Cisco to help cities go green

| March 3, 2008

Cisco hopes to help the world’s cities reduce their impact on the environment through the use of technology and applications and establishment of best practices in the area of smart transportation, energy management and environmentally friendly, alternative work arrangements.

Connected Bus - Cisco Connected Urban Development

The company hosted its first Connected Urban Development (CUD) Global Conference this month in San Francisco, with CEO John Chambers delivering the inaugural keynote address to mayors and dignitaries from nearly 100 cities worldwide. CUD is a public-private partnership aimed at addressing the unique environmental problems confronted by urban areas, and at developing replicable information and communications technology (ICT) solutions for cities around the world.

“Urban areas are the largest global contributor to energy consumption and climate change,” Cisco said. “According to U.N. Habitat, the world’s 20 mega-cities, each with a population exceeding 10 million, are responsible for 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption. And cities everywhere are experiencing considerable increases in energy consumption and facing new problems associated with increasing populations and electricity use.”

CUD’s vision is for cities to use innovative ICT solutions to improve energy efficiency; reduce carbon emissions from cars, trains, buses, and other forms of transportation; transform urban design, city management and operational practices; and change the way citizens work and interact with each other.

Connected Urban Development was launched in September 2006 as part of Cisco’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a program initiated by the William J. Clinton Foundation to solve problems that affect the quality of human life. The three founding CUD cities are San Francisco; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Seoul, South Korea. All three have already installed, or plan to install, a next-generation broadband infrastructure, contend with significant traffic congestion, and are led by mayors committed to green initiatives.

The three cities have worked over the past 18 months with the Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), the global strategic consulting arm of Cisco, to create green ICT solutions for the specific problems they face. Cisco also announced today that it will be working with four additional cities: Birmingham, England; Hamburg, Germany; Lisbon, Portugal; and, Madrid, Spain. Each of these cities will implement a particular best practice complementary to the ones developed by the CUD founding cities. Cisco will work in concert with the cities to tailor solutions to meet their environmental and urban needs.

Initial solutions and applications proposed by CUD include the “connected bus,” a hybrid, low emissions bus connected to backend systems that update route and connection information for the public and enhanced maintenance of the onboard systems. It also features Wi-Fi hotspot so passengers can work (or play) while riding.

Another concept is the Personal Travel Assistant being developed by Cisco and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is essentially an online service designed to help users make more informed decisions on day-to-day transportation options. Cisco is also highlighted its “Smart Work Centres” concept, which has already been embraced by the city of Amsterdam, and enables employees to work in remote stations without having to travel into the city.

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Category: Applications, Green corporations, Smart cities

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