It is abundantly clear that urban areas need citywide wireless communications networks to achieve smart city status. Businesses need it for productivity. Residents need it for convenience and lifestyle. And the city needs it to collect data from sensors -- the very data that makes a city smart.
How to achieve that network is a matter of debate. One camp prefers cellular. Another prefers WiFi and similar technologies, as epitomized by the Cisco press release below. (Cisco is a Lead Partner of the Smart Cities Council.)
Cisco and other companies (including the Tropos division of Council Associate Partner ABB) have been standing up citywide WiFi networks for years. Now Cisco has created an "end-to-end solution architecture" along with field-proven use cases for a variety of applications along with guidance on how to engage with policymakers and citizens for a smooth rollout. -- Jesse Berst
Cisco Takes Steps to Deliver More Citywide Wi-Fi and Connected Services
Expanded Wi-Fi Solution Will Help Cities Address Urban Challenges and Provide New Services to Citizens
TORONTO, Canada, September 11, 2013 – At the Meeting of the Minds conference, Cisco today announced the release of Smart+Connected™ City Wi-Fi, an integrated solution geared toward helping global cities provide citywide connectivity and to establish a platform where the Internet of Things (IoT) can be fully utilized to develop new services for citizens. In modern-day urban centers, Wi-Fi accessibility goes beyond Internet access. With an underlying network in place, city officials are able to deliver the types of connected services that will help address the daily pain points of urban life – areas such as parking, public safety and energy conservation. With ubiquitous Internet access, cities around the world are also better equipped to face broader challenges such as closing the digital divide and attracting investment.
End-to-End Solution Architecture: Smart+Connected City Wi-Fi integrates proven Cisco® technologies to provide a practical and holistic approach for citywide wireless connectivity with high levels of security and privacy for location-based services. Highlights in the portfolio include the Cisco Wi-Fi outdoor mesh, Cisco’s ruggedized routing and switching IoT portfolio, Cisco Prime™ and Mobility Services Engine (MSE) technologies. Smart+Connected City Wi-Fi creates city-managed outdoor Wi-Fi networks that optimize security of the data being transmitted and collected across the city. The solution is built via a three-layer logical architecture composed of the street layer (outdoor access points), city network layer (which connects hardware to the data center) and data network layer (which provides resources to enable city Wi-Fi applications and services).
City Use Cases: Together, the integrated Cisco technologies provide an end-to-end solution architecture that enables several different use cases: anytime, anywhere access for citizens, citizen participation and data collection, local commerce stimulation and the formation of a foundational network for Internet of Everything innovations within the city infrastructure.
Stakeholder Engagement: Consistent with all of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities efforts, the new Wi-Fi solution is delivered with stakeholders in mind – including the city council, citizens, Cisco service providers and the app building community. With each party playing a unique but interconnected role, new and innovative business models are produced within mutually beneficial ecosystems. Cisco provides the solution design and underlying technology; the city council takes ownership of the assets and provides the key data; citizens experience and benefit from the new services; service providers can create new professional and managed services; and software developers can utilize the wireless platform to build and deploy new applications.
Around the world, customers have utilized the existing Wi-Fi solution components to enable connectivity and transform service delivery to citizens:
- Jay Walter, public works director, San Carlos (California): “Cisco’s end-to-end Wi-Fi network and Streetline’s Parker app have improved the parking experience in the downtown San Carlos area. With embedded sensors delivering real-time parking information via the app, drivers have a better idea of where open spots are available. Finding parking close to your destination can be challenging, and Streetline has been able to take advantage of technology to address the concerns of our citizens and deliver very timely information for those searching for a parking spot.”
- Daniel Sarasa, urban Innovation project manager for Zaragoza City Council (Spain): “Cisco’s mobility platform helps us deliver on our vision to be one of the most innovative digital cities, improving the quality of life for our citizens, while attracting global business opportunities. The public Wi-Fi network of the city provides a unique foundation to deliver enhanced connectivity to citizens, while developing smart city applications and innovative services such as the Virtual University Campus. This will allow a university community of more than 25,000 members to interconnect ideas, talent and projects."
- John Campbell, president & CEO of Waterfront Toronto (Canada): “Ubiquitous Wi-Fi access will help transform Toronto's waterfront neighborhoods into connected and intelligent communities. Cisco's Wi-Fi solution adds a vital layer of connectivity to our ultra-high-speed community network. The new services it enables – including personal, community, business, education and health care – will make it easy for residents to empower themselves and achieve new levels of collaboration."
- Dr. Khalid Al Arfaj, CIO, King Abdullah Financial District (Saudi Arabia) led the Smart+Connected City project across the 64-tower mixed residential and business development at KAFD: "Our vision for King Abdullah Financial District is to be one of the top ten financial sectors in the world. We followed best practices in terms of defining a master plan. Cisco was there at the beginning, at the kickoff and continued the engagement with workshops and advisory. We gained a lot by that experience and now have a solid IPT video platform that can accommodate all our customers’ needs.”
- José Masa, mayor of the city of Rivas-Vaciamadrid (Spain): “Project Ecópolis uses Cisco technologies so the council can manage a range of services over a single IP platform, including unified communications, the city’s call center and electricity, gas, water management and traffic light control in real time, saving a large amount of money and CO2 emissions, in addition to offering free Internet access in municipal centers and bus stops, on roads and at home. This makes the green economic business model an important objective.”
- Geoff Cape, chief executive director, Evergreen (Canada): "Evergreen Brick Works is Toronto's first environmental community centre. Here we are able to inspire and educate visitors and program participants about urban sustainability issues and promote active and healthy living in cities. Evergreen's newest initiative CityWorks builds coalitions and collaborates across sectors to accelerate much needed innovation in transportation, housing, energy systems and more. From digital signs, to video platforms and seamless Wi-Fi throughout the campus, Cisco helps Evergreen connect with decision makers, influencers and the public to tackle these critical infrastructure issues faced by our cities. Cisco's platform allows Evergreen to prototype ideas here that can be scaled across Canada and beyond."
- Wim Elfrink, EVP of Industry Solutions and chief globalisation officer, Cisco: “Cities today are up against a myriad of challenges brought on by factors such as the massive growth in population and the global competitive landscape. In a world where 15 billion connected devices are projected to exist by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020, cities have the opportunity to transform the way citizens experience urban life. With an intelligent networking platform in place, you create new and innovative services to address the issues of the 21st century.”
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