At Cisco’s inaugural Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Barcelona this week, I spoke about how IoT is impacting multiple industries and public sector creating tremendous business value for companies, cities and governments around the world. IoT, which we define as the networked connection of physical objects has made its way from vision to an explicit part of Cisco’s agenda and to a definition in the Oxford dictionary. Together with mobility, cloud, big data, IPv6, and an apps world, IoT is one of the technology transitions that make up the Internet of Everything which includes the networked connection of people, data, process and things.

It is fascinating to see how IoT is rapidly gaining traction. We talked to more than 700 business and global thought leaders from across industries, governments and technologies at the IoT World Forum, who like Cisco, are passionate about innovation and accelerating the advancement of the Internet of Things for their organizations and society as a whole. As we move towards an application economy, we are working to make the world more connected. Barcelona was the logical choice for this Forum as a prime example of a city that understands the IoE vision and has embraced IoT to become a Smart City with the potential for creating new companies, more than 55,000 new jobs and $3 Billion in profits over the next ten years.


Smart Cities

As world populations shift to urban areas, community leaders are seeking to transform their cities to solve a range of pressing social and economic problems and capture new opportunities. The Smart City vision with applications like smart parking, smart waste disposal, smart lighting,  smart environmental monitoring and, new citizen services offers a path towards building better communities where people want to live, learn and play and where businesses seek to invest. It also enables the creation of urban centers that work more efficiently, effectively and productively.

My team and I talk to municipal leaders around the world every day. What we hear consistently is that they want to better understand how they can play a vital role in leading their cities along the journey of becoming a Smart City. Towards that end, we are releasing today a white paper containing new insights, perspectives and essential guidance for public and private sector leaders who focus on the future of cities. It has been authored for Cisco by global advisory services provider International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading information and communications technology market research company.

Cisco has been investing in and partnering with Smart Cities for many years, and three of them are discussed in the white paper: Songdo, Barcelona and Lake Nona. All of them use information technology and network communications (including the Internet and sensors) to automate everyday routine processes. These cities are utilizing tools which enable rapid and intelligent decision-making for creating dramatic efficiencies and cost savings in existing functions and processes. Smart Cities aim to connect governments much more closely to people. They provide the support infrastructure to deliver new services, and address a wide range of urban challenges – from environmental sustainability to job creation and economic growth.

The transformation to Smart Cities requires an ecosystem that brings both existing and new partners together to unlock the tremendous value that emerges when people, processes, data and things get connected in new ways. Smart Cities are forming public-private partnerships to manage and finance complex projects that utilize an ICT Master plan to bring together best-in-class infrastructure with advanced technology architectures.  This new white paper provides a deeper understanding of the Smart City vision; offers a context which explains the importance and the value it will bring to its stakeholders; and suggests a roadmap for those working to create a Smart City ‘evolution plan’.  It includes:

–       Trends driving Smart City growth;

–       The role of the Internet of Everything in building the foundation for Smart City evolution,

–       IDC’s maturity model that assesses stages of Smart City development;

–       Key factors that will shape and build the Smart City reality;

–       Case studies of current major urban centers that have embarked on the Smart City journey, and;

–       Key takeaways and recommendations for municipal leaders to help them in their effort to transform urban centers into the Smart Cities of tomorrow.

Municipal leaders, politicians, civic planners and other key stakeholders that support cities need to understand the value of Smart Cities and how they can play a part as urban centers realize this exciting vision. The move to create Smart Cities is underway — and it is no longer a question of “if” such cities become a reality. It is now a matter of “when.”

We trust this paper will address important aspects of ‘how’ the transformation of cities can be enabled and accelerated. I want to encourage Municipal leaders to become involved in leading this shift towards Smart Cities and capture the value that will be created by connecting the unconnected to enhance overall quality of life for citizens.




Wim Elfrink

Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief

Globalisation Officer