Once a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen today stands tall among the world’s most technologically enlightened cities.

Most everyone knows that Denmark’s capital is praised worldwide for its green initiatives, which are obvious from the pure air, clean sidewalks, ever-present bicycles and fresh-water canals, which I’ve enjoyed swimming in over the years.

There’s good reason Copenhagen topped the 2012 Global Green Economy Index and was recently named “The European Green Capital 2014.”

Going beyond green, the World Bank called Copenhagen, “Europe’s best country for doing business” and Monocle Magazine last year called the metropolis, “The world’s most livable city.” It has led many charts too for being the world’s “happiest” capital.

Wim Coppenhagen BlogToday, I am equally happy to add another accolade to Copenhagen’s growing list of 21st century achievements – a leading innovator of Smart City initiatives. Today, Cisco, Copenhagen and the surrounding districts of Albertslund and Frederikssund entered into partnerships to developInternet of Everything solutions that will help to digitally connect everything from lighting and parking to energy grids and citizens.

The vision of leaders in Copenhagen’s municipality and urban districts are bold, and their Smart City ambitions are infectious. I dare say that within a few years, the Smart City projects currently planned here will serve as global best practices for other cities to replicate in improving quality of life. Isn’t that the ultimate objective anyway?

Copenhagen now joins the Internet of Everything digital revolution sparked by other inventive cities globally, such as Barcelona, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Songdo, Nice and newcomers such as Kansas City, which announced similar plans just last week.

These cities are taking decisive action to reinvent themselves with the latest network infrastructure linked to the Internet. With the ability to connect applications to a citywide network platform, a new world of advanced urban services can deliver better social, environmental and economic outcomes in their communities.

In Albertslund, work already has begun on the Danish Outdoor Light Lab (DOLL), which will become a showcase for smart lighting. Nearly 40 competing outdoor light solutions converged onto one open network will provide enormous potential to cut costs and consumption while improving public safety.

In the Frederikssund district, just 25 miles from downtown Copenhagen, the greenfield City of Vinge has one of the greenest and most innovative master plans in Europe, setting the groundwork to be carbon neutral from the outset. Underpinning this goal are plans for an application-centric infrastructure that connects people, data, processes and things – the perfect example of the Internet of Everything.

And in the Copenhagen municipality itself, smart lighting, parking, water management, smart grids and more all to be converged onto one network, and powered by sensors everywhere, will improve sustainability, resiliency and overall livability.

Greater Copenhagen has proclaimed to be carbon neutral by 2025, and these new technology solutions will play a big role in their green objectives – green in terms of environmental benefits and green in terms of economic results.

Thirty years ago, there were just 1,000 connections to the Internet throughout the world. Today, with the help of app-centric infrastructure, sensors and mobile devices, there are about 13 billion connections, and this is still just 1 percent of what’s possible. The economic opportunity to connect the unconnected totals $19 trillion, comprising $4.6 trillion for the public sector, two-thirds of which can be realized by cities.

In 2020, we expect 50 billion things to be connected to the Internet, which will still be scratching the surface of what’s possible. Nonetheless, cities such as Copenhagen are leading the way in this rapidly growing digital revolution. Others who don’t follow their lead will be left behind.

We know that data is doubling every two years, and according to IDC the digital universe will expand to 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes, annually by 2020. That’s even more staggering when you consider that today 90 percent of data is dark – it is only viewed once or not at all.

However, this explosion of data and apps – when properly optimized – presents unprecedented opportunities to better manage resources and improve quality of life. By embracing the Internet of Everything, cities such as Copenhagen are leading the way toward a more sustainable world.

Follow Wim on Twitter: @wimelfrink.

View Denmark’s TV Lorry (TV2 National) broadcast coverage here (20 seconds into the broadcast)

Internet of Things World Forum in Chicago


Wim Elfrink

Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief

Globalisation Officer