Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Cisco and Hamburg unveil smart city initiative

Iain Morris
May 6, 2014
Cisco has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with authorities in Hamburg, setting out plans for the deployment of various smart-city technologies in the German city over the next few years.

Under the agreement, Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) and Hamburg have drawn up details of various pilot projects around smart traffic, smart street lighting, infrastructure sensing and so-called remote citizen services.

The technologies are expected to bring about savings in energy costs, a reduction in traffic congestion and various other improvements in city services.

Cisco says that it has already attracted support from a number of technology partners for the smart-city work, including AGT International (Zurich, Switzerland), avodaq (Hamburg, Germany), InnoTec Data (Oldenburg, Germany), Philips (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Streetline (Foster City, CA, USA), T-Systems (Bonn, Germany) and Worldsensing (Barcelona, Spain) – although, at this stage, it is unclear exactly how those partners will make contributions.

The internet-technology giant has also invited other partners to join its “open” ecosystem.

Moreover, it is providing Hamburg authorities with access to its Smart+Connected Communities reference architectures, providing a framework for defining and evaluating various related initiatives.

Cisco says it is also ready to assist Hamburg with the development of a digital agenda.

The signing of the MoU comes after representatives of the public sector, education and research institutions – as well as local and international companies – gathered in Hamburg in December 2013 to define a smart-city framework during the city’s smart-city summit.

“By signing the MoU, we are preparing our city for the future,” said Frank Horch, senator for economic affairs, transport and innovation in Hamburg. “Future possibilities through connecting people, processes, data, and things will not only revolutionize cities and communities, but will also bring additional convenience for citizens.”

“Our job is to guide these developments in the right direction by establishing the appropriate framework and ensuring that we take advantage of opportunities and master challenges,” he added.

Cisco said that cities were increasingly finding themselves in competition as attractive locations for businesses and that smart-city services would help Hamburg to raise its profile among international investors.

“They are looking for ways to create jobs, drive profitable growth and productivity, become more efficient and - most importantly – increase the quality of life for residents,” said Wim Elfrink, executive vice president of industry solutions and chief globalization officer at Cisco.

According to the company, several pilot projects have already been planned, including the deployment of smart street lighting, a smart traffic system to improve traffic flows, environment and infrastructure sensing and virtual citizens services that provide administrative services through high-definition remote video kiosks.

Meanwhile, Hamburg authorities also say they plan to develop an intelligent parking space control system for trucks and loaders near the port, as well as a fully integrated traffic management system to prevent traffic jams.

“The port is at the heart of Hamburg’s economy,” said Jens Meier, the chairman of the management board of Hamburg Port Authority.

“However, our intention is not to build out roads, rail connections and waterways without limits,” he added. “Over the next years, we will be developing the Port of Hamburg into a smartPORT in order to further increase the efficiency of the current infrastructure and quality of services.”

Cisco says that workshops on designated pilot projects will be held at the end of May and that additional partners will be recruited shortly thereafter, with final selection of pilot projects planned by the end of June.
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