Communities are increasingly working to get “smart” by using sensors, cameras and other IoT devices to address efficiency, transportation, safety, environmental and health challenges. Though well intentioned, many communities launch pilot projects or proofs of concept without fully considering future production scale and security requirements, or the need to co-exist with various other services. Typically, this leads to multiple independent solutions that, in turn, drive up management complexity and cost. It also increases security risks.

To be truly smart, communities need a unified, open-standards network infrastructure that can meet today’s needs, interoperate and scale for tomorrow – all while streamlining management and security along the way.

Last week at Cisco Live, Cisco IoT announced an innovative new way to support municipalities and public authorities as they embrace IoT to help solve some of their toughest problems. Available later this summer, the Connected Communities Infrastructure Cisco Validated Design (CVD) provides a multi-service network explicitly designed and validated for Smart Cities, Communities and Roadways.

Reflecting the reality that no single technology can address all needs, the Cisco Connected Communities Infrastructure solution provides a flexible and modular architecture. It’s built to handle multiple, diverse applications and use cases and to incorporate new capabilities as they emerge. While it can serve as the foundation for Cisco’s market-leading Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform, this infrastructure can also support platforms and applications for Smart Cities and transportation management from other providers. The Cisco Services organization also fully supports the Connected Communities Infrastructure solution, and will support it as part of their Connected Roadways offer.

The Connected Communities Infrastructure CVD provides step-by-step design and implementation guidance for a multi-service network that can support a broad set of use cases, including Lighting, Safety and Security, Roadways and Urban Mobility, Waste, Parking, Environment and Water. The network technologies to support these use cases have been tested and validated by Cisco engineers – providing assurance that the infrastructure will support them as intended.

Two of the greatest strengths of Connected Communities Infrastructure are ease of management and security – enabled by these components of the architecture:

  1. Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture. The Connected Communities Infrastructure is based on Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture and uses Intent-Based Networking to dramatically lower deployment, maintenance and security costs and operational efforts. Consistent policies and security are designed in – with simplified, centralized management using Cisco DNA Center and Cisco Identity Services Engine. In short, it offers intuitive, automated management well suited to public organizations with ambitious missions, but constrained budgetary and human resources.
  2. Cisco Software-Defined Access. Siloed “smart” solutions bring a host of disadvantages in terms of cost and complexity. And yet, there are numerous reasons municipalities or public authorities may require defined boundaries between some programs and services. Cisco’s Connected Communities Infrastructure provides the flexibility to operate separate programs – while still integrating and supporting multiple solutions on a unified foundation. Cisco Software-Defined Access enables a single, physical network infrastructure that can be securely shared and segmented into multiple virtual networks. These virtual networks can then be provisioned on a per-service or per-department basis – each with its own policies, service characteristics and security needs.

Solutions for Smart Cities, Communities and Roadways will continue taking shape in the months and years to come. As IoT technologies evolve and expand, Cisco’s Connected Communities Infrastructure provides a secure, future-proof foundation to meet today’s needs – and keeps pace with dynamic opportunities in the future. For more information, see https://cisco.com/go/connected-communities-infrastructure.


Arik Elberse

Global Director, Smart City Solutions

IoT Business Unit