Cisco, which has promoted its smart city technologies for more than two years, today announced that 10 cities, including Paris and Copenhagen, are using its cloud-based service to connect to traffic, parking and environmental sensors in real time.
Insights from the data collected from the Internet of Things sensors can help city agencies make operations more efficient, reduce costs and respond quicker to emergencies, Cisco said.
Cisco is showcasing the technology at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2016 in Barcelona this week. The networking giant calls its service the Cisco Smart+Connected Digital Platform.
"We're creating value in the smart city space with the Internet of Things boom," said Munish Khetrapal, managing director of solutions for smart and connected communities, in an interview. "Real-time data is important because a two minutes' faster response to an emergency can save thousands of dollars."
Cisco envisions smart city networks and sensors with the ability to warn drivers of the location of black ice patches in winter so they can slow down or go in a different direction, Khetrapal said. Such a network could also be set up for dynamic billing, so that a city applies a toll discount for drivers who take a less congested route.
"Real-time data makes for more informed decisions and reduces energy consumption," he said. Cisco has been working on the platform in stealth mode for three years, he said. Today, Cisco announced that eight cities are using the technology in addition to Paris and Copenhagen. They are Kansas City, Mo.; Schenectady, N.Y.; Adelaide, Australia; Bucharest, Hungary; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Bangalore, India; Jaipur, India; and Trancing, Slovakia.
Using the platform, Cisco said it can securely connect data from all the operations in a city, including water management, traffic, parking, lighting, neighborhood security and more.
In certain cities, some of the data will be shared with citizens and businesses. For example, retailers could see heat maps that show where the heaviest foot traffic is located near stores. Such data would be anonymous to protect users' privacy. In the case of data from video sensors, faces will be blurred out, Cisco said.
Many cities are working toward a common interface, or dashboard, to connect all the disparate sensor data. Cisco has created APIs (application programming interfaces) for third-party developers to create dashboards for city managers and other officials to use.
In one example, Cisco showed how Paris is using a dashboard from the Place de la Nation district to monitor parking, street lighting, traffic and crowds. The Paris dashboard can also show how many people are gathered in one tourist area and the average amount of time they stand there.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.