Cisco to invest $1bn to connect up the world’s smart cities

14 Nov 2017

Image: Gaudilab/Shutterstock

Cleaner, safer and a better quality of life – that’s the real promise of ‘smart’ cities.

Communications giant Cisco is to invest $1bn to develop smart cities around the world, powered by its Kinetic Cities IoT platform.

Announced this morning (14 November) at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, the new City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program is a $1bn venture aimed at making it easier and more affordable for cities to become smart cities.

The key is to help cities assemble the necessary financial instruments to deploy innovative technology with minimal initial investment, and embark on projects to reduce energy, ease traffic and parking, and boost public transport usage.

Such mechanisms as revenue-share financing could make a digitised infrastructure possible by linking back revenue streams from the new service to future operating budgets.

The funding will be provided through Cisco Capital in partnership with private equity firm Digital Alpha Advisors, and pension fund investors APG Asset Management and Whitehelm Capital.

Money makes the world go round

“Funding is a major stumbling block for municipalities beginning their smart city transformation,” said Anil Menon, global president of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities.

“With our partners, Cisco will bring the capital and expertise it takes to make smart city projects a reality. Digital Alpha, APG and Whitehelm Capital bring a fresh perspective on investment in an area that has previously been perceived as too new and, therefore, too difficult to finance.”

To support the programme, Cisco has created new purchasing options for Cisco Kinetic for Cities, including pre-packaged starter solutions, which combine the Cisco IoT data platform, solution and services with those from our ecosystem partners into ready-to-roll-out, end-to-end solution suites.

The Kinetic IoT data platform includes features to promote public safety, including a new dashboard with integrated video updates to put citizen safety first.

Cities using the technology platform include Cary, North Carolina, which has created a ‘living lab’, providing smart city technologies to improve the lives of citizens. Town officials can also actively monitor the number of available parking spots, particularly vacancies for the disabled.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years