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IT giants IBM and Cisco at the forefront of Smart Cities

IT giants IBM and Cisco have been at the forefront of smart city technology since the time that the concept first acquired its current form. Now, a few years into their respective smart city strategies, both companies have a large number of projects under their belts, demonstrating the range of problems that can be addressed by the application of smart city initiatives and the huge economic opportunities that these initiatives offer.

Since their first venture into smart city strategies, both companies have taken part in a large number of smart city projects around the world, with the cooperation of many engineering firms who have realised the opportunities offered by such projects and join partnerships creating smart ecosystems.

IBM’ s pioneer project was in the Brazilian capital of Rio, where it set up an experimental emergency response centre. This allows the authorities to view information collected by the various city services such as the police, traffic management and energy utilities, plus new data from a specially designed sensor network, and take rapid decisions as a result. The Integrated Operations Centre software that IBM developed for the Rio project is now a commercially available product.

Closer to home, another project saw IBM analyse fuel poverty in Glasgow. By analysing heat dissipation in and around housing estates, it found that exhaust heat from nearby industrial facilities could be redirected in order to warm people’ s homes.

IBM’ s smart city strategy is underpinned by its recent focus on information management and analytics. Through acquisition and internal R&D, the company has armed itself with analytical algorithms and data processing technologies that are essential for making sense of seas of sensor data, Parmar says.

Cisco’ s smart city projects so far range from brownfield projects ‘“ such as a partnership with the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York to improve rail and station monitoring ‘“ to greenfield sites such as Songdo, an entirely new, sustainable city being built on reclaimed marshland in South Korea.

The main aim of these projects undertaken by the two companies is not short-term profit as they are going for a long-term strategy of establishing themselves in the field of smart city strategy, embedding IT infrastructure into the urban environment and causing an impact on the form of city living for decades to come.

The entire article is available on the Information Age website, here.