Co-authored with Munish Khetrapal

Upping Your Livability Index

As cities and countries around the globe are facing an onslaught of new and confusing challenges such as urban sprawl, safety and security, traffic congestion, and transportation accessibility, it is increasingly becoming important for public sector leaders to provide smart solutions. And as leaders further embrace the smart city narrative, the main question remains as to how these digital technology solutions will help their citizens and communities.

Motivations for adopting smart city initiatives vary, but one primary reason that has emerged is the desire to enhance ‘livability’. Livability plays an important role in how cities compete with other cities for tax dollars, jobs, residents, employers, investment, and positive perceptions. Improving livability can be seen both as a strategic asset that contributes to growth, and as a key ingredient to happier, healthier citizens. And when push comes to shove, technology is an enabler, not the end game. Putting people in the forefront is key.

Smart City Walking Tour

Throughout this series, we’ve taken you through a whirlwind of important industry trends, smart technologies, and places of digital transformation. At the Internet of Things World Forum that took place in Dubai this week, many of our spotlighted topics converged and took center stage to demonstrate the cross-vertical impact of IoT. In this week’s post, our digital citizen is participating in our IoT World Forum Smart City Experience tour.


During the tour, our digital citizen made stops to witness smart city solutions in action. However, our citizen would like to focus on the highlight of the tour, the demonstration of a digital platform for cities. The demonstration’s Command and Control Center pulled a variety of the solution proofs of concept into the platform, bringing together an aggregation of data from various sensors, solutions, and partners, advanced data analytics, a wide spectrum of urban services, and partner applications. The digital platform allows communities to use intelligence from these different endpoints and sources of information to drive efficiencies and improve quality of life.

His Excellency, Mr. Ahmad Bin Byat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Smart Dubai Initiative and the CEO of Dubai Holding accurately captured the amazing opportunities afforded to those who embrace technology innovation. “This is an exciting time for Dubai, the UAE and the entire Middle East region as a whole as we adopt sustainable technology solutions for better public safety and security, transportation, buildings, utilities, healthcare and education.”


Beyond Dubai, communities around the world have already begun using a single digital data platform for managing their urban services. For example, in the United States, Kansas City is bringing together an ecosystem of business and government partners to deliver smart lighting, digital kiosks, a development data portal, and smart water innovation development. Hamburg, Germany is connecting the physical and digital worlds, making it possible to better serve people without having to make large investments in infrastructure. Leveraging the IoT Platform to integrate all solutions into an operations center, a traffic incident management solution and smart port system will be used to help improve traffic and parking and maximize efficiency across the various logistical routes that converge at the Port of Hamburg, which is central to city’s economy. And again, we’re seeing Smart City Bangalore being used as a blueprint for the future of Digital India and symbolizing what the digitization of a country means for the future of work, education, healthcare, and the electronic delivery of citizen services

Now more than ever, cities are required to capture and analyze data coming from the many sensors, cameras, and mobile devices in use. They are employing new analytics techniques, such as fog computing, that is able to gather, process, and conduct analysis right at the edge of a network, where it can be acted upon more immediately to better serve citizens and communities. Dubai, already one of the most technologically advanced cities, is rapidly transforming into becoming the smartest digital city in the world. Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid further confirms that it’s all about the citizens, stating that: The ultimate goal of all our initiatives is to make people happy and make their lives simpler by reducing the time taken for completing government services.

Next Stop

Stay tuned for next week’s post and be sure to join us for the Wednesday Walkabout series finale. Additionally, you can click here and register now to get your questions answered on how to become the next digital community.

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!

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Cecile Willems

Director, Global Public Sector

Global Sales Organization