Cisco announces smart cities framework with KPMG

Cisco and KPMG have partnered on an end-to-end framework for smart cities comprising advisory, support, and operations services alongside the provision technology.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Cisco has announced forming a smart cities "alliance" with KPMG Australia in order to accelerate the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions across the country.

Cisco said it will meld its technology and solutions with KPMG's IoT capabilities to provide an end-to-end open framework including the provision of advisory, technology, platform, support, and operations services.

The focal points of the smart city alliance will be developing tools for such services as smart city architecture; cybersecurity; data and analytics; change management; master service integration; design thinking; solution design and implementation; optimisation and operational services; and financial and business case modelling.

These will then be delivered through the Cisco Smart+Connected digital platform, which consolidates data from sensors and information systems to provide an overarching view of a city.

Smart+Connected has already been deployed in Kansas City, Copenhagen, Paris, Adelaide, Bucharest, Hungary, Dubrovnik, and Bengaluru, Cisco said.

"Connectivity and the consolidation and contextualisation of data are some of the keys to unlocking the full value from smart city initiatives," Cisco ANZ CTO Kevin Bloch said.

"[We will] provide the full suite of services and technologies to enable Australian smart cities, smart precincts, and smart communities. Together, we will build collaboration opportunities between government, business, and academia.

"We will also work with international standards and practices, ensuring the development of an open and interoperable architecture and building upon both our organisations' support of the Hypercat standard."

Also working on a framework for smart cities is fellow networking giant Nokia, which in February said more emphasis needs to be put on developing an overarching strategy rather than small projects.

Nokia's framework is designed to aid regions in designing and procuring services for smart city concepts; according to Nokia, while the Australian government has announced its intention to build smart cities, there are "major gaps" in how it is going about doing so.

Cities are currently not equipped for the digital future, Nokia Oceania CTO Warren Lemmens told ZDNet, and are being left to solve the problem by themselves, such as in Adelaide and Melbourne.

Instead, Nokia suggested a state and territory government-level approach, working in conjunction with an overarching federal government program so that the cities themselves can concentrate on their specific needs.

Cisco's smart cities program has seen it work with Adelaide on transforming the region into a smart city, after signing a memorandum of understanding for an IoT innovation hub designed to leverage Adelaide's free Wi-Fi network as a test bed for new applications and projects back in 2015.

The networking giant similarly announced plans to deploy a smart city framework throughout Kansas City, Missouri, in partnership with telecommunications carrier Sprint almost two years ago. Kansas City initially used a 2-mile Wi-Fi network and 93,000 sensors to begin improving the efficiencies of parking, traffic, lighting, water, and waste management.

In Paris, meanwhile, Cisco signed a "country digitisation" agreement with the French government in February 2015, committing to help accelerate the digital transformation of France through investments in smart cities, education, startups, national infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

An investment of $100 million followed, along with Cisco's partnership with French startup accelerator NUMA on the DataCity project in Paris; an open innovation project for future smart cities with NUMA; the opening of a new Innovation and Research Center at Cisco's HQ in Paris; and a further $100 million investment that October.

In March last year, Cisco similarly outlined plans with Berlin's Senate Department of Economics, Technology and Research to transform Berlin into a smart city, with telemedicine, public safety, security, and network infrastructure improvements the main areas of focus.

The Berlin agreement was part of $500 million "Deutschland Digital" initiative that aims to digitise all of Germany.

"Germany has long been known for its focus on innovation, and digitisation opens up unprecedented opportunities for the country," Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said at the time.

"With our increased investments in education, innovation, and security, we can help create a digital Germany that can bring even greater value to the country and its citizens."

In Australia, Cisco has also been working on IoT trials with carrier Optus, integrating Jasper, its cloud-based IoT platform, to support NB-IoT technology on Optus' 4G network.

While Optus has not yet outlined any plans for smart cities initiatives -- unlike Telstra, which earlier this week said it will begin trialling a series of smart city applications in Perth -- it deployed smart classrooms with Cisco across regional areas of the nation in March.

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