Smart City, Smart Citizens

11/2/2012

These days, it’s not just about devices becoming smart; it’s about entire cities getting smart in order to improve the lives of their citizens. Smart communities are popping up around the world, often in planned neighborhoods and areas where connectivity is integrated from the ground up. 

As the world grows ever smaller and communication becomes easier, cities aren’t just competing with the town next door for people and businesses. They’re also competing with cities half a world away. Workers and businesses are willing to move to find the best atmosphere, and connectivity is a large part of making a city into a place people want to be.

Cisco, www.cisco.com, has focused on this area of technology through its Smart+Connected cities initiative. Recently, the company announced it is working with Lake Nona, a planned community within the Orlando city limits, to create a technology-driven connected city. Lake Nona will be known as one of nine global Cisco Smart+Connected cities in the world, and it’s the first in the U.S. Cisco will provide information and communications technology to Lake Nona, which is being developed by Tavistock Group, www.tavistock.com, a private investment firm.


Cisco says it will work with Lake Nona for the next 15 years to implement technology solutions for a range of purposes. The planned features include things like smart work centers, intelligent buildings, connected healthcare, and smarter transportation. Additionally, Lake Nona is near the Orlando Intl. Airport, and Cisco says it will be designed as an aerotropolis, or a city that supports an airport with all the things travelers and businesses need.

In a live-streamed press conference highlighting the Lake Nona project, Cisco executives highlighted a number of possible connected solutions that could be put to use in the community. These included connected healthcare devices that measure vital signs and transmit the information, as well as smart meters and retail applications. For instance, a smartphone app was demonstrated that could provide a shopper with realtime data on the length of checkout lines at local stores.

Additionally, safety and security will be a focus in Lake Nona. Cisco says information will be shared among organizations including law enforcement, emergency management, and the justice system. A variety of devices may be employed, such as field sensors, cameras, video, and tracking devices.

The idea of a smart city is catching on, and it’s likely we will see more projects similar to Lake Nona in the future. The idea of the aerotropolis is also a concept that’s making waves around the world. Check out Connected World’s cover story on the idea of the aerotropolis in the July/August 2012 issue. Concepts such as this may be the deciding factor for citizens who increasingly have a choice about where to live their lives.





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