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Op-Ed: Smart cities also win with ‘Internet of Everything’

Author Jordi Botifoll is president of Cisco Latin America.

Author Jordi Botifoll is president of Cisco Latin America.

Cities around the world are destined to become the biggest beneficiaries of the “Internet of Everything” thanks to the enormous possibilities that will automate their processes through the impact of connecting people, processes, data and things together on the same network and the value of this connectivity where “everything” is online and visible. These technologies will help cities achieve higher economic growth and improve environmental sustainability, public safety, and productivity.

We recently participated in eMerge Americas (May 2-6, 2014) along with the mayors of many cities in Latin America where we analyzed the cases of Miami and Barcelona. Miami wants to become a hub of innovation for the Americas and Barcelona, being recently selected as the most innovative city in Europe through the use of technology, is a case study from which much can be learned.

For example, the “Internet of Everything” is able to make parking systems in cities immeasurably more efficient. Knowing what parking lots are empty, book them before you arrive, and pay according to the proximity or remoteness of where we will go, gives us many advantages. A sensor in each parking space is activated depending on whether it is occupied or empty. A smartphone guides the car to the nearest available parking. It is estimated that 40 percent of traffic in cities is caused by people trying to find a parking place. Cities can increase their income by 30 percent optimizing the parking structure via the “Internet of Everything”.

According to a study conducted by Cisco, enabling new connections between things, processes, and people in the public sector will generate about U.S. $4.6 trillion by 2022 worldwide. This figure represents the money local governments can save and generate through increased labor efficiency in existing services, reducing operating expenses, connecting command centers, vehicle and supplies for public safety, improving the environment and health, among others.

The possibilities that “Internet of Everything” offers the cities are endless, according to the city’s needs. Cities can automate their video surveillance, garbage collection (to only be collected when the garbage cans are full), street lighting so that lights only come on when someone comes to the site, to collect tolls in areas heavily congested without putting booths or disrupt mobility, among others.

To obtain the benefits of the “Internet of Everything,” Cisco took in account 40 cases of specific uses of “Internet of Everything” by public agencies and various other sectors. This comprehensive analysis included areas such as education, culture and entertainment, transportation, security and justice, energy and environment, health, and defense. It also included the savings and gains derived from telecommuting and next generation operations.

The study also shows that this trend will have a great impact in Latin America in areas like telecommuting, mobile collaboration, online payments, online learning or cyber security.

Not going very far, of the $4.6 trillion representing “Internet of Everything” in the global public sector, Brazil will participate with $70.3 billion; Mexico with $34.3 billion; Argentina with $14.8 billion, and Colombia with $11.2 billion. In all of these cases, the benefits are mainly in cities and state agencies.

For now, to reach those gains, the cities must work intelligently to solve their own needs. Of course, those with budget constraints should focus on ‘key applications’ of the “Internet of Everything” to generate income, such as smart parking management, water management, and monitoring of gas.

Following the philosophy of the “Internet of Everything” all strategies should be coordinated and combined to realize the full potential of the networks. In the end, it’s a work where the union, a structured view of the future and the potential of each city, along with the political will can generate great profits.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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