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Cisco adds analytics to its efforts to make smart cities a reality

Cisco has formed a strategic alliance with Swiss software company AGT International to increase the value of its smart city solutions. It believes the combination of intelligent networking, virtualized computing and video management software from Cisco and the software platform, sensor gateway and analytics from AGT will provide the most cost-effective and efficient delivery of smart city services.

“Today, 99 per cent of the physical world is not connected to the Internet,” said Wim Elfrink, EVP of Industry Solutions and Chief Globalisation Officer at Cisco. “However, cities are the epicenter of the Internet of Everything, where people, things, data and processes can be connected to deliver new and amazing value.”

Built around AGT’s urban management platform, the solution applies multiple sensing and analytical technologies – such as video and acoustic analytics, social media engagement, license plate recognition and facial recognition – to applications for city civil workers. The two companies believe that sharing a common platform, infrastructure and management allows agencies to be more efficient and cost-effective, especially when coping with decreasing budgets. They claim these benefits can be achieved in a decentralized city administration model, where agencies’ autonomy is maintained while sharing and reuse is maximized.

“The opportunity stems from integrating information from the Internet of Everything and leveraging data in new ways,” said Mati Kochavi, CEO of AGT. “The Internet of Everything will transform the cities of today into the great cities of tomorrow by enabling solutions that help manage growth and serve citizens better. We will enable cities to anticipate and prevent threats to citizens and property; make life more efficient, safe and enjoyable; and truly make our cities sustainable.”

The first solutions will be available mid-2014 and will initially focus on two key areas: A traffic management solution and an urban safety solution.

The traffic management solution will identify, respond to and resolve traffic incidents by providing real-time traffic situational awareness. It will support incident detection using live video feeds from incident zones, with video analytics, in-pavement wireless sensors, license plate readers, social media and advanced traffic modelling prediction. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute says that traffic congestion in the US costs $121 billion a year in wasted time and fuel.

The urban safety solution enables cities to predict, prepare for, respond to and mitigate operational and safety incidents by identifying suspicious activities more quickly. Incidents will be managed through software that utilizes a variety of sensors, city data, and visual and social media feeds. The solution will apply analytics to automate and visualize the situation and recommend the appropriate response.

Future solutions to be developed and launched will address city and country critical infrastructure, such as airports, railway stations and stadiums. The service will initially be provided on-premise and will then evolve to a cloud-based Software as a Service model.

“Smart Cities are a future reality for municipalities around the world,” said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, global research director at IDC. “These cities will use the power of ubiquitous communication networks, highly distributed wireless sensor technology and intelligent management systems to solve current and future challenges and create exciting new services.”

“Cities are growing at the rate of 10,000 people per hour,” added Elfrink. “But through the Internet of Everything and advanced analytics, we can transform that challenge into an opportunity to revolutionize urban living.”

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