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How to future-proof cities with an intelligent foundation

May 31, 2017


Sanjay Khatri

The world is facing several global challenges that underscore the need to start future-proofing with smart city technologies.

According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the world will live in cities by 2050. Cities are the engine for global economic growth, but they also consume more than 75 percent of global primary energy and account for over 50 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

Trends are pointing to the same simple conclusion: we need to prepare for a future that can sustain more people living in cities, and where more of those people can access special care services. Harnessing the power of digitization and IoT can help.

Evolving into a smart city

How do cities get started to become smart, and when can a city be officially labeled as a “smart city”?

The first step is identifying the connected services you want to deliver and why it matters. If you start by simply connecting everything – from trash cans to street lights and everything in between – without identifying what you need to accomplish once those things are connected, it’s hard to identify the right solutions and platforms you need to accomplish your goals.

A “smart city” is not just about connecting every piece of a city’s infrastructure – it’s about leveraging those connected things to deliver specific services that help cities reduce costs while increasing the quality of life for residents.

It’s those services that will help make cities a more desirable place to live, work and play. But key components are necessary, including common and consensus-based standards that ensure interoperability. According to IEC,, a truly “smart” city requires horizontal integration to help enable considerable increases in efficiency and generate new opportunities for the city and its residents.

This type of smart preparation or “future proofing” of a city requires a solid foundation. Right now, there are plenty of examples of how cities are rolling out smart applications to be more efficient. For example, utilities companies are responding to demand in real time and delivering power more cost efficiently. In Kansas City, Missouri, their digital platform for managing smart street lighting can save energy and reduce costs by up to 90 percent, according to Gartner.

For most cities, however, these smart applications are often managed on many disparate platforms, which may not be a sustainable or scalable solution in the years ahead. Especially as the list of services a city can and does provide goes on and on.

Rather than solving these challenges one service or application rollout at a time, city leaders need to think about moving past traditional municipal services as single offerings, and think more broadly about the power of adopting integrated solutions.


Used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com/.

Here at Cisco Jasper, we understand the value of utilizing a single platform for operational efficiency. For example, the Control Center connectivity management platform platform was selected by Reliance, our India-based network service provider partner, to help enable smart city services to Reliance’s customers. The partnership will play a significant role in helping the Digital India project, a government program that is aiming to build 100 smart cities throughout India.

Today is only the beginning for most smart cities as they begin their journey to becoming more connected. After all, building a smart city is a journey, not a destination.

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