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GCC Cities Get Smart to Deliver New World of Citizen Benefits

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By Paulo Pereira, Senior Systems Engineer Manager at Cisco UAE.

Smart Cities are easy to envision thanks to futurists and pop culture predicting everything from self-driving flying cars to drone robot delivery services, and miniature waste management robots.

But we will not live in a fantasy world much longer, thanks to the era of Internet of Everything (IoE) affecting the GCC's Smart Cities. Dubai in particular aims to become one of the world's smartest cities, by delivering on the Dubai Smart City initiative and World Expo 2020.

Rapidly urbanizing GCC cities must become more flexible and responsive to citizen needs, while enhancing public resources. Normally a city's systems –traffic and parking, safety, lighting, waste management, and energy – operate in silos, which is not scalable or economical.

Smart Cities have the network at their core, with Wi-Fi and fiber optic networks connecting millions of sensors embedded in virtually every object. Transforming urban interaction are open architecture apps, mobility, security, the cloud, virtualization, and video collaboration.

But Smart Cities are not only about finding cool new restaurants or the nearest parking spaces – they lower costs, improve productivity, increase revenue, and improve citizen benefits

With cities facing reduced budgets, there is significant money at stake for Smart Cities: Cisco predicts the IoE will create USD 19 trillion in value at stake globally, including, USD 4.6 trillion in the public sector.

Cities alone can achieve USD 1.9 trillion in value through initiatives such as Smart Buildings, Smart Utilities monitoring, Smart Parking, and Smart Waste Management.

Smart Buildings are poised to generate $100B by reducing energy consumption, Smart Gas Monitoring could generate $69B by reducing meter-reading costs, and Smart Water Management could generate $39B by virtual household water meters.

Smart Parking could create $41B by providing real-time visibility into the availability of parking spaces across a city, and Smart Road Pricing could create $18 billion in new revenues by implementing automatic payments.

Since 2009, Cisco has supported the creation of over 90 Smart Cities around the world, including Barcelona, Spain; Nice, France; and Hamburg, Germany.

The Born District of Barcelona is using Cisco Smart+Connected City Wi-Fi and sensing devices to improve livability for citizens, create a smart city blueprint and demonstrate thought leadership in the region. Among the solutions in place are smart sensors that track the environment, parking spaces, waste containers, and lighting.

Nice's “Connected Boulevard” has combined smart circulation (traffic), smart lighting, smart waste management, and environmental monitoring to reduce congestion by 30 per cent, increase parking revenue by 35 per cent, and lower air pollution by 25 per cent.

Similarly, Hamburg, Germany is using Smart+Connected City Wi-Fi to improve service delivery to mobile citizens in order to boost the local economy, and to provide smart traffic and parking via the Hamburg Port Authority, and automated water metering.

In South Korea, the Songdo International Business District is our showcase Smart City, built from the ground up while integrating the latest technology, building design, and sustainability practices.

By learning best practices from global smart city examples and leveraging advanced technology infrastructure, we believe that Dubai has the potential to become the world's smartest city.

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