Initiatives to green IT
Key initiatives CUD is promoting, for example, include the following:
The Connected Bus is a prototype that demonstrates how to make public transportation greener. The hybrid bus has a mobile hot spot that allows citizens to work while they ride; a Global Positioning System gives commuters updated status of bus routes and connections; LED displays provide information on emissions saved through public transit; and an automated system that reduces the environmental impact of the bus through better maintenance. If deployed broadly throughout transit systems, the Connected Bus can significantly reduce carbon emissions in cities around the world.
Personal Travel Assistant is a pioneering service currently being considered by the city of Seoul for pilot testing. PTA improves transit within urban environments by empowering citizens to make more informed decisions on day-to-day options based on schedule, financial and environmental implications. Accessible from any Web-based interface, such as a mobile phone, PTA provides green route options, integrates with other communication needs such as calendaring, and enables city agencies to predict and manage evolving citizen transportation needs more effectively.
Smart Work Centers, an approach embraced by the city of Amsterdam, enables local residents to work in remote stations without having to travel into the heart of the city. The concept is based on a combination of technology and services that aim to deliver a true "connected neighborhood" experience, Chambers said. They will use video-voice-data streaming and will access local services such as child care centers, dining and banking, and available meeting rooms.
All three of these prototypes are being developed by Cisco Systems. Other IT companies, however, are expected to join with the initiative over time.
"Of course, it helps that Cisco Systems has been very, very profitable," Chambers said with a smile. "This does allow us to embark on more projects like this, and enables us to show what good corporate citizenship really is."
Chambers also said that his company's new TelePresence systems-high-end, life-size, IPTV-connected Webcams that companies use for real-time meetings from locations all over the Earth-will play a big role in getting CUD participants at the "same table" to solve some of these environmental issues.
"Imagine the air travel time and effort, fuel and emissions we'll save if more meetings were held using technology like this, which is about as lifelike a representation as you can get," Chambers said.
Connected Urban Development was launched in September 2006 as part of Cisco's commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a program initiated by the William J. Clinton Foundation to solve problems that affect the quality of human life. The San Francisco conference was the first meeting of all the original participants.