekly comings and goings of our citizen documented IoT, IoE, and smart digital community excellence. We were able to visit groundbreaking cities like Barcelona, Spain, where government leaders are growing the economy, maximizing the city’s revenues, and improving citizens’ quality of life. We’ve given considerable attention to the big changes happening in Kansas City, Missouri, where an ecosystem of business and government partners is using a single digital data platform for managing and delivering their urban services. And we had the opportunity to travel to France, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom to witness their successes in leading the country digitization charge.

Wednesday WalkaboutTW_12-16

Our citizen was also busy attending important industry events, witnessing the demonstrations of innovative solutions first-hand. At DSEI in London, we addressed mission-critical and digitally enabled network and communications capabilities that help to better protect and defend at home and abroad. Along with the National Cybersecurity Alliance, our citizen dedicated #CyberAware month to learning and teaching how best to stay safe online. At the third annual Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) this month, it was made overwhelmingly clear that 2015 has been the inflection point for the Internet of Things and digitization, fundamentally changing the way we will live and do business.

Our digital citizen also gained an understanding of the essential role that public-private partnership will play in the global digitization evolution. Within the next decade, the majority of IoT financing for smart cities will come from dual public and private sector investment. Governments, looking to serve citizens more effectively, will increasingly turn to businesses to offer the speed of deployment and more in the manner they’ve become accustomed to as consumers—Fast, reliable, and easy-to-use on-demand services.

Each of these examples featured throughout the series show that the world is embracing the oncoming digitization opportunity. And many of these cities, countries, and public sector entities stand at the forefront of this exciting new chapter where the digital age is the future. These communities that we’ve highlighted are true innovators and we applaud their efforts to increase transparency and open government, to encourage citizen participation, to strengthen cybersecurity, to better protect natural resources and the environment, scale education without limits, bolster health and wellness, and much more.

And of course, all the examples shared throughout the series are meant to help guide others along their own digital transformation journeys. We wish you well and look forward to an opportunity to support you.

Thank you for joining us along this journey. We hope that you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. And from our Cisco family to yours, we wish you a wonderfully happy holiday season.

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Continue to be a part of the conversation by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter; we’d love to hear from you. For more information, visit our Smart+Connected Communities page and our Government page on Cisco.com.


Anil Menon


Smart+Connected Communities and Cisco Deputy Chief Globalisation Officer