Cisco proposed Thursday a blueprint for “intelligent urbanization”, using the network as a utility for integrated city management.
The company also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government of Karnataka to develop a road map for an intelligent and sustainable Bangalore, that state’s capitol city.
Cisco’s intelligent urbanization initiative brings together Cisco’s products and services, partners, and other technologies, with an initial focus on public safety and security, transportation, buildings, energy, healthcare and education.
Each of these market segments has the potential to generate over US$1 billion in revenue opportunities for Cisco, John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, told reporters in Bangalore.
Cisco’s Intelligent Security technologies, for example, enable automated detection, immediate assessment, and a coordinated response to a security incident, the company said.
The number of people living in urban areas will grow from 3 billion currently to 5 billion by 2030 creating challenges for citizens, government, and industries, Cisco said.
Bangalore is planned to be a reference site for other cities worldwide that may be interested in similar projects, Chambers said.
The Bangalore project will borrow from Cisco’s expertise with Connected Urban Development (CUD), a public-private partnership that includes cities like San Francisco, Amsterdam, Seoul, and Singapore, Cisco said.
In Seoul, for example, the company is working on a pilot project for intelligent transportation using PDAs (personal digital assistants) for route planning. Technology and expertise from these various initiatives will be brought together for a program that covers all aspects of Bangalore, said Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s chief globalization officer, and executive vice president for Cisco Services.
The MoU between Cisco and the government of Karnataka does not specify a financial model or the amount of investment in the project, according to a source close to the situation. Chambers said the project would take 10 years or longer.
Bangalore’s key strength is its large number of technology workers, and technology centers that have been demanding high quality infrastructure, including connectivity. The local government has in the past neglected Bangalore’s infrastructure, claiming that it has to balance the use of scarce resources between the cities and the state’s non-urban people.
The chief minister of Karnataka, ministers and other government officials have taken great interest in the new project and its potential contribution to the city’s security system, education system and other aspects of city administration, Elfrink said. One of the benefits of partnering with the Karnataka government for a project in Bangalore is that Cisco can take advantage of its own research and development staff in the city, as well as those of partner companies, Elfrink added.