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Cisco poised to capitalize on movement to smart cities

The nascent smart city industry is a potential goldmine for a whole host of players – utility companies, data analytics providers and, perhaps most importantly, providers of communications infrastructure and networks. One company, Cisco, is poised to greatly capitalize on then burgeoning industry as the world moves towards a smart, connected and data driven existence through the Internet of Things (IoT) or, as the company prefers, the “Internet of Everything” (IoE).

It is worth noting that there is no hard definition of what constitutes a smart city, but a distinction can be made regarding digitally connected cities, within which a combination of strong, up-to-date city-wide communication infrastructure, large volumes of connected devices and data analysis is used to co-ordinate, plan or even automate municipal processes.

Cisco’s status as a leading player in the networking field puts it in a strong position in the smart city value chain, with the communication network acting as the vital link, and further existing involvement in Big Data solutions may mean that it will be able to occupy more than just one stage in the smart city value chain.

Importantly, the company has already made movements into the smart city industry, and already offers a number of smart city solutions, covering a number of applications, under its ‘Smart+Connected City’ banner that have been developed into end-to-end solutions through collaboration with a number of technological partners. These solutions have already been implemented by Cisco in a number of high-profile, future-focused cities, in turn aligning the Cisco brand with actioned smart city initiatives, rather than just the conceptualization of such technologies.

Moving early should enable Cisco to cement itself into the industry at its birthing stage and, should the company be successful in aligning its brand with the smart city concept, it could well see business boom as more existing cities move towards implementing more smart, connected initiatives and services, and governments in developing nations, such as India, seek to build new cities from the ground up to deal with rapid urbanization of their population.

Of course, success is far from guaranteed here – there is a chance that some smart initiatives and automated processes could prove to be something of a fad – but there is no doubt that there will be increased demand for municipal digital connections over the coming decades, something that Cisco is ideally positioned to provide.

Cisco will definitely not be without competition in this area, however, and it is likely that the company will face stiff competition in the smart city industry from the likes of the newly-merged Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Networks, as well as Chinese player Huawei.

Nevertheless, the smart city race is undoubtedly on and Cisco, with its position in networking and Big Data solutions, as well as its existing physical entry into the smart city industry and landmark pioneering projects, such as Songdo in South Korea, is safely out of the blocks.

For a detailed examination of the burgeoning smart city industry, as well as Cisco’s involvement, see Smart Cities: Cisco’s quest for dominance of tomorrow’s cities.

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